OC rides momentum past Chargers
Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 8:49 am
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Don Coady spent equal time talking about what could’ve been and then the reality of what was.
“There were two big swings there in the first half where, if they don’t happen or things go the other way, things could’ve turned out much differently,” the Westview coach said after his team was beaten by ninth-ranked (Class 4A) Obion Central 33-17 Friday night at Hardy Graham Stadium.
The Rebels — using their superior athleticism and big-play making abilities — swung momentum in their favor with a handful of telling snaps at critical times to improve to 3-0 and drop the Chargers to 1-2 in the District 13AA opener for both teams.
A 96-yard return of a fumble by OC’s Marcus Parr when Westview was threatening to tie the score early in the second quarter and LaDevin Fair’s 89-yard scoring sprint that essentially sealed the outcome with eight minutes left were the most electrifying of the Rebels’ big plays.
Equally critical, though, was a Central TD with just 70 seconds to play in the first half after the Chargers had drawn within 13-10 on Wesley Grimes’ 33-yard field goal and seemingly had both tempo and momentum on their side after scoring 10 consecutive points to cut into a two-touchdown deficit.
“There were two big momentum plays there in the first half and Obion made them both,” Coady continued. “The fumble there at the start of the second quarter was essentially a 14-point swing and, realistically, if we score there and then get the turnover that we got on their next possession, it could’ve been 17-7, us, at the half.
“Then the drive right there before halftime when we’d gotten within 13-10 was just huge. They got behind us and made a big throw and catch, and then stuck it in. It ultimately changed how we had to game plan for the second half when we couldn’t get anything going in the first couple of series in the third quarter.”
The Chargers, who’d split their first two games by relying on a stingy defense while an anemic offense produced little, played what Coady called “our best overall game to-date,” against one of the better Obion Central teams in the program’s 51-year year history that has produced just one playoff victory.
Though still void of a big or game-changing play itself, Westview gained a season-best 252 yards — almost evenly split between rushing and passing.
Collins Alexander was the workhorse of the running game with 59 yards in 22 carries, while fullback Colton Nanney — who played the entire game with Wyatt Zarecor (54 yards and a TD last week vs. McKenzie) out of the lineup due to an internal matter — accumulated 31 yards and scored the Chargers’ final touchdown with 1:11 remaining on a one-yard plunge.
Quarterback Ryne Vinson hit on half of his 10 passes, the highlight an 11-yard scoring toss to Quintin Walker in the second period that drew Westview within13-7. Backup signal-caller Matt Castleman connected on the Chargers’ biggest gainer of the contest, a 76-yard bomb to a streaking Scout Edwards in the late-going that set up the final tally.
Grimes was 2-of-2 in PATs in addition to his aforementioned 33-yard field goal.
Unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, though, the Rebels had many more highlights.
In addition to Parr’s long dash to paydirt with a fumble that was caught in mid-air after being punched from Nanney’s possession when Westview was threatening to draw even on the first play of the second period, the Dyer County transfer had a pretty 23-yard sliding TD catch of a Trey Phipps pass on 4th-and-9 late in the third quarter.
And Phipps, usually not a running threat because of his passing prowess, took off on a designed keeper and cut back across the field on his way to a 24-yard touchdown that swung the momentum back in Central’s favor just before the intermission. A nice 42-yard pitch-and-catch from Phipps to a streaking Mason McGrew on the first play from scrimmage after the Chargers had drawn within 13-10 set up Phipps’ scoring scamper.
“They are more athletic than us and that showed up in the open field and in space,” Coady concluded. “We did a good job overall of bottling them up, but the three or four times we didn’t, they made huge plays that were a critical part of the outcome.”
Westview plays its third home game in four weeks and its second straight ranked opponent on Friday, hosting No. 4 (3A) Camden.