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Region I, Division 4 Football: Cougars make Chargers pay
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
When Chancellor High School senior running back Chris Purvis bobbled a pass from quarterback Darrin Jackson, Kyle Talley was ready to pounce.
But there was one minor problem for the Courtland junior defensive back. One of his cleats slipped off just as he planted to come back to the ball.
Talley recorded the Cougars’ fourth interception of the game anyway. He then raced 85 yards untouched for a touchdown to propel fourth-seeded Courtland to a 23–20 road victory over No. 1 seed Chancellor on Friday night in the Region I, Division 4 semifinals.
Courtland coach J.C. Hall was nervous that Talley would slip and fall if he was forced to make a cut.
But Talley saw nothing but green grass ahead as he gave Courtland a 23–14 lead with 2:04 left in the third quarter.
“It didn’t matter,” Talley said of losing his shoe. “I just had to focus, watch the ball and run my heart out.”
The Cougars (8–4) will visit the winner of today’s contest between King George and Smithfield next Saturday for the regional championship. It’ll be Courtland’s third straight appearance in the title game.
The Cougars needed just 102 yards of total offense to earn the win Friday over their archrival.
They had gained just 70 yards entering their final drive with 6:01 left in the game. But they managed three first downs on the march and gave Chancellor (8–3) the ball back at its own 8-yard line with just 44 seconds remaining.
“We told them: ‘You’ve got the lead. You either want to finish this thing or have your equipment collected,’” Hall said of the final drive. “We did a good job of sustaining blocks. We held on and got the win.”
The Chargers were left to lament a series of miscues that coach Bob Oliver said helped end their season.
In addition to Jackson’s four interceptions, the Cougars picked up two points on a safety in the second quarter after the ball was snapped over the Chancellor punter’s head. The Cougars blocked the subsequent punt attempt into the back of the end zone.
Two of Jackson’s interceptions set up short fields for the Cougars, and they capitalized.
Quarterback Eric Washington scored on a 2-yard run following linebacker Matt Knowles’ first-quarter interception. Sophomore fullback Anton Jenkins added a 10-yard touchdown burst following Chris Carpenter’s diving pick.
“We gave them 16 points off the bat,” Oliver said. “We’re not good enough to give anybody 16 points.”
The Chargers also had a 6-yard touchdown run by Dominic Kaopua called back for an illegal-motion penalty while they were trailing 23–14 in the fourth quarter.
They settled for a 23-yard field goal attempt, which sailed wide left.
After the game ended, Carpenter grinned ear to ear while standing in the end zone, celebrating what Hall said is one of the biggest wins of his 10-year career.
“It feels great. I love it,” Carpenter said. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my high school career.”
Courtland 7 9 7 0 — 23
Chancellor 14 0 0 6 — 20
Ch-D. Kaopua 5-yard run (J. Clemens kick)
Ct-E. Washington 2-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
Ch-N. Garrette 4-yard run (J. Clemens kick)
Ct-A. Jenkins 10-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-K. Talley 85-yard interception (S. Yurgel kick)
Ch-D. Jackson 1-yard run (kick failed)
First downs8 12
Rushing yardage31-86 33-110
Passing yardage16 163
Rushing: Chancellor—Dominic Kaopua 24-88, TD; Darrin Jackson 7-17, TD; Nate Garrette 1-4, TD; Chris Purvis 1-1. Courtland—Anton Jenkins 15-55, TD; Darien Grant 4-13; Brandon Mason 3-11; Josh Howard 7-7; Eric Washington 2-0, TD.
Passing: Chancellor—Darrin Jackson 8-17-4 163. Courtland—Eric Washington 6-12-1 16.
Receiving: Chancellor—Tyler Morton 3-60; DeAndre Miller 2-40; Raymond Buckner 1-27; Chris Purvis 1-22; Chris Holmes 1-14. Courtland—Patrick Edwards 3-8; Kyle Talley 2-4; Chris Carpenter 1-4.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526