Charles City football breaks through, wins first game of season
With four tough games already in the books, Charles City head coach Sherod Jones knew that his battle tested team would find a way to use those trials to emerge victorious. For the Panthers, what better way to do it than on homecoming night.
Senior running back Ha’Ji Jackson rushed for 148 yards while quarterback Keondre’ Barnes tossed his first career touchdown throws as Charles City dominated Lancaster 47-22 during Friday night homecoming festivities.
The first quarter saw the Panthers defense stand firm, as the hosts stuffed Lancaster’s fourth-and-goal attempt from the one-yard line. But stuck in deep territory, Charles City surrendered a safety a few plays later, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead heading into quarter number two.
But that margin would be the last time the visitors had control of the contest. Three minutes into the second quarter, Barnes connected with senior wide receiver Leo Charity on a fade into the back corner of the end zone to give the Panthers a 6-2 lead. Four minutes later, senior running back Jayron Jones toted the ball in from 11 yards out to give the hosts a 12-2 lead as both teams went into the halftime break.
Midway through the third quarter, Lancaster used an air connection as quarterback Calvin Redmond and running back Cameron Towles hooked up for a score from eight yards out to cut the lead to four (12-8).
But the Panthers were not deterred, as on the next drive, the Panthers marched 60 yards down the field, capped off with a Jackson run. With 40 seconds left in the frame, Lancaster running back Troy Cox Jr. fumbled the ball, with the Panthers making the recovery. Barnes made the visitors pay, as he hooked up with wide receiver Tayvion Harris on a 22-yard touchdown as time expired in the third quarter, with the hosts up by 18 (26-8).
Barnes stepped up on the defensive end, intercepting a Redmond pass. Jackson paid dividends with a three-yard plunge.
Towles returned the subsequent kickoff for a score to slice the Panther lead in half (32-16), but Jackson scampered for his third score on the ground, this time from 44 yards out. Charity capped off the scoring for Charles City with a 35-yard run. A late score by Towles on the ground accounted for the final margin.
After the game, Jones spoke about his team’s execution.
“Tonight, we had some of our younger players step up tonight,” he said. “A lot of them are playing the game for the first time and I think that they see that they can be successful if they work hard.
“Everything wasn’t perfect, but we are going to continue to work hard,” Jones added. “Tonight though, we can celebrate this win.”
Charles City improves its record to 1-4 on the season.