Chargers drop game 10-7

Published 9:59 am Monday, October 14, 2013

Jeffrey j. zeigler/contributing writer

ISLE OF WIGHT—In a defensive struggle on a wet field, it’s usually the team that takes advantage of its opportunities that gets the win.

Although both teams squandered some clear-cut opportunities Friday night, it was St Anne’s-Belfield that opened the second half with a sustained scoring drive in a 10-7 win over Isle of Wight Academy.

Leading 3-0 at the half, the Saints opened the second half with a 15-play, 65-yard drive scoring drive that chewed up almost seven minutes of the third quarter. It looked like the Chargers had St. Anne’s stopped when on successive plays wide receiver Kareem Johnson dropped two wide open passes that he would have scored on, both from the IWA 20 yard line. On the second pass, a fourth and goal play, the Chargers were called for roughing the passer, giving STAB new life.

Again facing a third and goal play from the 9, quarterback Lee Parkhill fumbled the snap for a 14 yard loss. It looked like the Chargers might escape again, but on the next play, Johnson made up for his two earlier gaffes. Parkhill lofted a pass to the end zone, which was tipped by an IWA defender right into the hands of Johnson. With 5:35 left in the quarter, Cameron Raton booted the extra point to put the Saints up 10-0.

Isle of Wight Academy finally got on the board in the third quarter. The Chargers went to the air and quarterback Brandon Saxby completed two passes to Carson Robertson, good for 23 yards down to the Saints 7. On the next play, Saxby hit Chris Pittman in the end zone for a touchdown with 20 seconds left to play in the third quarter. Corey Hollaman’s extra point cut the St. Anne’s lead to 10-7.

The momentum seemed to shift toward Isle of Wight. With 5:16 left to play in the game, the Chargers took over on downs at their own 35. IWA was able to move the ball on a 21-yard pass completion from Saxby to Pittman, and later a 33-yard scramble by Saxby down to the St. Anne’s 4.

But the Saints defense held tight, forcing losses on two runs, and an incomplete pass. With the ball on the 6, IWA coach Dale Chapman elected to try for a game-tying field goal. With 1:15 to play, Hollaman’s 24-yard attempt went wide. The Saints were able to run out the clock.

Both teams squandered scoring opportunities in the first half. Although the Saints managed a 30-yard field goal with 1:28 in the first quarter, it could have been more. With the ball on the Isle of Wight 13, Parkhill missed the mark on three straight passes.

Right after the field goal, St. Anne’s recovered an onside kick, only to cough the ball up on the next play when Isle of Wight’s Josh Weihe picked off a Parkhill pass.

Two more times in the half, the Saints had the ball inside the IWA 19 and both times turned the ball over on downs.

Isle of Wight blew an opportunity at the end of the first half when the Chargers recovered a fumble at the St. Anne’s 5, but lost yardage and had to settle for a 23-yard field goal attempt by Hollaman that went wide right with 1 second showing on the clock.

Chapman said the coaching staff didn’t see film of St. Anne’s except for highlight videos of the team on social media. They had to base the game plan on just the highlights.

“I’m not making any excuses. They are an upper division team with possibly 150 boys to choose from and I’m playing with 92 guys (in the upper school). Just like I told the team, if we get a few breaks and execute some things offensively, like we didn’t execute in the first half, it could have been a different ball game,” Chapman said. “A tipped ball should have been knocked down; they have no score. A ball in the end zone could have been caught. We have a score and we win the ball game.”

Although his team dropped to 4-3 on the season, Chapman told his players after the game that he was pleased with the effort, especially since STAB is a bigger, Division II school.

“I was real proud of our defense. We played a lot better than last week,” he said. “I thought our defense played about as well as it could have played.”

For Isle of Wight, Weihe rushed for 65 yards on 16 carries and Saxby went 12-for-19 for 101 yards passing. The IWA defense held St. Anne’s to just 73 yards on the ground.

The Chargers host Blessed Sacrament Huguenot next Friday.