Chargers rally past K&Q for first win
|Members of the 2008 Middlesex High School football team are, front from left, Lamar Keyser, Malcolm Ward, Mike Eades and Brett Chodorov; second row, Avery Bundy, Bryan Engle, Jeremy Rich, Bradley Lee and Marcus Hammond; third row, Corey Keeling, Scott Payne, Matt Duke, Brandon Eanes, Chuckie Morris and Ryan Burton; and fourth row, Craig Conley, Ronald Watkins, Kris Baylor, Dale Smith, Jay Bryant, Joseph Banks and Tayvon Morning. (Photo by Larry Chowning)|
by Larry S. Chowning
Ronnie Watkins scored three touchdowns to lead the Middlesex High varsity football team to its first win of the season Friday night, 36-28 over King and Queen on the Royal Tigers’ home field.
The Chargers (1-8) trailed until less than a minute to play in the game when Mike Eades caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Kris Baylor to pull MHS to within a point at 28-27. Watkins then put the Chargers ahead 29-28 with the 2-point conversion run.
Corey Keeling iced the MHS win when he returned an interception 41 yards for a TD with 38 seconds remaining.
The Chargers (1-8) will play their final game at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, at home against Mathews. All Charger fans are urged to wear blue for this special “Blue Game.”
In the win over King and Queen, Watkins rushed for 151 yards on 24 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. He scored the first touchdown in the first quarter on a seven-yard run following a seven-play, 60-yard drive.
He scored again in the second period on a three-yard run after an eight-play, 52-yard drive. His third touchdown came on a two-yard run on a four-play, 19-yard drive. He also scored the two-point conversion following the TD.
Eades, who missed most of the season because of injury, had a strong game. The Charger tight end had two receptions, one to keep a scoring drive alive and the other for a touchdown. He caught two passes for 30 yards from quarterback Kris Baylor.
“The real story of the game was Michael Eades,” said MHS coach Heath Cockerham. “He had his knee completely destroyed in August and he sacrificed himself and worked hard to get back out there. It’s a little bit of a tear jerker for me. He has shown some great determination and courage.”
Baylor attempted 4 passes, completed 2 to Eades, and had one pass intercepted. The MHS quarterback had never played the position until several weeks ago when he was forced to take over when the first and second string quarterbacks were injured.
After Watkins first touchdown in the first quarter, Charger kicker Brett Chodorov made the extra point to make the score 7-0. King and Queen then scored on a 38-yard drive, but missed the two-point conversion.
The Royal Tigers then took advantage of a MHS turnover and drove 45 yards and scored with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The Tigers converted the two-point conversion and went ahead 14-7.
In the second quarter, Watkins scored on a three-yard run. He rushed for 33 yards on 7 carries in the drive. The extra point was missed and the Tigers led 14-13.
King and Queen came right back and scored on a 16-yard touchdown run and made the two-point conversion to up its lead to 22-13.
There was no scoring in the third quarter, but four touchdowns were scored in the fourth quarter.
Middlesex scored first on a two-yard run by Watkins, who also added the two-point conversion to cut the Tigers’ lead to 22-21.
King and Queen scored next on a 10-yard run, but the two-point conversion failed and the Tigers led 28-21.
With only 57 seconds left in the game, Eades caught his 18-yard TD pass and Watkins scored the two-point conversion to put MHS up 29-28.
King and Queen had a good drive going in the final seconds when MHS defensive back Corey Kneeling picked off a Tiger pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown.
The Chargers played its best offensive game of the season, converting on 14 first downs, six of eight third down conversions, and one of three fourth down tries.
Other Chargers to contribute rushing yards were Shawn Lee with 40 yards on 11 carries, and Jeremy Rich with 39 yards on four carries.
“I was very proud of the way those young guys stepped up and played,” said Coach Cockerham. “We were down most of the game but they stayed focused and they did what they were supposed to do. We were very excited for them. They have worked very, very hard.”
Middlesex will host Mathews tonight in the Chargers final game of the season. The game starts at 7 p.m.