Charles City claims share of T-RD title, heads to playoffs
Charles City’s Panthers wasted little time in erasing the sting of a 42-0 setback at Sussex a week earlier. The host Panthers took out their frustrations on Surry’s Cougars, registering touchdowns on their first three possessions on the way to an easy 38-6 triumph.
In fact, the Panthers needed just two plays from scrimmage to take command in the Nov. 5 contest. After taking the opening kickoff, the hosts used a flea-flicker off a reverse that netted 41 yards on Trevor Jones’ pass to Dominique Williams. On the next play, Jones grabbed a swing pass out of the backfield from Avery Jones and scampered 27 yards to put the hosts ahead to stay.
The victory placed the Panthers back on track toward a Group A Division 1 football playoff berth. Charles City improved to 3-1 in Tri-Rivers District play and 6-3 overall.
With Franklin’s upset of Sussex, the Panthers earned a share of the Tri-Rivers District title. They play at Sussex this Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Region A Division 1 playoffs.
“It was a good effort all around, and we needed it after last week. I’m still reeling from that one,” Panther head coach Steward Greene said.
“I’m pleased with the win, but we moved a little slow at some points,” he said, adding part of that stemmed from the Cougar defense concentrating on Trevor Jones.
But Jones had his moments despite the pressure. On Charles City’s next series, he hauled in a 40-yard aerial from brother Avery to set up another TD. Four plays later, running back Joseph Tabb slammed into the end zone from a yard away to open a 12-0 advantage.
The Panthers were back in business on offense just seconds later when Williams pounced on Dominick Barbour’s onside kick. It took only five plays to up the count to 20-0 on Gregory Cotman’s one-yard plunge and Tabb’s conversion run.
Surry threatened to close the gap after recovering a Panther fumble at the Charles City 40 yard line. The ensuing drive reached the 10, but ended on Barbour’s interception in the end zone.
The turnover launched the Panthers on a 10-play, 80-yard march that created a 26-0 halftime bulge on Williams’ leaping grab in the end zone on an 11-yard pass from Trevor Jones.
The Cougars could not keep up with Joneses as the duo combined to complete all nine of their first half passes for 192 yards and 2 TDs. Avery went 5-for-5 for 115 yards and a TD while Trevor’s numbers were 4-for-4, 77 yards, and a TD. A Panther pass, meanwhile, never fell incomplete until the fourth quarter, breaking a string of 12 straight completions.
Surry’s Timothy Thomas returned the second half kickoff 88 yards to the Charles City seven yard line, but the Cougars fumbled the ball away at the one on the next play. The visitors averted a shutout early in the fourth quarter on LaDarryl Birchette’s two-yard run.
Tabb, who ran for 134 yards on 18 carries, scored his second touchdown late in the final period.
“Now if we can keep our momentum going,” Greene said. “I’ve got 21-22 guys that I can’t ask for anything better and a coaching staff that does a bang-up job every week.”