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  • Keith Hjelle

Addiction Not Always Bad; Chargers Taste Sweetness of Victory, 38-20

Can we all agree that chocolate is addictive? The evidence is overwhelming. That sweet taste that tickles the tongue can't be resisted once we have indulged. So, we want more; and more yet! There seems to be a strong similarity between addiction to chocolate and addiction to winning. Once a team starts winning we want to taste that sweetness of victory again and again.

One could sense that addiction last night in the Charger 38-20 win over Clarinda on the Cardinals home turf. As the game progressed into the fourth quarter with ACGC up 30-12, Charger fans were sensing that they were going back home with a win. When the first team defense left the field with only seconds remaining in the final stanza, they were greeted by a huge roar from the boisterous, although small, Charger crowd. Charger fans could taste the sweetness that only victory can bring in an athletic contest. And now that we have tasted it, we want more. Chocolate and victory--two of life's finest pleasures.

Right from the get go it was clear that the Charger offense was going to put some points up on the board, as it drove the ball down the field on a 6 play, 73 yard drive that ended in the Cardinal end zone. With Ben Kingery and Gabe Rowley gobbling up huge hunks of yardage on the way to pay dirt, Rowley crossed the goal line on a 12 yard scamper. The drive took only 1:37 off the clock. It may have been the most impressive display of the wishbone offense that Charger fans have seen up to now. The two point conversion by Rowley made it 8-0.

After each team exchanged punts Clarinda put together a short drive of its own, driving the ball from the Chargers 36 yard line into the end zone in just four plays, with Sy Young scoring from seven yards out. The PAT failed.

Not to be outdone, ACGC came back to drive the ball 69 yards in nine plays to go up 14-6. The Chargers overcame two penalties on the drive, and had a huge 43 yard run by quarterback Bryce Littler on a third down and 17 play to put the ball inside the Cardinal ten yard line. After two plunges by Kingery, Littler snuck in from the 1 yard line for the TD with forty two seconds remaining in the quarter. Rowley's two point conversion gave the Chargers a 16-6 lead.

After Clarinda turned the ball over on downs to open the second quarter, the Chargers moved from the Cardinal 48 yard line to the end zone for its third score of the night. The eight play drive ended with Kingery bulling his way to the end zone on a 10 yard run. The PAT failed, making the score 22-6 with 8:42 remaining until the half.

Clarinda was not about to throw in the towel just yet, as if put together a solid 80 yard drive in just two minutes, with quarterback Michael Shull scoring from 7 yards out to make it 22-12.

After the ensuing kickoff, ACGC moved the ball from its 25 yard line to the Cardinal 49, but was forced to punt the ball away. As Lady Luck would have it, the Clarinda punt returner fumbled the snap from center, Charger Lucas Marsh pounced on it at the 7 yard line and the Chargers were provided with an opportunity. But the opportunity faded and Lady Luck abandoned the Charger gridders when Clarinda stopped Kingery on the one half yard line. Clarinda then ran out the clock to end the first half.

Following the intermission Clarinda's Carter Morris returned the kickoff 55 yards to the Charger 35 yard line. Charger kicker Will Byers managed to push Morris out of bounds, preventing a Cardinal touchdown. Clarinda moved the ball to the ACGC 25 yard line before turning the ball over on downs.

Seizing the opportunity ACGC drove the ball 75 yards for another score. With Kingery and Rowley providing the one-two punch on the drive, Rowley took a pitch from Littler to finish the drive on a 24 yard TD run at the 6:27 mark of the third quarter. Kingery added the two point conversion to put ACGC up by a 30-12 margin.

The Chargers had a big stop of their own late in the quarter when the Cardinals threatened. With a third and goal at the Charger five yard line, Lucas Marsh came up with a quarterback sack. A field goal attempt by Clarinda was blocked by the Chargers, and ACGC recovered on the Cardinal 20.

After the Chargers went three and out, Clarinda added a score on a 15 yard pass from Shull to Young. The two point conversion was successful and the Cardinals were within ten at 30-20.

With Kingery doing most of the damage on the next Charger drive, ACGC moved down the field quickly to tally another TD. Kingery scored on a 24 yard run, Rowley added the two point conversion and the Chargers upped the lead to 38-20 with just over three and a half minutes to go.

Neither team was able to move the ball in the final three plus minutes as the game came to an end with the Chargers picking up their second win of the season. Charger fans roared approval as the final seconds ticked off the clock and ACGC picked up win number two on the season.

The Charger ground game excelled last night, as official statistics show Kingery gaining 182 yards on 27 carries and 2 touchdowns, Rowley with 164 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns, and Littler contributing 53 yards on 3 carries and one TD.

Charger mentor Cody Matthewson was clearly pleased with his teams performance when he said, "I was proud of how our kids bounced back after the outcome against Van Meter. We played pretty well in two of the three phases of the game. Our special teams need some improvement in practice this week. It's a fun offense to watch when executed and performed the way it is coached."

It was a very good win for the Chargers for several reasons: confidence, motivation, and that sweet addictive taste of victory. Chocolate, anyone? Homecoming week will bring West Central Valley to town on Friday night. Game time is 7 PM. Go Chargers!

Score by quarters:

ACGC 16 6 8 8--30

Clarinda 6 6 0 6--18

Charger Statistics:

Passing: Bryce Littler, 1 attempt, 0 completions

Rushing: Ben Kingery, 27 attempts, 182 yards; Gabe Rowley, 20-164; Bryce Littler, 3-54; Gavin Cornelison, 1-0

Tackles: Gage Buttler, 0 solo, 2 assists; Will Byres, 1-0; Gavin Cornelison, 3-3; Spencer Grove, 1-2; Kolby Jacobe, 3-3; Cayden jensen, 1-0; Ben Kingery, 6-8; Bryce Littler, 3-1; Sam Madsen, 2-6; Lucas marsh, 4-1; Hunter pauley, 0-1; Cole Plowmn, 1-0; Cale Rowley, 1-0; Gabe Rowley, 1-2; Dylan Soper, 0-1; Mike ure, 3-2; Avery Whetley, 1-4

Kick offs: Will Byars, 6-31 yd. ave.

Punting: Kolby Jacobe, 4-33.5 ave.

Kick off returns: Kolby Jacobe, 3-16.7 yd. ave.

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