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  • Keith Hjelle

Mt. Ayr Shows Why It Is a Playoff Team; Chargers Fall 43-14

The opening kickoff probably decided the outcome of last night's Charger football game at Mount Ayr when Raider senior Hunter Haverman returned it eighty eight yards to the chagrin of Charger players and fans alike. From the get go it was clear that Mount Ayr was the dominant team and it would be an uphill battle for the Chargers. The Raiders were playing for a playoff spot, while ACGC was playing the role of spoiler. Although the Chargers gave their best, Mount Ayr was successful in its role and will open the playoffs at Interstate 35 next Friday.

The Chargers struggled throughout the first quarter, gaining a total of forty three yards, turning the ball over on two fumbles, and giving up a second long touchdown run when Keelan Klammhaus scampered fifty seven yards to give the Raiders a 15-0 lead after the first frame.

The second Charger fumble late in the first quarter led to a third touchdown for the home team at the 9:37 mark of the second quarter. Mount Ayr put together a 42 yard, nine play drive that included a fake punt and a mix of passing and rushing to increase the lead to 22-0.

The Chargers came to life on its next possession as a thirty five yard kickoff return by Charlie Crawford gave ACGC good field position at its own 40 yard line. Charger workhorse Ben Kingery, who carried the ball thirty times on the day, gained sixty yards on five carries, including a one yard plunge to put the Chargers on the board. After the two point conversion failed the score stood at 22-6.

The Raiders lost no time in putting up another score when they put together a five play drive covering fifty seven yards, including a forty five yard TD run by Klammhaus at the 6:57 mark of the second quarter. The PAT made the score 29-7 Raiders.

The Chargers moved the ball on their next possession from its own 42 yard line to the Raider 30 yard line where the drive stalled and ended on a fourth down play. Mount Ayr took possession of the ball and completed two consecutive passes before Charger Gavin Cornelison intercepted a pass on the Charger 35 yard line. After two incomplete passes, ACGC gained one first down on a ten yard run by Crawford before the half ended with Mount Ayr leading 29-7.

The first ACGC possession of the second half went nowhere as it was guilty of three penalties during that possession and was forced to punt the ball away. Mt. Ayr responded with a drive of sixty four yards that ended with a Raider touchdown run of five yards by Myles Greene. The PAT was good, making the score 36-6 with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter.

The Chargers were forced to punt on their next possession, with Mounty Ayr gaining possession on its own 23 yard line after a 38 yard punt by Kolby Jacobe. The Raiders began a drive that carried over into the fourth quarter and ended with a Charger pass interception by Dylan Soper on the Charger nine yard line.

With ACGC unable to move the ball, Jacobe boomed a 54 yard punt to the Raider 35 yard line. Mount Ayr responded with its final touchdown drive of the night, in which Nathan Hauge provided the points on a 4 yard TD pass reception from Payton Weehler. The PAT was good to give the Raiders a 43-6 lead.

Following the kickoff the Chargers began its final drive from its own 35 yard line and marched 65 yards to pay dirt on a drive that took nearly six minutes. With Kingery carrying the ball ten times on the drive the Chargers scored at the 2:35 mark, with the senior running back going in from the ten yard line. Gabe Rowley added the two point conversion to make the score 43-14.

This game was one in which the opponent was the better team in every phase of the game. This was not a game that the Chargers let "get away." From the beginning it was clear which team was going to win. Mount Ayr is a legitimate playoff team and it showed last night. None of this to say that ACGC did not give all it had. Charger fans and players can be proud of the effort given last night and throughout the season. Significant strides were made this season, and with many players returning the future is bright. The team finished with a 3-6 record on the season, up from a record of 1-8 last year.

Nine seniors, all of whom contributed to the beginning of this resurgence, have played their final game for the Chargers including Easton Benson, Will Byers, Flavio Gonzalez, Spencer Grove, Ben Kingery, Gabe Rowley, Dylan Soper, Mike Ure, and Avery Wheatley. Down the road a bit, when ACGC is competing for one of those playoff spots, Charger fans will be able to say that this group of seniors took the first steps in accomplishing that. Go Chargers!

Charger Statistics

Passing: Bryce Littler, 2 attempts, 0 completions.

Rushing: Gavin Cornelison (5 attempts, 27 yards); Charlie Crawford (1-11); Ben Kingery (30-159);

Bryce Littler (5-16); Gabe Rowley (13, 64)

Tackles: Easton Benson (6 solos, 2 assists); Gage Buttler (0-5); Will Byars (1-0); Gavin Cornelison (2-1); Falvio Gonzalez (1-0); Spencer Grove (1-0); Kolby Jacobe (1-0); Cayden Jensen (1-0); Ben Kingery (3-8); Bryce Littler (3-2); Lucas Marsh (0-3); Gabe Rowley (0-6); Dylan Soper (2-0); Mike Ure (1-0); Avery Wheatley (2-4); Quynton Younker (4-3)

Interceptions: Gavin Cornelison 1, 0 yards returned; Dylan Soper (1-8)

Kick Offs: Will Byars, 89 for 162 yds

Punting: Kolby Jacobe, 5 for 32.4 yds

Kick Off Returns: Easton Benson, 1 for 7 yards; Charlie Crawford (2-61); Kolby Jacobe (2-54)

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