HENDERSON — The first game for Vance County High School football under the guidance of new head coach Hunter Jenks was one filled with growing pains, as offensive inefficiency forced them to settle for a 42-6 loss to Chapel Hill on Thursday.
Jenks would have preferred to see his team grind out a victory against an efficient Chapel Hill squad on Thursday, but he admitted that Vance County still has plenty of areas to improve on before they are capable of winning games.
“We made too many mistakes,” Jenks said. “The effort was there, but we had so many turnovers. That’s not how we wanted to start, but there are a lot of things we can take from tonight and fortunately we can only get better from here.
Vance County opened the game with a strong defensive possession that forced Chapel Hill to punt the ball away, but Vance County found themselves unable to move the ball down the field.
Two consecutive turnovers for Vance County proved to be costly for their inexperienced offense, as Chapel Hill proceeded to carve up their opponent’s defense with the short field to put 14 points up on the board.
With Vance County still struggling to move the chains, Chapel Hill took the air out of the ball and ran time off the clock. Chapel Hill added one more touchdown in the second quarter, but a stand by Vance County’s defense in the closing seconds kept the score 21-0 in favor of Chapel Hill at halftime.
Vance County received a momentary spark with Sai’Mir Best returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown and successfully halted another long drive from Chapel Hill to get the ball back with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Despite this, Vance County failed to shake the offensive issues that plagued them in the first half, as Chapel Hill registered touchdowns on both offense and defense to eliminate any chance of a Vance County comeback.
Jenks credited Vance County’s defense for forcing third and fourth downs on nearly every single drive despite frequently having to deal with short fields, but he affirmed that the offense needs to compliment that kind of effort following an evening in which they did not record a first down until just over three minutes remaining in the game.
“Offensively, we have to find our identity,” Jenks said. “We need to develop a run game and pick up first downs. High school football is not all about stats. It’s about controlling the game and we did not do a good job of that on offense.”
Vance County is currently looking for an opponent on March 5 with East Chapel Hill cancelling the game originally scheduled for that day. If no replacement is found, Vance County will face off against Southern Durham at 6:30 p.m. on March 12.