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Prep football: Panthers stay unbeaten
BY STEVE FRANZELLO
When Massaponax coach Eric Ludden saw the weather forecast for Friday’s visit to Chancellor earlier this week, he cringed.
Several of Ludden’s players had been battling a respiratory illness all week, and he knew the hot and humid weather could spell trouble, especially against a physical team like the Chargers.
But after watching the Panthers hang on for a gritty 21–14 non-district victory in the heat, his concern was short-lived.
“I was so proud of these guys that they pulled together tonight,” Ludden said. “A lot of them had been sick this week, but they gutted it out and showed a lot of toughness against a really good football team.”
With their district schedules looming in front of them, both the Panthers and the Chargers got to measure up against each other in a contest that was punctuated with hard-hitting on defense and hard running on offense.
After piling up 354 yards on the ground in an opening win over Courtland last week, Massaponax used nearly the same formula against the Chargers to grind out its second victory.
The Panthers ran the ball 56 times for 251 yards, including 150 by 230-pound fullback Javonte Latney, who burned the Cougars for 227 last week. Most of his yards against the Chargers’ active defense were hard-earned.
“[Chancellor] is a physical team” Latney admitted. “We expected nothing less then that kind of game from them.”
Things looked good for Massaponax on its opening possession. Junior quarterback Alphonzo Trice capped a five-play, 61-yard drive with a 21-yard scamper into the end zone to put the Panthers ahead 7–0.
But Chancellor’s defense came up big in the closing minutes of the first quarter and tied the score. DeAndre Miller intercepted Trice’s pass and returned it 62 yards to the Panthers 12.
Two plays later, Nate Garrette made the most of his only carry in the game and scored from 3 yards out to pull the Chargers even.
Both defenses then rose to the occasion.
Massaponax intercepted Chargers quarterback Darrin Jackson three times, while the Chancellor’s defense began to find its rhythm behind the strong play of Miller and lineman Bruce Creatore.
“Our defense had a great game plan coming in,” said Massaponax cornerback Joey Foster. “It was really good pass coverage and a really good rush by our D line.”
The Panthers scored twice within a minute’s span to take control early in the second half.
On their first series of the third quarter, they put one of their best drives together that ended with Latney scoring on a 1-yard plunge.
On the ensuing kickoff, an alert David Bornemeier raced down field and picked up the football at the Chargers’ 12-yard line. Latney followed that with a 1-yard run to make it 21–7 and the Panthers looked ready to put the game away.
But this is a veteran Chancellor team that showed its mettle in the closing minutes.
After a series of turnovers between both teams, the Chargers finally cashed in on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to a streaking Chris Purvis with two minutes left in the game. But the comeback ended there.
“I told our team that I was please with our effort, but not our mistakes. You can’t make them against a good team like Massaponax. But the silver lining is that we were right there with them at the end.”
Chancellor continues its nondistrict schedule with a visit to Liberty in two weeks, while Massaponax entertains Stafford in its Commonwealth District opener on Friday.
Massaponax 7 0 14 0 — 21
Chancellor 7 0 0 7 — 14
Ma-A. Trice 21-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ch-N. Garrette 3-yard run (J. Clemens kick)
Ma-J. Latney 14-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ma-J. Latney 1-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
Ch-C. Purvis 7-yard pass from D. Jackson (J. Clemens kick)
First downs18 6
Rushing yardage56-251 19-99
Passing yardage7 95
Rushing: Chancellor—Dominic Kaopua 10-71; Tyler Morton 4-19; Darrin Jackson 3-5; Nate Garrette 1-3, TD; Demetrie Dores 1-1. Massaponax—Javonte Latney 25-150, 2TD; Alphonzo Trice 16-64, TD; Joey Foster 11-35; Brandon Parks 3-4; AJ Forbes 1-(-2).
Passing: Chancellor—Darrin Jackson 10-20-3 95, TD. Massaponax—Alphonzo Trice 1-8-1 7.
Receiving: Chancellor—Chris Purvis 2-44, TD; Chris Holmes 5-35; Dominic Kaopua 1-8; Brandon Cavalier 1-5; DeAndre Miller 1-3. Massaponax—Cortez Jones 1-7.
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440