Charles City’s return to gridiron marred after on-field scuffle with Northumberland
What was supposed to be a celebration for the return of football at Charles City High School after a three-year hiatus quickly became marred after an on-field scuffle brought the game to an early end.
Charles City’s Panthers fell to the visiting Northumberland Indians 34-6 during Friday night’s contest.
Charles City had no qualms about taking on a much more experienced team. Northumberland was led by Cameron Seldon, the number two-ranked prospect in the state of Virginia who is heading to the University of Tennessee.
Seldon made his presence early on in the contest. On a fourth and seventh play at the Panthers’ 25-yard line, Northumberland quarterback Tyreek Lundy threw the ball to the back of the end zone. From there, Seldon took to the air and hauled the pass in, providing the guests an early 6-0 advantage.
After a three-and-out for Charles City, Northumberland looked to double their lead on the scoreboard. Instead, Lundy’s determination to get the ball to Seldon backfired, as Panthers’ linebacker Taylor Bey intercepted the ball, returning it 50 yards for a score to tie the game at six apiece halfway through the opening quarter.
Northumberland elected to slow the pace of the game down, milking five minutes off the clock before plunging into the end zone for their second score of the night and a 14-6 lead. In the second quarter, Lundy plunged in from one-yard for the Indians, increasing the visitors’ advantage to 14 (20-6).
Charles City was able to notch first down number one in the second quarter as Bryan Lewis Jr. scamped for 14 yards. But Lewis’ pass attempt to Mitchell Whitehead was intercepted by Northumberland. The visitors capitalized off Charles City’s error, as Lundy connected with Seldon on a 40-yard pass play, setting up Markiel Cockrell’s run to give the Indians a 26-6 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, another Charles City empty possession returned the ball to Northumberland. Despite being deep in their own territory, the Indians executed a screen play that went the distance of 82 yards to increase the lead to 34-6.
But from there, a blindsided late hit by a Northumberland player on a Charles City player escalated tensions on the sideline at the 2:06 mark. After things settled down, the game was called for the safety of players and teams.
After the contest, Charles City Head Coach Sherod Jones first apologized to those in attendance.
“I want to our fans and our administration,” he said. “Our guys are told not to do this, and they are not taught to do this.
“The score is not what we wanted, and these guys should have been fighting and battling in between the lines and not on the sidelines,” Jones continued. “While we are glad to be back on the gridiron, we teach sportsmanship. This incident was not called for and does not represent Charles City and we will look to improve everything.”
Charles City falls to 0-3 on the season and will return for home action on Sept. 29 against Bruton.