IWA defeats Portsmouth Christian 14-9

Published 11:56 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

ISLE OF WIGHT–Four straight incomplete passes helped Isle of Wight Academy ice a 14-9 win over Portsmouth Christian.

After playing tough on Monday, but losing in the fourth quarter to Bishop Sullivan Catholic the Chargers came out a bit sluggish on offense, but made Head Coach Dale Chapman proud.

“I couldn’t ask for more from these guys,” Chapman said. “They played their hearts out this week.”

The Chargers overcame six fumbles, one of which was lost, to claim the victory. Five of the fumbles occurred on special teams, an area the coaching staff will address during the off week.

“It was just a little bit of nerves and inexperience,” Chapman said.

The Chargers took an early lead after quarterback Ben Epps hit receiver Matt Bratton for a 49-yard touchdown pass with 8:56 left in first half. Josh Weihe’s extra point was true and gave the Chargers a 7-0 at halftime.

Portsmouth Christian drove 61 yards in just over five minutes on the opening drive of the second half. The drive culminated in a three-yard touchdown run for Patriot quarterback Josh Zirkle.

The Chargers’ Bratton blocked the extra point to help IWA maintain a 7-6 lead with 6:46 left in the third quarter.

Bratton coughed up the ball on the ensuing kickoff and gave the Patriots possession at the Charger 19-yard line.

The Patriots took a 9-7 lead on a 20-yard Clayton Evancho field goal with 3:46 left in the third quarter.

After a failed possession for both sides, IWA started a drive at its own 24-yard line. After a handoff to Zeb Warnick failed to gain positive yardage, Epps was able to break a seven-yard run to the Charger 30-yard line. Warnick exploded for a 70-yard touchdown run on the third-down play.

Warnick rushed the ball 17 times for 119 yards in the Charger victory. Epps went 8-for-17 passing for 151 yards. The senior threw for one touchdown and had one interception.

The Chargers’ next leading rusher was Corie Wells who carried the ball three times for 30 yards.

Evancho was the Patriots’ leading rusher. The senior ran the ball 10 times for 40 yards.

The game ended after Zirkle was unable to connect on four straight passes as time expired.

Chapman said the win takes a lot of pressure off his team as they beat another Virginia Independent Schools Football Association Division III team in Portsmouth Christian.

“This win takes the pressure off us,” Chapman said. “This game was big. The pressure is off and we can come and play our game now.”

The Chargers will travel to Blackstone to take on Kenston Forest on Friday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m.