Chants start season in style with victory over Furman

Coastal Carolina quarterback Aramis Hillary dived into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 1:32 remaining in the game to give the Chanticleers a 30-23 season-opening victory over Furman on Saturday at Brooks Stadium.

After missing the potential go-ahead field goal just moments before, the Chants (1-0) turned to their defense to snap the 23-23 tie. CCU’s defense forced the Paladins to punt and gave the offense the ball in good field position with the clock winding down.

Coastal’s Jeremy Height, who finished with 110 combined yards in rushing and receiving, and Travis Small made big runs to move the ball to the Furman 3, where Hillary took over with the decisive TD plunge. The CCU defense held Furman on its final possession to seal the win.

Coastal’s two-quarterback rotation paid dividends throughout the night, beginning with Hillary leading the Chants on a 15-play, 79-yard TD drive in the first quarter. Hillary capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Grant Clayton added the extra point for a 7-0 Chanticleer lead.

Furman’s Jerodis Williams responded with a 5-yard TD run but the extra point sailed wide left to leave keep Coastal ahead 7-6. Clayton’s 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter gave Coastal a 10-6 lead.

After a Furman punt, it was Childers turn to lead the Chants to another score. He ran for two first downs and then hit Chris Presley for a 19-yard TD. The PAT was missed and Coastal led 16-6.

Furman added a field goal before halftime and Williams scored his second TD from 1 yard out early in the third to tie the score at 16 but the Chants once again regained the upper hand.

After Hillary hit Matt Hazel for a 39-yard completion down the left sideline, Aaron Jones scored from 4 yards out to take a 23-16 lead. But Williams broke loose for a 68-yard touchdown  to tie the game at 23.

After missing on a late field goal, the Chants got a big stop from the defense and another scoring drive from Hillary to get the win. Hillary led the Chants in rushing (16 carries for 67 yards and two TDs) and passing (10-for-13 for 124 yards) while Childers ran seven times for 38 yards, completed 5-of-9 passes for 65 yards and caught a pass for 21 yards.

The Chants return to action Saturday, when the Catawba Indians at Brooks Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

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