The former McEachern’s assistant’s broad smile said it all.
Behind a 225-yard, three-touchdown night by running back Tre Mitchell and a lockdown performance by the Panthers’ defense, Chapel Hill shut out Osborne 28-0 in their season opener.
The Cardinals (0-1) managed just seven first downs in a game delayed 30 minutes by lightning. Robert Cooks rushed for 95 yards for Osborne, but the rest of the team combined for just 14 yards on offense as Chapel Hill’s swarming tacklers kept the Cardinals from sustaining any drives.
“The defense brought it to the table,” Pastrick said. “They played physical, and we got stops when we needed to. I told them defense is the backbone of this team, and it’s got to be, and it showed up (Friday).”
With both offenses struggling early to produce, Osborne had an early chance to take the lead after recovering a fumble at the Chapel Hill 36. But it gave the ball right back early in the second quarter on a fumble, the first of its three turnovers.
Mitchell got things going and rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns alone in the first half.
He had a 35-yard rush to set up Chapel Hill in the red zone, and he capped the drive with a 10-yard scamper four plays later with 8:56 left in the half.
On the Panthers next possession, Mitchell raced to the left and past the Cardinal defense for a 38-yard score.
Osborne tried to mount another drive before halftime, but Tre Owens intercepted an errant pass by Kendall Walker at the Chapel Hill 35 and sped down the right sideline for a touchdown. That gave the Panthers a 21-0 lead 34 seconds before intermission and effectively winded the Cardinals.
“We needed a big play right there,” Pastrick said. “We were kind of in a lull on offense. That pick right there got our juices going.”
Osborne’s defense tightened up in the second half, intercepting two passes by Chapel Hill’s Brett Roberts, but the Cardinals’ offense could only manage a single first down after intermission.
Mitchell punched in the final score on a 20-yard rush with 8:39 remaining.
Osborne coach Xarvia Smith was unavailable for comment.