Hornets, errors end Chargers’ slim hope of spot in playoffs
Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:38 pm
Special to The Messenger
The scoreboard on Friday night read Westview 17 South Gibson 34, but that’s not what Charger head coach Don Coady saw when looking at it.
He saw another game of points left on the field and missed opportunities.
The Chargers (4-6. 3-4) were only outgained in total offense by 20 yards (361 to 381), but it was a combination of turnovers and missed red zone chances that made the difference in the game.
“That’s been our story all year,” Coady said. “We miss a block or assignment and come away with little or nothing. We turned it over from one end of the game to the other just about every way you can do it.”
The Charger rushing attack was paced by three of its most reliable seniors, Quan Williams (30 carries for 169 yards), Hunter Moore (six carries for 61 yards) and R.J. Scott (five carries for 41 yards).
Junior quarterback Matt Castleman was 9-of-22 for 93 yards with an interception, with fellow junior Ty Brown leading the receivers with four catches for 51 yards.
In only their second season of varsity football, South Gibson accomplished an impressive 10-0 season, thanks to a strong performance by running back Quincy Walden (eight carries for 235 yards and two touchdowns). Quarterback Carlos Walden only completed two of his 11 passes, but he did it when it mattered. They were both touchdown passes (31 yards and 28 yards) to Airan Reed.
The Chargers found themselves in a big hole early. Walden took off on the second play from scrimmage for a 90-yard touchdown, giving the Hornets a 6-0 lead.
South Gibson’s special teams caught the Chargers off guard on the resulting kick-off, jumping on the ball to set up the offense on the Westview 24-yard-line. But the Charger defense held strong, forcing the ball over on downs and giving the offense the field for the first time.
After some strong runs by Williams and Moore, the Chargers found themselves in Hornet territory, but that wouldn’t last long. Williams lost the ball and it was recovered by the Hornet defense.
This time it only took Walden one snap to break free and once again find the end zone, and the Chargers found themselves in a 13-0 hole.
The woes continued for the Chargers special teams once again, another fumble put the ball back in the hands of the explosive Hornet offense, again on the Westview side of the field. But the Hornets were unable to capitalize on the Charger mistake this time and were forced to punt.
The Hornet offense provided another blow in the waning minutes of the first half when Carlos Walden connected with Reed for their first touchdown of the night on a 31-yard strike and giving South Gibson a 20-0 lead.
But then things began to look up for the Chargers.
Williams put the team on his back and took them down to the red zone for the first time in the contest as the first half clock began winding down. Williams took the ball into the end zone from four yards out, but the Charger celebration came too early. A holding penalty brought the ball back to the 14 yard line and on the next play from scrimmage Castleman threw an interception on the goal line.
The second half didn’t begin much better for the Charger offense. On the first play from scrimmage, Brown was stripped of the ball and the Hornet defense recovered once again at the Charger 32. Four plays later, Carlos Walden took the ball two yards for another Hornet touchdown.
Williams and Moore would carry their team to the red zone again, setting up first and goal on the Hornet 3-yard-line. But a couple tackles for loss kept the Chargers from reaching paydirt once again, and setting up the Hornet offense up on the six.
A break would finally come for the Chargers.
The snap got away from Walden, who finally scooped it up in the end zone, where he was met by a swarm of Charger defenders for a safety. Westview sent Brown back to await the kick-off, which he then took 61 yards for a Charger touchdown, his seventh of the seaon.
After moving the ball into Hornet territory, the turnover trouble continued. Williams had the ball stripped once again, setting up the Hornet offense on their own 36. Four plays later, Carlos Walden and Reed connected for their second touchdown, this time for 28 yards.
Westview’s offense moved back into the red zone, thanks to Scott (five carries for 41 yards) and a 17-yard strike from Castleman to Brown. Scott capped off the drive with a four-yard run for a Charger touchdown.
South Gibson looked to deflate the Chargers on their next drive. After moving the ball to the Westview 31-yard line, Walden lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone but junior Beau Kelly was there to come up with the pick.
Westview marched down the field once again, making another trip to the red zone. After setting up first and goal from the eight, the Chargers were once again unable to reach the end zone as time expired.
The 34-17 loss meant the end of the season for the young Chargers, the first time they haven’t made the playoffs since the 2003 season.
But Coady says when he looks back on his 2012 team, he’ll remember a group of good, hard-working kids.
“We probably didn’t make as much progress as I hoped we might during the course of the year,” Coady said.
“But, they’re a good group of kids and they’re going to do fine things in life.”
South Gibson will move on to the Class 3A state playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the West Quad and host East Hickman (4-6).
Milan (8-2) is the third seed in that section of the bracket and will host Manassas (6-4). Published in The WCP 10.30.12