Charles City’s big lead holds up to defeat Dukes in opener
For one half, it looked like the home-standing Charles City Panthers would have no problem disposing of the visiting Cumberland Dukes. But after allowing the visitors back into the contest, it was the Panthers’ ability to capitalize off a late mistake to clinch victory.
Charles City jumped out to a 20-0 lead and held on for a 28-18 victory in the Aug. 25 season opening football contest.
Using a vicious ground attack, Charles City gashed the Dukes’ defense on several big plays. Less than four minutes into the game, Robert Dobson’s one-yard carry put the hosts up 6-0. After forcing the visitors to turn the ball over on downs, Charles City’s rushing attack reaped benefits again, this time with senior Craig Jones Jr. scampering 22 yards for a score and a 12-0 advantage for the hosts heading into the second quarter.
With Cumberland attempting to shut down the outside running lanes, the Panthers opted for a fullback dive, resulting in Richard Adkins’ 12-yard tote into the end zone. His score along with Dobson’s conversion run provided a 20-0 lead for Charles City heading into the half.
The intermission break seemed to be the answer for Cumberland. After receiving the ball, the Dukes relied on running back Darron Ridley for production. Successive ten-plus yard gains by Ridley set up quarterback Darius Kyle’s one-yard sneak into the end zone to get the visitors on the board (20-6).
Forcing the Panthers to go three-and-out, Cumberland took advantage of the hosts’ mistakes. After Ridley ran down the sideline for a 22-yard burst, Charles City was hit with back-to-back personal foul penalties. The result placed the ball on Charles City’s 12-yard line. Two plays later, Ridley found the end zone to cut the deficit to eight (20-12).
Another successful stop by the Dukes as time expired in the third quarter forced the Panthers’ to set-up for a punt to start the fourth quarter of play. An attempt to field the punt by the Dukes’ Keyshawn Diming saw him muff the ball with Charles City recovering the ball deep in Cumberland territory. Three plays later, Adkins found the end zone for the second time to boost the advantage to 28-12.
A glimmer of hope returned to the Dukes late in the contest. With 1:36 remaining in the game and pinned at their own seven, Kyle was able to connect with wide-out Jaquan Brown on a 93-yard pass play overtop the Panthers’ secondary. Needing the two-point conversion to remain in the game, Kyle’s pass fell short, sealing the win for the Panthers.
Charles City head coach Steward Greene commented about the opening game performance.
“I think overall we did well, especially with a bunch of these kids getting out here for the first time,” the victorious coach said. “Our veterans were able to carry us and we were able to get this one.
“We still have to work on some things, especially cutting down on penalties,” Greene continued, pointing to his team being flagged eight times for 105 yards. “That’s one whole football field that could have been for us to either score or prevent the other team from scoring. But tonight, I will take this win and we will move forward.”
Charles City starts off the season 1-0.
CU- Kyle 9/11/149 yards, 1 TD.
CC- Harper 4/12/36 yards.
CU- Ridley 19/70, 1 TD; Kyle 17/29, 1 TD, Berry 5/22, Allen 1/3.
CC- Dobson 25/148, 1 TD; Jones 8/79, 1 TD; Adkins 6/16, 2 TD; Harper 1/5.
CU- Ja. Brown 1/93, 1 TD; Jo. Brown 1/19, Diming 2/16, Berry 2/14, Allen 1/6, Bland 1/1.
CC- Gardner 2/27, Menefee 1/7, Jones 1/2.