Isle of Wight tops previously unbeaten Richmond Christian

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Playing against a first-year program with little game tape can provide a number of challenges for a team focused on a run at a state championship, but Isle of Wight Academy breezed past Richmond Christian with ease on Friday night, 41-8. The Chargers presented the previously undefeated Warriors with a new defensive scheme that limited the latter to 101 yards of total offense.

“I was a little worried about the weather and that they had a couple skill guys that were pretty quick, but it didn’t end up playing a factor in the game,” head coach Dale Chapman said. “We had some penalties and the officials were an issue at the beginning of the game, but our guys played well down the stretch.”

Richmond Christian did not complete a single pass attempt and threw two interceptions, something that He attributed to his defense’s stellar play rather than the opposition having an off night.

“It was the best defensive performance that we’ve had all year,” Chapman said. “We don’t want to tip our hand, but we put as many elite athletes on the field as we could. It was a situation where we knew they had some explosive running backs, but we forced them into playing one-dimensional. We made them do things that they weren’t used to doing or don’t normally do. Once they threw the ball, we had a couple interceptions.”

The Warriors scored their only touchdown of the game on an interception return by cornerback Malik Shaw in the second quarter. The Chargers, meanwhile, got a season-high 103 yards and two touchdowns from senior running back Alec Edwards and 73 yards passing from senior quarterback Bryce Casey.

“We try to be balanced, but we know to win that you have to establish a run game,” Chapman said. “We don’t want to be predictable, either, but we are lucky enough to have three really good backs. When you have that many weapons, you use them.”

The scoring started on Isle of Wight’s second possession of the game, when the Chargers got the ball at midfield. A seven-play drive was keyed by a 25-yard pass from Casey to wide receiver Curtis Waters on 3rd-and-9. One play later, halfback Will Morningstar pounded it across the goal line from 5 yards out.

A fumble on the first play of Richmond Christian’s subsequent drive extended the Chargers’ lead, as linebacker Zen Bristol scooped it up and scored from the 10-yard-line. Edwards’ two-yard run on Isle of Wight’s next possession capped a five-play scoring drive to give the home team a 20-0 lead, setting the stage for Shaw’s interception return for a touchdown to cut the lead to 12.

The teams exchanged turnovers, when Casey was picked near midfield and Warriors quarterback Jacob Swiney gave it right back to Isle of Wight cornerback James Ricks on a one-handed interception. Waters also got in on the act in the fourth quarter, returning a Swiney pass 60 yards for a touchdown. Edwards added another touchdown run, and all-purpose threat Donald King capped off the scoring with a 12-yard run with just over four minutes remaining in the game.

The season’s inaugural Virginia Independent School Athletic Association rankings were released on Monday, and this Friday’s matchup in Farmville will pit the third-ranked Chargers against No. 1 Fuqua.

“It’s a big game; it can slingshot us to No. 1,” Chapman said. “Fuqua is a big team that has experiences sprinkled among some younger players, just like us. They can do a lot of different formations and can spread it out, too, but they try to get the ball in the running back’s hands.”

The Falcons defeated Hampton Roads Academy, 14-6, this past Friday night, and knocked off the schools’ only common opponent Kenson Forest, 66-28, earlier this season.

“I think we’ll be ready as we can be,” Chapman said. “We’re healthy and we get some players back from injury, and we’re going into a hostile environment where the officials and the crowd can become a factor. We just have to play well enough to make sure it doesn’t.”