Chargers #8216;respond#8217; to title game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2007

Somehow, it was going to come down to Rusty Brake’s name appearing in the paper. He’s the 6-foot-three-inch, 190-pound quarterback, taller and heavier than some of his linemen who runs back kicks, plays defense and always seems to be near the football.

Yes, the Idle of Wight Academy football team has plenty of play makers — the play along the offensive line, for example, goes largely unnoticed, but where do you think the running backs emerge into gaining yards? — but Brake was directly involved in all four touchdowns Friday night in the VIS quarterfinal game. He was the quarterback who threw to Kevin King for a 41-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. And it was Brake who ran two yards for the second score. But, and with all due respect to King, who’s a tough runner, Brake leveled a potential tackler and made a second would-be tackler think twice as King ran into the end zone to make the score 20-7 and forced Charger fans reconsider their plans for tonight.

The final touchdown was something that makes legends: Blessed Sacrament was looking at fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line, when the Chargers defense sacked the quarterback, who coughed up the football. Rather than falling on the loose ball and simply completing the turnover, Brake was the one who scooped it, and ran 85 yards for the final score.

Game over.

26-7 Isle of Wight Academy to face Broadwater Academy tonight on the top-seeded Chargers’ home field.

“He’s just a phenomenal athlete,” coach Dale Chapman said of his quarterback.

That talent will be tested 7:30 tonight in the Chargers’ attempt at a third straight VIS title, a feat that has not been accomplished since the league split into three divisions in 1994.

In the earlier meeting of the season, Broadwater made big plays in the air, throwing deep and often, and finding their tall receivers who made catches.

While the game was tight throughout, each Isle of Wight drive was countered by a Broadwater drive of its own.

And in the first half in Friday’s semifinals, Isle of Wight escaped with a little luck, something Chapman spoke of earlier this season. He said for all the coaching, for the players’ skills, sometimes a little luck is involved in winning a title.

Against, BSH, Isle of Wight had some of that luck going its way. After the first Charger touchdown on the first Charger pass of the night, BSH was stuck in its own end and faced a fourth-and-five near midfield. The faked punt worked, and BSH scored on the very next play, a 34-yard run.

But late in the first quarter is when some of that luck appeared. With the scored tied 7-7, BSH was moving again and had the ball on the Charger six. A false start penalty moved it back to the 11 but BSH appeared to score on the next play. The touchdown was negated, however, by a holding call as the first quarter came to a close.

That when luck was needed no more.

On the next play, King intercepted a pass at his own goal line, ran it to the nine and things began to turn from there, slowly but surely.

After a penalty and recovered fumble in two of the first three plays from scrimmage, Brake scrambled to escape a rush on third-and-14, and zipped a pass to King who caught the ball for first-down yardage but tried to get more and drifted backward. He was able to turn it up field and pick up more yards. But Brake lost a fumble.

After making a stop, IWA got the ball back and moved efficiently down the field before Brake took it in from two yards out with 5:30 to go.

At halftime, Chapman said, “We talked to our seniors about how there were two quarters left, and would they be the last two quarters of their high school careers? They responded.”

The defense got stiffer, stopping BSH from making big plays.

“We made some plays on defense,” Chapman said, including “making some adjustments with our linebackers.”

Isle of Wight tried to run out the clock midway through the fourth quarter with a 20-7 lead. Starting with 7:34 left in the semifinal game, Isle of Wight kept the ball on the ground until 4:20 was left when the Chargers threw an incomplete pass, stopping the clock.

“That was a miscommunication” sending the play to the huddle, Chapman said.