IWA loses heartbreaker to No. 1 Fuqua

Published 1:33 pm Saturday, September 27, 2014

Aaron Fronfelter catches a touchdown in the endzone during the first half of  the game. He caught 7 passes for 91 yards. -- CAIN MADDEN | THE TIDEWATER NEWS

Aaron Fronfelter catches a touchdown in the endzone during the first half of the game. He caught 7 passes for 91 yards. — CAIN MADDEN | THE TIDEWATER NEWS

At around 4:30 left in the game, Fuqua School’s Devin Allen connected with Josh Davis across the middle and he took it 76 yards to the 2-yard line. On the very next play, Tyler Frink punched it in for the score, evening the VISAA Div. 4 game against Isle of Wight Academy at 27-27. The Nick Farris kick was good, and the Falcons led for the first time at 28-27.

But the Chargers would get the ball back and take it to the Falcon’s 46 on the return. Will Morningstar advanced it to the 42, and then on an end-around, Aaron Fronfelter took it to the 35 for a first down.

The defense was ready when a similar play by Fronfelter resulted in a 6-yard loss.

Taking to the air, quarterback Bryce Casey would throw 2 straight incompletions. On fourth down, Fronfelter had Casey’s pass down the middle, but bobbled it trying to turn up field before he had complete possession.

It wasn’t over yet, though. The Charger defense went out to give the offense another chance, and they forced a 3-and-out. After calling two time outs during that series to save time, Isle of Wight had it at their own 23 with 1:34 left in the game.

The final timeout was blown by the Chargers on the next offensive possession, as they weren’t clear who was supposed to be in. After 3 straight deep-ball incompletions, Casey was down to his final pass and he found Fronfelter on a quick slant route and he slid down after a 27 yard pickup at the 50.

Casey went to spike it, but the referees blew it for an intentional grounding due to the quarterback not being in the pocket, costing them 5 yards. But the clock was stopped at 55 seconds.

A quick screen pass to Carson Robertson brought the ball up to the 46. On third down, another costly drop brought Casey again to his final pass, where he again found Fronfelter. He made it to the 34-yard line and recorded the first down.

This time, Casey spiked the ball under center and it stopped the clock with 15 seconds left.

On the next snap, he found Fronfelter who took it to the 26-yard line and got out of bounds with 11 seconds left.

After trying to hit Chad McCann in the end zone and it falling incomplete, Casey went back to Fronfelter on fourth down up the middle on a slant. This time, he tried to go up but couldn’t quite hold on with several defenders around him.

Isle of Wight coaches and fans looked for the pass interference call, but the referees hurried off the field before Fuqua had even finished celebrating their 28-27 victory.

This after going up 27-14 at the half, and not being able to score in the second half despite getting to the 4-yard line with the score 27-21 in the fourth. But a fumble and two high snaps killed the drive.

“Execution is huge,” Head Coach Dale Chapman said. “We got down there in scoring position and bad snaps and things of that nature ended it. We also had some dropped balls there at the end that could have made the difference.

“We knew going in that we were pretty evenly matched, and that the team that made the fewest mistakes would come out on top. And we made some mistakes that we don’t typically make.”

Chapman said he was happy to see them get that defensive stop with around 2 minutes left, showing that they still had heart left.

“We are still a young football team,” he said. “We are going to learn from this, grow, put it on the back shelf and move on.”

As far as the officiating, IWA was called for 8 penalties and lost 52 yards because of it. Fuqua had 3 penalties for 15 yards. Chapman said he didn’t think they lost because of officiating, but he did say that a lot of the calls seemed to go Fuqua’s way.

“It was not the big things that beat us tonight, it was a combination of a lot of small things,” he said. “It was due to issues in execution, and we are going to get those fixed.”

Frontfelter had a decent night, catching 7 passes for 91 yards. Two of them were for touchdowns. Alec Edwards rushed for 131 yards on 19 carries and had one touchdown. Carson Robertson rushed for 45 yards, and also had 36 yards receiving over two catches, one of them a touchdown.

Division 4’s No 4 team, Isle of Wight Academy, is 3-2 on the season, while Fuqua, the division’s No. 1 team, improved to 5-0.