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Essex overwhelms Chargers

by Larry S. Chowning

Middlesex’s Matt Duke (right) makes a block to spring Malcolm Ward (with ball) for a touchdown in Monday’s loss to Essex.  (Photo by Larry Chowning)
Essex High School showed Monday night why it is considered one of the top Group A football teams in the state. The Trojans thrashed the Middlesex Chargers 67-19.

Essex was ahead 42-0 at the end of the first quarter and 48-0 in the second quarter when MHS finally got on the scoreboard. Halfback Malcolm Ward scored on a five-yard run with 3:55 left in the first half for the Chargers. Tayvon Morning kicked the extra point to cut the Essex lead to 48-7.

The Trojans responded before halftime with another touchdown and extra point to make the score 55-7. With six seconds left in the half, Middlesex fumbled and Essex recovered to stop a potential scoring drive for the Chargers.

The mercy rule in high school football is that if a team is 40 or more points behind at halftime, the clock in the second half will only stop for a touchdown. This rule went into effect Monday night.

At the start of the second half, a bad handoff between Chuckie Morris and Ward resulted in a fumble and an Essex recovery. The Trojans were unable to capitalize and Middlesex took the ball over on downs.

With 3:42 in the third quarter and the clock rolling, Ward scored his second touchdown on a 22-yard run. The extra point kick was blocked and the score was 55-13.

Essex increased their lead to 61-13 with another TD, and on the first play after the ensuing kick-off, Middlesex fumbled and an Essex defender picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown and a 67-13 lead.

The final touchdown of the game came with 4:05 left in the fourth quarter when Ward scored his third touchdown of the night on a 18-yard run.

Ward rushed for 208 yards on 22 carries, scored 3 touchdowns, and fumbled 3 times. Ronnie Watkins rushed for 62 yards on 10 carries, Shawn Lee ran for 32 yards on 2 carries, Nigel Rich rushed for 21 yards on 3 carries, and Corey Keeling had 6 yards on one carry. 

Morris completed one pass for four yards and that was caught by Lee. Ward and Lee had excellent kick-off returns. Ward had four returns for 100 yards, and Lee had five returns for 71 yards.

Monday’s Middlesex loss to Essex was not the worst school history. The Middlesex Saxons lost to Powhatan 67-0 in 1967, and the Middlesex Chargers lost 72-7 to Appalachia in the Division 1 Group A state championship game in 1994.

The Chargers (0-4) will travel to the Eastern Shore Friday to take on Nandua at 7 p.m.

posted 10.02.2008

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