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  • Keith Hjelle

Penalties Galore in Charger Gridders Loss to Woodward Academy

It was a penalty plagued game that wasn't decided until the final play, as the ACGC Chargers lost a hard fought game to Woodward Academy, 13-8, at Woodward on Friday night. With the Knights charged with twenty penalties and the Chargers picking up six of their own, the game lacked the flow that coaches and fans would both like to see.

The Knights featured a fleet footed backfield led by Tiran Lynch and LaShaud Dowell while the Chargers featured the power running of Ben Kingery and the outside running of Gabe Rowley, who gained 200 yards between them to keep the Chargers offense moving.

The Chargers put together their best drive of the young season in the first quarter when they moved the ball on their second possession from their own 18 yard line to the WA 4 yard line where the Knights held and the Chargers turned the ball over on downs. With Kingery picking up nearly 50 yards on the drive and with the aid of two Knight penalties, ACGC fell just short of scoring.

The ACGC defense then came through with a safety when Dowell was tackled by a host of Chargers to give ACGC a 2-0 lead near the end of quarter number one. The second quarter was played almost exclusively in Charger territory, as the Knights began blitzing two linebackers making it difficult for Charger backs to find many open holes. Meanwhile, WA got within the Charger red zone on two occasions, but the ACGC defense, aided by Knight penalties, was able to hold off the Knights and the half ended with the Chargers holding the 2-0 lead.

With WA receiving to open the second half, a 55 yard Knight pass play put the ball on the Charger 22 yard line. The Charger defense stiffened, the Knights committed two more penalties and the Chargers took over on their own 25 yard line. After Kingery gained 20 yards on three carries, the Chargers lost a fumble on their own 38 yard line.

Despite picking up four penalties, the Knights then started a touchdown scoring drive with Dowell completing a 25 yard TD pass to Maurice Myles. With a successful PAT, the Knights took their first lead at 7-2 with 3:42 remaining in the third stanza.

Unable to move the ball on their next possession, the Chargers were forced to punt, only to see the Knights cover 65 yards in three plays and a Charger penalty to score with 51 seconds to go in the quarter. The Knights Marcello Della scored the TD on a ten yard run. After Will Byers blocked the PAT, ACGC trailed at 13-2.

Not to be outdone, ACGC started a 14 play, 76 yard scoring drive from its own 24 yard line that took eight minutes off the clock. With Charlie Crawford, Rowley, and Kingery carrying the ball, the Charger line opening holes, and WA assisting with two penalties, quarterback Bryce Littler snuck the ball in from the 1 yard line for the first Charger touchdown of the season with 7:03 remaining in the game.

After WA recovered the onside kickoff, the Charger defense held the Knights and took over the ball on the WA 43 yard line with time enough to mount a drive. On a first and ten on the WA 26 yard line, a costly Charger motion penalty made it first and fifteen from the 31 yard line. On fourth and one at the 17 yard line a fumble resulted in the Chargers turning the ball over on downs with 1:30 remaining, all but securing the win for the Knights. Although the Chargers held the Knights and got the ball back with 14 seconds remaining, a desperation final play went for nought and ACGC fell to WA by the final of 13-8.

Clearly it is a disappointing loss for the locals, but once again they played hard to the very end, nearly pulling out the victory. There are definitely some positives taken from the game, as the offense put together a 200 plus yard game, and also put together two sustained drives. With improved play in Friday's game and winless Nodaway Valley coming to ACGC next Friday, Charger loyalists can look ahead with optimism.

Line score:

ACGC 2 0 0 6--8

WA 0 0 13 0-13

Charger statistics:

Rushing: Gavin Cornelison (5 attempts, 13 yards); Charlie Crawford (3 attempts, 16 yards); Ben Kingery (28 attempts, 140 yards); Bryce Littler (5 attempts, -5 yards); Gabe Rowley (13 attempts, 60 yards); Reid Rumelhart, 1 attempt, 3 yards)

Passing: Bryce Littler (1 attempt, 0 completions)

Scoring: Bryce Litter (1 touchdown, 6 points)

No defensive statistics available at post time

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