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Middlesex routs Blue Devils 46-28

by Larry S. Chowning

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Quarterback Chuckie Morris connects with Jeremy Rich.
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Jeremy Rich moves towards Mathews territory after catching the pass.
What a way to start a season!

Playing at arch-rival Mathews Friday night, the Middlesex High Chargers opened their season with a 46-28 victory in a non-district game.

Charger running backs rushed for a whopping 364 yards. Dale Smith paced the offense with 147 rushing yards, Markus Hammond added 60, Malcolm Holmes 48, and Jeremy Rich 45.

Middlesex charged ahead 32-6 in the first half. Avery Bundy scored the Chargers’ first touchdown of the 2009 season with a one-yard run after a 63-yard drive on 10 plays. Tayvon Morning kicked the extra point to give Middlesex a 7-0 lead.

Defensive lineman Scott Payne scored the second Charger TD when he intercepted a pass and ran it back 51 yards for a touchdown. 

Mathews countered with a 37-yard scoring drive to cut the Charger lead to 13-6 at the end of the first quarter.

The Chargers exploded on offense in the second quarter as Chris Baylor scored on a one-yard plunge. Baylor’s touchdown came after an 8-play, 62-yard drive.

Hammond threw a 63-yard TD pass to Matt Duke and Morning kicked the extra point. 

Chris Chamberlain scored on a 9-yard run to finish off the Chargers’ first half scoring.

In the third quarter, Smith ran the score up to 38-6 when he bulled his way into the end zone on a 40-yard touchdown run. 

The Blue Devils would not throw in the towel, however, as they scored the next three touchdowns to pull within 10 points at 38-28.

The Chargers’ final score came on a 60-yard run off a fake punt by Hammond. Smith ran for the 2-point conversion.

“We really dominated the first half on offense and defense,” said Middlesex coach Heath Cockerham. “After the last few years, it’ a great way to start. It shook out a lot of frustration that the kids have had.”

The Chargers are coming off a 1-9 season in 2008, so winning the first game of the season is special.

“We lost our wind in the second half,” said Cockerham.  “That’s when they came in and scored points. The game really never got out of control, but we know that’s something we have to improve upon.

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The Middlesex High offensive line (above right) opened big holes for its running backs, and the Charger defensive line held Mathews in check in the 46-28 Charger victory on Friday. Above, the left side of the offensive line includes Brandon Eanes, Corey Keeling and Jay Bryant. Not visible on the right side are Scott Payne, Ryan Burton and Jake Pender. Chuckie Morris (#6) is the quarterback. Morris completed a 35-yard pass to Jeremy Rich in the win.  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)
“Every single kid contributed to the win,” continued Cockerham.  “They have been playing together for the past three years and it’s finally coming together for them as a team.

“If we can reduce our penalties and work on conditioning, we are going to be tough this season,” he said.

In last week’s article, Ryan Dixson’s name was inadvertently omitted from the Middlesex preseason football story. Dixson broke his arm in the Football Jamboree, but is a strong junior wingback for the Chargers. “He’s a great kid and gives us 100 percent,” said Cockerham.  “We are going to miss him and are looking forward to his return.”

MHS will travel to Northumberland this Friday, September 11, at 7 p.m. to take on a strong Indians team playing in a new stadium, so they will want to win big time,” said Cockerham.

posted 09.09.2009

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