New Kent dominates Charles City in gridiron clash
Rivals Charles City and New Kent collided on the gridiron Friday night with both teams trying to figure out who they were coming into the 2017 season. Needless to say, each team is moving in an opposite direction.
Despite the storm-shortened contest, New Kent rushed for 200 yards in one half of play and prevented host Charles City from gaining a first down en route to a 28-6 victory.
Charles City came out excited on the first drive, but two runs netted minus yards followed by an interception by New Kent’s Wyatt Terry off Panther signal caller Alonzo Harper thwarted that attempt. The turnover led to a 15-yard scamper by Trojan back Joey Campbell and an 8-0 advantage.
New Kent’s defense forced a three-and-out on the next drive by Charles City. The visitors’ ground game flourished, with three consecutive ten-plus rushes. The fourth touch, courtesy of fullback Kyle Coles, produced a 17-yard touchdown and a 16-0 lead heading into quarter two.
A lack of offense productivity by the Panthers resulted in New Kent regaining the ball early in the frame. Coles toted the ball on three of the next four snaps, with his final carry leading to the end zone and a 22-0 lead. Another Panther sputter on offense returned the pigskin to the visitors. An eleven-play, 52-yard drive saw cross the goal line to open the lead to 28-0.
Charles City’s lone bright spot came on the ensuing kickoff. Panther return man Robert Dobson returned down the Panthers’ sideline on a 78-yard return to provide the host its only points on the night. New Kent attempted to move the ball down the field and score before the half, but fell short. With lightning in the background, the game was called at the break.
Trojan head coach Clark Harrell said he wanted to get a good look at his team’s run defense against the Panthers.
“[Charles City] gave us the look we wanted to see our run defense,” Harrell said. “Tonight we shut them down.
“On offense, our linemen did well,” he continued. “We have good backs but not like the explosive ones we have coming back [from injury].”
Harrell referenced running back Evan Branch, who sat out the game with injury. C.J. Reeders, the other top back for the Trojans, will miss the year due to a severe knee injury. The Trojans also played without tight end Dean Powell and senior lineman Trent Ragland in the game.
“All in all, we played pretty good,” Harrell concluded. “We will work on a few things such as our kickoff coverage and prepare for Colonial Heights.”
On the hosts’ side, head coach Steward Greene provided an honest response about the effort he saw on the field.
“We saw how much work we had to do,” the disappointed Panther head coach said. “We were tired in the first quarter and that goes to conditioning.”
And in the case of Charles City, the statistics didn’t lie. Charles City netted a total of -5 yards on offense. Charles City accumulated zero first downs, while the defense surrendered 12.
“We didn’t block tonight at all and we didn’t tackle on defense,” Greene continued. “We have to fix some things this upcoming week because we have Cumberland wanting to come in and knock us off in the season opener.”
Charles City will return to the gridiron on Aug. 25 as they will host Cumberland, while New Kent will open up their season by hosting Colonial Heights on Aug. 31.
NK- Coles 11/66, 2 TD; Terry 9/55, 1 TD; Cable 5/49, Campbell 2/25, 1 TD; Curle 4/17, Jones 2/10.
CC- Jones 1/-3, Dobson 5/-9.
NK- Gammon 1/13.
CC- Menefee 1/7.
NK- Curle 1/2/13 yards.
CC- Harper 1/6/7 yards, 1 int.