By: Joey Guest – Special to the Weakley County Press
Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 7:33 pm
Crunch — The Westview defense came up with a big stand deep in its own territory to give the Charger offense a chance to make a comeback try that eventually fell short in the 15-13 loss to the McKenzie Rebels on Friday night. Photo by Joey Guest
Sweet, sweet time. If only the Chargers could’ve had a little more of it. After Jake Vincent batted down a Max Arnold pass on fourth-and-goal, Westview drove 52 yards in the final minute, attempting to set up a potential game-winning field goal. But the Chargers couldn’t get inside the McKenzie 40-yard line and saw time slip away as they fell 15-13 to the Rebels on Friday night at Graham Stadium. “Our defense gave us a chance to get back in the game and win,” 20th-year Westview skipper Don Coady said. “Our offense was in a tough situation with a minute to go, no time outs and 90 yards away. I thought our kids did a good job of battling to the end and giving us an opportunity to win.” It was a valiant comeback attempt for the Chargers (1-1), which saw them total 80 yards of first-half offense and trail 15-0 with quarterback Tanner Spencer sidelined by a non-throwing shoulder injury on the game’s first series. “You’re not going to bring a sophomore off the bench and run everything you do with a three-year starter, but Ryne Vinson did a good job in a tough situation, and we can’t fault his effort or execution at all,” Coady said. “I’m not sure we, as a team, did the kind of job we needed to do to support him. We were getting pushed around up front, and I think that was the big story of that half.” Spencer threw two passes in the opening possession, completing one to Desmond Johnson for 12 yards and another to Colin Vinson, who unfortunately for Westview, is a Rebel. Vinson’s attempt at a “pick-six” was stopped by Spencer, who injured his shoulder on the tackle. Westview’s veteran quarterback didn’t see the field again until the second half. The Chargers dominated McKenzie (1-1) after halftime, and Spencer was the catalyst, throwing for 62 yards in the fourth quarter alone to finish 7-13-1 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a TD to cut Westview’s deficit to 15-12 with 8:33 remaining in the game. But, Arnold was equally impressive for the Rebels at QB, hitting on 8-of-13 passesfor 123 yards and 2 TDs. It was Arnold who converted three straight third-down situations in the waning moments, including the play of the game when he scrambled out of the pocket and threw across the field to a wide-open Richie Clark for a 25-yard gain (plus a 15-yard dead-ball unsportsmanlike penalty on Westview) that kept McKenzie’s final possession alive and allowed the Rebels to chew up 7:08 of the final 8:27 of regulation. After two Rebel rushing TDs were wiped away due to holding penalties, Arnold hit Clark again, this time for 23 yards to the Charger 2-yard line with a little under four minutes to play. However, any Rebel hopes of putting the game away were squashed when Rocky Williams and Jacob Ferrell sacked Arnold for a 3-yard loss, and then Vincent swatted Arnold’s fourth-down pass away to give Westview the ball at its own 8-yard line with 1:19 to play. With little time to spare, the Chargers wasted none of it as Spencer hit Will Thompson for an 11-yard strike on first down. Thompson made the catch on the sideline and drifted out of bounds to stop the clock at 1:13. After Spencer was sacked for a 9-yard loss by Neil Eubank and Tyler Sisson, a pass interference call on Arnold at safety moved the chains to the Charger 21 with 31.4 ticks on the clock. Spencer hit Thompson again for 12 yards, and then scrambled for 14, before throwing a 13-yard strike to Seth Waterfield, who got out of bounds to stop the clock at the Rebel 40 with 12.9 seconds left. However, two consecutive incompletions left just 2.6 seconds on the clock, and Spencer was brought down at the line of scrimmage on the final play to end the game and preserve the Rebels’ victory. “Max did an outstanding job reading coverages and getting the football to the spots he needed to get it to, and the receivers did a great job getting to the places,” Rebel coach Wade Comer said. “That pass to Richie was a big conversion. We kept fighting and fighting, and then the defense came out and made plays.” Arnold got the Rebels on the board first, turning Colin Vinson’s first-quarter interception into points when he threw a 24-yard TD pass to Robert Taylor at the 3:35 mark. Arnold added the PAT kick to put the Rebs up, 7-0. Arnold again found paydirt with a 9-yard TD pass to Clark with less than two minutes to play in the first half, and then used some trickery on a swinging-gate conversion formation when he spotted Kirby Esch wide open for two points and a 15-0 lead. Denzel Cook recovered a fumble for Westview on McKenzie’s opening possession of the second half, which led to a 29-yard scoring pass from Spencer to Thompson at 8:20 of the third. However, Spencer’s two-point conversion pass attempt was intercepted by Taylor to keep the Chargers in a two-score hole, trailing 15-6. The final frame started with Westview at its 39, where the Chargers tallied an eight-play, 61-yard drive highlighted by a diving stab of a Spencer pass by Waterfield for 26 yards and capped by Spencer’s 1-yard plunge to paydirt at 8:33. Landon Prather’s PAT split the uprights and cut Westview’s deficit to 15-12, setting up the dramatic finish. The Chargers ended with a 235-218 advantage in total offense, but it was the lack of scoring that had Westview’s coach most concerned. “There’s no question we are struggling a little on offense. That’s where we graduated a lot of players last year. Our hope was our defense and special teams could carry us until we could get our offense on track. To win a game like this, we have to put more than 13 points on the board, and we have to quit turning the ball over,” Coady said. Both teams next face pivotal district tilts on Friday night as McKenzie hosts Dresden, while Westview gets a visit from Milan. Dresden is coming off a 13-7 win over Peabody, and Milan gave Huntingdon its second straight shutout with a 28-0 home victory. *Editor’s note: Joey Guest is an associate editor with Pressbox1.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 731-332-1164.
First Quarter MHS — Robert Taylor 24-yard pass from Max Arnold, (Arnold kick), 3:35. Second Quarter MHS — Richie Clark 9-yard pass from Arnold, (Kirby Esch pass from Arnold), 1:41. Third Quarter WHS — Will Thompson 29-yard pass from Tanner Spencer (pass failed), 8:20. Fourth Quarter WHS — Spencer 1-yard run (Landon Prather kick), 8:33. ________________________________ MHS WHS First Downs 13 16 Rushes-yards 36-95 34-120 Passing yards 123 115 Comp-Att-Int 8-13-0 7-14-1 Punts 4-24 3-30.3 Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-1 Penalties-yards 9-65 5-35 ________________________________ Individual Statistics Rushing — McKenzie, Richie Clark 7-63, Matt Eaton 12-21, Colin Vinson 9-9, Max Arnold 8-2; Westview, Quan Williams 10-53, Abraham Haddad 13-36, Desmond Johnson 2-24, Tanner Spencer 7-12, Tevin Evans 1-(-2), Ryne Vinson 1-(-3). Passing — McKenzie, Arnold 8-13-0 — 123; Westview, Spencer 7-13-1 — 115, Ryne Vinson 0-1-0 — 0. Receiving — McKenzie, Clark 4-69, Taylor 3-43, Eaton 1-11; Westview, Will Thompson 4-64, Seth Waterfield 2-39, Johnson 1-12. Records — McKenzie 1-1, Westview 1-1. Next Game — Westview will host the Milan Bulldogs, while McKenzie entertains the Dresden Lions. Both games will kick off at 7:30 on Friday night.