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Charles City edges Chargers in overtime

Behind a wall of blockers, Middlesex quarterback Kyle Lawson hands the ball off to Ryheem Lockley, who rushed for 161 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 34-32 loss. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry S. Chowning

The Middlesex High School varsity football team lost a heart-breaker in overtime to the Charles City Panthers Friday night, 34-32, at the annual Oyster Bowl Game at MHS in Saluda.

The Chargers led the entire game until the last minute of regulation time when the Panthers tied the game 26-26. The Chargers had the ball first in overtime play and scored, but did not convert the 2-point conversion. Charles City scored and made their 2-point conversion to win the game.

“Our team played their hearts out and I’m very proud of the effort by everyone,” said MHS head coach Josh Franke. “We just couldn’t seem to put them away. We had them on the ropes, but they kept it close all night.”

Middlesex lineman Zach Belcher knocks the ball loose from a Charles City ball carrier with a jarring tackle. Belcher had 11 tackles to lead the Chargers’ defense. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

The Chargers’ first score was set up in the first quarter after the Panthers lost a fumble just 20 seconds into the game. Middlesex’s Ryheem Lockley scored on a 50-yard run to put MHS ahead 6-0. Middlesex went for a 2-point conversion and missed.

Middlesex increased the lead to 12-0 when Lockley scored again on a 28-yard run after the Panthers lost a fumble with 11:48 remaining in the second quarter. The MHS kicker missed the extra point.

Charles City came alive behind their cat-quick quarterback and began moving the ball down the field. The Panthers scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 7:23 remaining in the half. They missed the 2-point conversion so MHS led 12-6.

The Chargers came roaring back again as halfback JD Diggs scored on a 50-yard run with 3:40 remaining in the second quarter. Thomas Fisher kicked the extra point and MHS led 19-6.

It appeared the Panthers’ defense couldn’t stop the MHS offense, but the Chargers’ defense also was having trouble stopping Charles City.

The Panthers scored another touchdown before half-time to make the score 19-12 at intermission.

Lockley intercepted a pass in the 3rd quarter to stall a Panther drive. Lockley then scored from the one yard out and Fisher added the PAT, giving MHS a 26-12 lead. After this, the Chargers appeared to go into a run-the-clock-down type of offense.

Charles City scored a touchdown in the third quarter, and 18 points in the final quarter and overtime to edge the Chargers. Lockley scored Middlesex’s touchdown in overtime,

Diggs rushed for 138 yards against the Panthers to up his season total to 566 yards in four games.

Lockley rushed for 161 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. Andre Campbell had one carry for 11 yards and 3 catches for 68 yards.

Kyle Lawson had one carry for 6 yards, and caught a 6-yard pass from Lockley. Lawson also threw for 101 yards, completing 7 of 9 passes.

On defense, Zach Belcher led MHS with 11 tackles, Diggs had 7, Terry Reed 6, and Lockley and Brett Carter 5 tackles each. Dillon Powell, Thomas Fisher, Steve Skelton and Chance Mills had 4 tackles each.

The Chargers (2-2) will play at powerful Sussex Central (4-0), the state’s 3rd-ranked Group A team, this Friday, September 28, at 7 p.m.

posted 09.26.2012

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