Title trifecta turned in by county youth gridiron squads

Posted 11/15/19

LINEBERRY — The definition of trifecta in the dictionary reads as follows: “a run of three wins or grand events.”

It certainly was a grand time with three wins for Chatham County youth …

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Title trifecta turned in by county youth gridiron squads

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LINEBERRY — The definition of trifecta in the dictionary reads as follows: “a run of three wins or grand events.”

It certainly was a grand time with three wins for Chatham County youth football teams on Saturday afternoon at the 2019 Quad County Football League championships up at Providence Grove High School in Lineberry.

Chatham County saw East Chatham take titles in the 5/6 Flag contest as well as the 11/12 Tackle Division to cap the day while Siler City staked claim to the 9/10 Tackle Division crown. Even more impressive was the fact that two local teams finished runner-up including East Chatham in the 9/10 Division and Siler City in the 11/12 Division.

In the big boy game at 11/12, it was Joshua Brown rushing for 145 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries to spark the East Chatham Chargers to a 22-12 victory over the Siler City Jets.

It was a physical contest highlighted by tenacious ground games and aggressive defense by both sides.

Needless to say East Chatham head coach J. Bryce Smith was more than proud of his team which began the playoffs as the fourth seed before stunning regular season champion Chapel Hill in the semi-finals before downing its rival Jets in the finals.

“We are proud of these young men, their commitment, heart and determination to play winning football!” Smith said. “To rise from the 4th seed to win the title demonstrates the players’ intensity, focus and desire to win.”

Smith continued to say how big an honor it was to coach this team.

“As coaches, we are honored to have an opportunity to work with them, imagine together and experience their dedication to bring the QCRFL 12U title back to East Chatham. We love and honor each one!”

Brown added the only completion for the Chargers in the contest, a nine-yard pass to Ty Willoughby while Robert Tripp, a pint size ball of energy, chipped in 46 yards rushing on 10 attempts while picking off a pass on the defensive side of the ball.

East Chatham closed with 209 yards of offense including 200 rushing on 30 attempts in a Notre Dame Box offense featuring a ground control style.

That was evident from the start as the Chargers began the contest on its own 24 yard line and embarked on a grinding 13-play, 76-yard drive that was ultimately capped on a two-yard blast by Brown up the gut to send East Chatham in front for good at 6-0. A bad snap on the PAT kick attempt kept the score at 6-0, but the Chargers had taken the league and set the tone for the contest while chewing up 5:03 of the opening quarter.

Brown had key runs of 17 and 22 yards on the drive as well as a nine-yard completion to Willoughby on a 1st-and-11 play to set up the score. Tripp added pivotal runs of eight, five, and seven yards in the march while Brown pounded for four yards on a key 4th-and-2 from the Chargers’ own 32 early in the drive.

After Siler City would go three-and-out on its opening possession due to a false start penalty, East Chatham took on its own 20 and used 10 plays to advance to midfield behind runs of eight, four and five by Tripp, and a nine-yard run from Nicholas Gregory.

The Jets held, however, and took over for only its second possession of the contest late in the second quarter at its own 45. After Willoughby, Tripp and Brown threw Siler City quarterback Nic Glover for a five-yard loss on first down, Glover found Antwone Brewington for a three-yard gain, and Gabe Brewer ripped off a gain of 16 yards and appeared to break into daylight before a diving tackle from McKay Smith prevented a SC touchdown.

With time winding down in the half and the ball at the 33 of East Chatham after runs of five and three yards by Glover, the Chargers halted the Jets threat when Tripp leaped up and picked off an aerial at the Siler City 12 to preserve the 6-0 advantage at the break.

Despite having the ball less than seven minutes of the opening half, Siler City was still right in the hunt for the title.

But disaster struck the Jets to open the second half as the East Chatham kickoff hit the turf down the right sidelines and spun away from a Siler City returner. A hustling Willoughby dove onto the bounding pigskin and gave East Chatham possession at the Siler City 33 and all the momentum.

Brown would rip off a 32-yard run on the ensuing play before pounding in from a yard out to extend the Chargers lead to 12-0 just like that. Travis Mann booted through the PAT kick and with just :36 seconds gone in the third period East Chatham had stunned their rivals and taken a 14-0 lead.

