IWA stays undefeated

Published 11:26 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT—The past five years when Isle of Wight Academy has been involved in a big game, it typically has come through in a big way. Friday night continued that tradition. Battling the number 3 team in the state, the Chargers, led by the offensive and defensive play of Daniel Brown, beat rival Blessed Sacrament Huguenot 23-14 in a Virginia Commonwealth Conference football game.

IWA, ranked No. 1 in the VISAA Division III poll, has one game to play, and with a victory over Southampton Academy next week, would likely clinch home field advantage throughout the state playoffs.

Last year, it was Blessed Sacrament that won the battle over Isle of Wight, knocking the Chargers into third place, and forcing IWA into a trip to Roanoke for the state playoffs. The goal for IWA all year has been to capture the top spot and stay at home in the postseason.

It was IWA that opened the scoring. After Daniel Brown returned a punt to midfield, the Chargers moved the ball to the BSH 20 on seven plays. Brown then tore around the left side, hurdled a defender, and dove into the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown. The spectacular run was called back on a holding penalty. But two plays later, under heavy pressure, Brown chucked a ball into the end zone, which fell into the hands of Heath Price for a 12-yard score. The extra point kick was botched and the IWA lead held at 6-0 at the start of the second quarter.

It was a bad punt by Vick that set Blessed Sacrament up for its first score. Vick shanked the kick, giving the Knights the ball on the IWA 49. BSH faced a 4th and 6 situation from the 32. Austin Wingfield completed a 9-yard pass to Trevor Gilliam for the first down at the IWA 13. After an illegal substitution call, Blessed Sacrament hit paydirt on Wingfield’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Bendele. Nathan Temple booted the extra point to put the Knights up 7-6.

With the Knights threatening again, IWA caught a break when it forced a fumble, which was recovered by Matt Hooker with 1:19 to play in the half. The Chargers then marched 85 yards in less than a minute to take the lead. With 8 seconds left in the half, Price took a direct snap and hit Brown in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. Vick’s extra point kick gave the Chargers a 13-7 halftime lead.

With both teams battling for field possession in the second half, it was a defensive play that gave IWA its next score. With Blessed Sacrament moving the ball on offense and threatening, Wingfield eyed a receiver to the left. Brown stepped in front of the pass and raced 85 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown with 2:27 to play in the third quarter. Vick’s extra point kick put the Chargers (8-0) up 20-7.

“Daniel Brown was the difference maker in the game tonight,” said Dale Chapman, IWA head coach. “I’m sure they knew he had good speed, but the kid can run. We had scouted their quarterback very well. We knew what they were doing. It was just a matter of time and he (Brown) was going to pick one off.”

The touchdown was important because BSH came right back and scored on an IWA defensive lapse. From his own 17, Wingfield connected on a pass over the middle to Marquis Smith. Smith raced 83 yards for a touchdown just about a minute after IWA had scored. Nathan Temple’s extra point cut the IWA lead to 20-14.

The Chargers added some insurance when Vick booted a 42-yard field goal, which easily could have been a 52-yarder, with 9:09 to play to put IWA up 23-7.

The Isle of Wight defense clamped down on Blessed Sacrament on the next drive when it needed to. The Knights moved the ball into IWA territory, but were held to a 42-yard field goal attempt, which Temple missed wide right.

Brown finished the game with 116 yards rushing on 14 carries and 5-for-9 passing for 72 yards. Price rushed for 78 yards on 21 carries.

The physical contest featured several personal fouls for late hits and a roughing the kicker penalty on BSH, which kept a game-ending drive alive for IWA.

“We knew it was going to be physical. No matter how big or small they are, they are always tough,” Chapman said. “The name of our game was to know they were going to come and smack us in the mouth, and we weren’t going to let that happen.”