By Thomas Grant Jr.
Is timing everything?
Chapin football could find out at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Cecil Woolbright Field. Fresh off a bye, the Eagles (5-2, 0-1) play host to a Dutch Fork team coming off its first region loss in eight years.
Head coach Justin Gentry believes his team is as “healthy as they’re going to be” after a 13-day break. It was also a time for the team to work on the mistakes which proved costly in the 22-14 loss to Lexington.
The defending Class 5A champions fell 17-14 to White Knoll. It was the first loss in 13 meetings to the Timberwolves and ended the Silver Foxes’ 32-game region win streak.
It also puts Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts in the unfamiliar position in his 40 years of high school football. In his 13 seasons with the Silver Foxes, Knotts has never had a losing season nor failed to win or share in the region title.
Another loss puts Dutch Fork (2-5, 0-1) in position of a losing season for the first time since 2009, the year before Knotts’ arrival.
Meanwhile, Chapin is seeking to break through for the first time in 10 meetings against the Eagles. In the last five meetings, the Silver Foxes have scored 50 or more points against the Eagles.
This year has seen Dutch Fork’s offense struggle. It’s 23.2 points per game average this year is almost half of what was posted by last year’s state championship team.
“They’re always going to be well-coached and they’re going to be ready to play,” Gentry said.
The winner stays in the race for the Region 4-5A title as Gentry believes the champion will only have one region loss. White Knoll and Lexington are the lone unbeaten in region play and face each other on Friday.