Siler City would show some real grit, however, taking over on its own 47 following the kickoff and proceeding to pick up a first down on the EC 43 after consecutive carries of 2, 2 and 6 by Brewer.

As well as East Chatham had played up to that point defensively, the next play showed just how dangerous the Jets were as talented Glover took a quarterback sweep to the left side, dodged a few Chargers tacklers, and then round an opening down the left sidelines, gliding into the end zone from 43 yards out to close the gap quickly at 14-6 at the 4:47 mark.

Brown would bring down Glover on the PAT run, however, to keep the score at 14-6.

But just as Siler City appeared to take all the momentum, things changed rapidly.

East Chatham took over on its own 42 after recovering the bounding kickoff by the Jets, and Tripp scooted around left end for seven yards on first down. Brown would get the ensuing carry and pounded off left tackle behind some great blocking up front and suddenly found himself in the clear before outracing the Siler City defense 51 yards down the left sidelines into the corner of the end zone. And just like that, with Mann adding another perfect PAT kick, the Chargers were back in front 22-6 in the span of :26 seconds.

“Our offensive line deserves a lot of recognition, because their tough play gave our running backs scoring opportunities,” noted Smith. “James Flanagan, Luke Marshall, Duffy Palmer, Grayson Cox, Stephen Silhan, Alex Hinchman, McKay Smith, Erik Diaz, Elijah Farrow, Conner Roland, Ryan Powell, and Ben Porter all had great games blocking for us. These boys were the backbone of our offense and Taylor Green was a work horse for us and clear a lot of running lanes as well.”

The action packed third quarter continued as Siler City refused to quit, and facing a 3rd-and-13 in its next possession from its own 48, saw Brewer rip off a run of 37 yards to get the Jets down to the EC 14.

Brewer would tear off five more yards before Glover pounded for nine more to set up a 1st and goal at the 2. Brewer did the rest but the PAT run was stopped by Smith to keep the score at 22-12 with :18.9 seconds left in the third.

Down by two scores, things continued to be interesting when Siler City recovered the ensuing kickoff the EC 48. Three runs netted zero yards, however, and a 4th-and-10 pass by Glover fell incomplete for the Jets.

East Chatham would chew on the clock with a first down behind runs of six and seven yards before the Siler City defense stiffened on the next four plays and forced a turnover on downs.

The Jets took over at their own 29 with 2:25 remaining and advanced to its own 45 on a 16-yard pass hook up down the right hash from Glover to Cam Spruiell.

Another five-yard pass between the two moved Siler City to midfield with just over a minute to play but Willoughby and Tripp threw Brewer for a three yard loss and the clock ran out on the Jets.

Siler City, which had 146 yards of total offense, including 129 on the ground on 19 attempts, was led by Glover who had 60 yards rushing and a score on seven carries while also completing 5-of-8 passes for 17 yards.

Brewer chipped in 67 yards rushing on 10 carries for the Jets.

In the 9/10 Division, Siler City and East Chatham met for the Quad County Football League title as well.

The two rivals went at it all day in what was a physical affair by both clubs.

In the end it was a tough Siler City defense and a pair of big plays by the Jets that proved to be the difference in a 15-0 victory that was in doubt until a huge change of events midway through the fourth. With Siler City leading 8-0, East Chatham had taken over midway through the third period on its own 23 and embarked on an 18-play, 72-yard drive highlighted by runs of eight, seven, and 20 yards by Duncan Parker, and a run of six and eight yards from Farrell Blackburn to set the Chargers up with a 1st-and-goal at the SC 9.

A run of four yards by Eli Johnson moved EC to the 5 but a rush resulting in no gain along with an incomplete pass set up a 4th and goal. Parker swept the right side on the ensuing play in an attempt to reach the end zone but was gang tackled at the 5-yard line by Namir Wiley, Darion Johnson and Lee to stop the Chargers threat.

Then came the play of the game with 4:37 remaining when Omar Sanford took a fullback dive up the middle, bounced it to the outside and shook lose a few East Chatham tacklers, and rambled up the right sidelines 95 yards to paydirt to set off a wild celebration for Jets faithful. Johnson would scamper in with the PAT attempt to give the Jets a 15-0 lead with just 4:24 remaining in the contest.

