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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Special teams give Panthers a boost

Trailing top-ranked Massaponax by just eight points at the half, visiting Chancellor was feeling pretty good about its chances of pulling an upset Friday night.

But in a three-minute span at the start of the third quarter, the Panthers put those thoughts to rest with lightning-like quickness.

Fueled by the play of its special teams, Massaponax erupted for two quick touchdowns to take control and then cruised from there to a 35–6 non-district victory.

“Our kids were excited at halftime,” Chancellor coach Bob Oliver said. “We thought we were in it, but those big plays they made really deflated us.”

The plays Oliver was referring to were a nifty 60-yard kickoff return by the Panthers’ A.J. Forbes, who scored two plays later. The other was a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Tony Barnett two minutes later.

Barnett added icing to the Panthers’ cake with a a 26-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Cason Whitt at the end of the third quarter.

Whitt completed 3 of 4 passes for 60 yards after taking over for Alphonzo Trice, who suffered a minor ankle injury earlier in the game.

Massaponax got its other touchdowns on scoring runs by Aubrey Wilson and Forbes in the first quarter. Wilson burst up the middle for a 61-yard sprint after Chancellor’s Austin Seipp had put the Chargers in front with a 26-yard field goal.

Forbes then scored on a 14-yard scamper, but Seipp connected again from 20 yards out after a 15-play drive to cut the Panthers’ lead to 14–6 at the break.

With momentum on its side, Chancellor looked primed to make some noise in the second half. But the only noise came from the opposite side of the field in the form of the Panthers’ special teams.

Forbes hauled in Seipp’s kickoff at the 32 and returned it down the left sideline to the Chancellor 8 to set up his own 2-yard touchdown run.

After the Massaponax defense held on three plays, Barnett fielded a punt and raced 67 yards for another Massaponax touchdown.

“My blockers told me they were going to block for me,” Barnett said. “I trusted them and they led me into the end zone.”

Massaponax coach Eric Ludden liked the resiliency his team showed, but knows the Panthers need to do better in next Friday’s Commonwealth District opener at Colonial Forge.

“I don’t think we’ve hit our stride yet,” Ludden said. “We have to get better, but these guys are really playing hard. We just need to iron out some little things.”

Oliver liked the way his young team performed, as well.

“Massaponax is a really good football team, but our guys worked really hard. That’s all I can ask,” Oliver said.

Next week, Chancellor visits Brooke Point.


Chancellor      3    3      0    0   —   6
Massaponax 14 0 21 0 35

First Quarter

Ch-A. Seipp 26-yard field goal

Ma-A. Wilson 61-yard run (Z. West kick)

Ma-A. Forbes 14-yard run (Z. West kick)

Second Quarter

Ch-A. Seipp 20-yard field goal

Third Quarter

Ma-A. Forbes 2-yard run (Z. West kick)

Ma-T. Barnett 67-yard punt return (Z. West kick)

Ma-T. Barnett 26-yard pass from C. Whitt (Z. West kick)


  Ch Ma
First Downs 10 10
Rushing yardage 32-75 37-226
Passing yardage 89 60
Passes 8-17-0 3-7-0
Punts-Ave. 6-37.6 3-38.6
Fumble-lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties 6-35 8-61


Rushing: Massaponax—Aubrey Wilson 4-66, TD; Bo Fields 3-45; Kelvin Forson 1-33; AJ Forbes 6-33, 2TD; Alphonzo Trice 8-30; Cason Whitt 7-10; Brandon Parks 4-4; Darren Gary 1-3; Cortez Jones 2-1; Javonte Latney 1-1. Chancellor—Jamal Jones 8-39; Orlando Jones 6-29; Zander Roysten 1-6; Demetrie Dores 2-5; Mario Wisdom 2-2; Kemoni Dunn 3-2; Jason Brown 10-(-8).

Passing: Massaponax—Cason Whitt 3-4-0 60, TD; Alphonzo Trice 0-3-0 0. Chancellor—Jason Brown 7-16-0 82; Jamal Jones 1-1-0 7.

Receiving: Massaponax—Tony Barnett 1-26, TD; AJ Forbes 1-23; Gus Little 1-11. Chancellor—Brandon Cavalier 4-26; Demetrie Dores 1-25; Kofie Jones 1-18; Quincy Pfost-Banks 1-11; Emanuel Jenkins 1-9.

Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440