Some of you may recall the 1986 comedy movie "The Three Amigos." In the film comedians Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short portray silent film actors who are mistakenly taken for real heroes by the residents of a small Mexican village who are threatened by a gang of bandits. In the film the amigos somehow bumble their way through to save the village from the bad guys.
By contrast, last night Charger football fans witnessed a tragedy that could be entitled "The Three Enemigos", or "the three enemies." These three enemies have raised their ugly heads several times over the last two months, and last night the enemigos probably cost the Chargers a playoff berth. Unfortunately the three enemies--fumbles, penalties, and a porous pass defense--all appeared together last night in the Charger 39-16 loss to Mount Ayr. A win would have given the Chargers a playoff spot, but the loss eliminated ACGC from playoff contention.
By this observer's count the Chargers were guilty of committing a minimum of eight penalties, fumbling four times, and surrendering three touchdown passes to the visitors. Much of the damage was done in the second quarter when Mount Ayr broke away from an 8-8 tie to score three touchdowns and put the game out of reach at 32-8 heading into the halftime break.
The game started out just the way the Chargers had hoped, as the ACGC defense shut down Mount Ayr on its firs possession and forced a punt. The Chargers then put together a masterful fifteen play, seventy yard drive to score the first points of the game. With Gavin Cornelison doing most of the damage with his eight carries and five yard touchdown run, the Chargers scored the first points of the game at the 4:30 mark and took a 6-0 lead. The successful two point conversion made it 8-0.
The Raiders responded with a seventy yard drive of their own that included two fifteen yard penalties on the Chargers and three pass completions. The last of the completions was a thirty one yard touchdown toss from Payton Wheeler to Dawson Frost. The two point conversion knotted the game at 8-8.
The Chargers took the ensuing kickoff on what appeared to be another scoring drive. With Cornelison, Kolby Jacobe, and Cayden Jensen sharing the football, the drive carried from the ACGC thirty two yard line deep into Raider territory at the nine yard line. A recovered Charger fumble lost three yards, making it third down and ten from the twelve yard line. On what appeared to be a Charger pass reception at the two yard line was instead ruled a pass interception by Mount Ayr. The Raiders then drove the ball ninety eights yards on a drive that included four pass completions, with the fourth being a twenty three yard touchdown pass. Following a two point conversion the Raiders held a 16-8 lead.
It only went downhill from there for the Chargers. On its very next possession, an ACGC fumble was recovered by Raider Keeler Klommhaus and returned for a forty seven yard touchdown. With a successful two point conversion, the Raiders extended their lead to 24-8.
When the Chargers turned the ball over on downs inside their own forty yard line on the next possession, Mount Ayr wasted little time in putting more points on the scoreboard. Aided by a fifteen yard penalty assessed against ACGC, it took just three plays for the Raiders to score its third touchdown of the second quarter. At the halftime break Mount Ayr held a commanding 32-8 lead and the outcome of the game was essentially decided.
There seemed to be a glimmer of hope to start the second half when ACGC put together their third significant drive of the game. Starting from their own thirty yard line the Chargers methodically drove the ball upfield with thirteen consecutive running plays that ended with a one yard touchdown plunge by Cornelison. Four Chargers--Cornelison, Jensen, Bryce Littler, and Gunnar Larsen--all carried the ball on the drive. With the two point conversion the Chargers had closed the gap to 32-16.
However, the drive took nearly nine minutes to complete. The Charger wishbone offense is a grind it out, time consuming offense that makes it difficult to come from behind--particularly when the opponent has a three touchdown lead. Still, there was time to catch up with more than a full quarter of the game remaining.
The Chargers had three possessions in the fourth quarter, but lost the ball via a pass interception on one possession, and were unable to get much traction on the other two. Mount Ayr completed the scoring with just 0:54 showing on the clock when quarterback Wheeler again connected with receiver Frost for a twenty two yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick gave us the final 39-16 score.
It is a bitter pill too swallow when hopes are high and a playoff spot was waiting for the Chargers last night. But let's ask ourselves this: Did any of us think last July that our boys would be playing for a playoff spot on the last Friday in October? If we had been asked last summer if we would be happy with a 6-3 season methinks the answer would have been a resounding "Yes!" Much has been accomplished this season. The coaching staff and its players can be very proud of what has been accomplished in just two seasons. And its just the beginning!
Seven seniors have worn the black and gold for the final time. #3 Kolby Jacobe, #4 Bryce Littler, #10 Kenzie Reinhart, # 30 Cole Plowman, #72 Sam Madsen, #74 Quynton Younker, and # 79 Hayden Knutter have made contributions to the program that will not be soon forgotten. Best wishes to all of them. Go Chargers!
Score by quarter:
Mt. Ayr 8 24 0 7--39
ACGC 8 0 8 0--16
Passing: Bryce Littler: 1 completion out of 7 attempts for 26 yards with 2 interceptions
Rushing: Gavin Cornelison: 26 attempts for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns; Kolby Jacobe: (6-31-0); Cayden Jensen (15-70-0); Gunnar Larsen: (1-2-0); Bryce Litter: (7-12-0); Cole Plowman: (1-8-0)
Receiving: Lucas Marsh: 1 reception for 26 yards
Scoring: Gavin Cornelison: 12 points; Kolbe Jacobe: 2 points; Cayden Jensen: 2 points
Tackles: Gage Buttler: 2 solo and 2 assists; Gavin Cornelison: (3-4); Charlie Crawford: (3-4); Seth Danker: (3-3); Cayden Jensen: (2-3); Gunnar Larsen: (1-4); Bryce Littler: (0-6); Sam Madsen: (0-1); Ben Marsh: ( 0-1); Lucas Marsh: (0-3); Reid Rumelhart: (1-1); Nolan Wheatley: (1-5); Quynton Younker: (3-7)
Kickoffs: Charlie Crawford: 3 for average of 38.3 yards
Kickoff returns: Charlie Crawford: 1 for 17 yards; Cayden Jensen: (2-26); Ben Marsh: (1-11); Lucas Marsh: (1-3)