On its next two possessions East Chatham would manage just seven total yards as the Siler City defense, led by a 5-yard sack by Breland Harris, would hold stiff for the shutout and 15-0 win to claim the crown.

Earlier in the contest East Chatham started the game by using a 21-yard pass from Parker to Johnson on the second play from scrimmage to set up a 1st- and-10 at the 46.

After a gain of three by Parker and two by Nicholas Armstrong, Parker was thrown for a two-yard loss by to force an punt by the Chargers.

Siler City took over at its own 37 but after runs of five and one by Nolan Mitchell, and of three yards by Sanford, the Jets were held on 4th-and-2 when Blackburn stopped Mitchell for a one-yard gain.

East Chatham took possession at the Siler City 46 but a stingy Jets defense limited Parker to one yard on three carries to force a 4th-and-9 at the 45 of Siler C.ity The Chargers opted to go for it on the first play of the second quarter and were stopped six yards short of the yard stick to turn the ball over on downs.

Siler City made the failed attempt by East Chatham hurt as the Jets proceeded to move from its own 42 all the way into the end zone on a five-play, 58-yard drive sparked by Lee who opened the march with a 27-yard jaunt on a QB sweep to the right before connecting with on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Johnson on 4th-and-8 with 4:19 left in the half. Sanford booted through the PAT kick to send Siler City up 8-0.

East Chatham responded with a 25-yard jaunt from Parker off the right side on its next play from scrimmage to set the Chargers up with a 1st-and-10 from the 44 of the Jets.

Three plays netted just three yards and an incomplete 4th-and-7 pass ended the drive with 1:26 remaining in the half.

After a five-yard gain by Breland Harris, Siler City would lose five yards on second down when Mitchell was tackled for a loss by Parker before Lee was sacked by Joshua Johnson for a four-yard loss to force the Jets to just run out the clock in the first half.

The second half would be a battle before Siler City dug in and held East Chatham at the 5-yard line to set up the 95-yard touchdown heroics of Sanford to cap the 15-0 victory by the Jets and the 9/10 Division Quad County Football League title.

Sanford led Siler City with 111 yards and a touchdown rushing on just four carries while Lee ran for 10 yards on six attempts while also completing 1-of-1 passes for 29 yards and a score.

The Jets amassed 133 yards on 18 carries on the ground and 162 yards of total offense, gaining three first downs on the day.

Parker led the East Chatham effort with 97 yards on 19 carries while also completing 3-for-6 passes for 25 yards.

The Chargers had 106 yards rushing on 28 attempts while closing with 138 yards of total offense, gaining seven first downs in the contest.

“We knew going in it would be a dog fight and I was pleased with the way we played on both sides of the ball,” said Siler City coach Sam Glover. “The defense did a great job like they had all year, only allowing 13 points all year. Offensively, we made the big plays including the 4th and long.”

Glover couldn’t have been happier for his team and the coaching staff.

“I’m just so proud of all these kids and the coaches. Like our motto says, it’s a great day to be a Jet.”

While the later tackle games were tight contests, the opening game of the day between East Chatham and Asheboro for the Quad County Football League 5/6 year old Flag Title was not.

East Chatham simply manhandled Asheboro to the tune of 34-12 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.

The little Chargers dominated the Lions from start to finish in closing out with the championship.

Braylin Alston, Carter Alston, Jalen Barbee, Ca’Mari Benjamin, Everett Eberle, Jayden Fairey, Mavrex Flowers, Wyatt Flowers, Jackson Flynn, Lucca Grubb, Levi Hasseman, Jacob Jones, Henry Krohn, and Davis Parker were all instrumental in the lopsided victory for East Chatham.

“Our boys fought together all year and they stuck to our number one rule of ‘take care of your brothers,’ which is why we are champions today,” East Chatham coach Lee Flowers said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team and the hard work and dedication of our coaches that made this season a success.”

Flowers closed noting the great support his players and coaches received throughout the season.

“We know it takes the whole community to make a team great. Our coaching staff is grateful for the support of our parents, league and community; their support was vital in earning us the championship title for the second year in a row.”


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