Chargers top Pam Pack on historic night
On a historic night in Little Hollywood, the Ayden-Grifton Chargers made history.
The Chargers defeated Washington 24-15 in Eastern Carolina 2A action. The game had extra significance as the win cemented Paul Cornwell as the winningest coach in Ayden-Grifton history. (See story here: https://www.neusenews.com/index/2018/10/5/breaking-paul-cornwell-is-ayden-griftons-all-time-winningest-coach)
It was an ugly game for both teams. Washington had momentum-killing penalties including two that called touchdowns back. Ayden-Grifton turned the ball over four times. Still, the Chargers took the contest and improved to 4-2 overall, 1-0 in the EC2A.
A defensive stalemate was broken in the first quarter by the Chargers as a quarterback sneak by Blake McLawhorn on the 1-yard line gave Ayden-Grifton the first score of the game.
The Pam Pack drove down the field to open up the second quarter, but had to settle for a field goal as the Chargers held them on the 8-yard line.
“Our kids fought hard out there tonight,” Pam Pack coach Jon Blank said. “A couple of plays and penalties didn’t go our way and it got us. But Ayden played us really hard tonight. It was a great game by them.”
After the Pam Pack stuffed the Chargers on the 3-yard line, Washington struggled to advance the ball. On their third play, Jeff Darden drove up the middle and sacked the quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
“They messed up their own play and I saw a chance to sneak through,” Jeff Darden said. “I was excited to get a tackle and help the team out in a big way.”
Michael Webb took the ensuing kickoff 46 yards into Washington territory to give the Chargers the ball on the 21 yard line. That set up Ray Darden’s 21-yard run, assisted by his brother who helped him shake off several defenders.
“Ray’s been a leader all season for us,” Cornwell said. “He picked us up in a big way and made some hard runs for us tonight.”
Ka’ci Foreman of Washington intercepted a tipped ball to put the Pam Pack on the 38-yard line with three minutes to go in the half. The play set up a 1-yard reception by Hunter Hall to bring the score to 17-9.
Ray Darden would effectively shut the door on the Pam Pack with a 4-yard touchdown run with three minutes to play in the game. Washington scored another touchdown with an 8-yard pass to Hall with less than a minute to go, but it was too late to mount a comeback.
“The defense helped us out in a big way,” said Darden, who led all players with 161 yards and two touchdowns. “We had some challenges, but the defense picked us up and helped to shut down their momentum. That last drive was important for us. It was a clutch one for us to close this game out.”
Cornwell was pleased with the victory.
“We are 1-0 in conference play,” Cornwell said. “Now we have to focus on next week and go 2-0. You can’t win a conference championship by making the turnovers we made tonight. There are some things that we need to work on. But we’ll go back to practice and prepare and we are going to be better next week.
“I’m proud of the effort of our guys tonight. We had some rough spots, but they didn’t give up.”
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH Final
Washington 0 9 0 6 15
Ayden-Grifton 7 10 0 7 24
First Quarter Scoring
AG: Blake McLawhorn 1 yard run (Christian Hernandez kick good)
Second Quarter Scoring
W: Hunter Hall 25 yard field goal good
AG: Jeff Darden safety
AG: Ray Darden 21 yard run (Kevin Boomer 2pt conversion run good)
W: Hall 1 yard reception (Hall kicked no good)
Fourth Quarter Scoring
AG: Darden 4 yard touchdown (Hernandez kick good)
W: Hall 8 yard reception (2pt conversion run not good)
First Downs 13 13
Rushes-Yards 38-106 40-263
Passing-Attempts 10-22 2-5
Passing Yards 91 24
Total Yards 197 287
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-3
Penalties 6-57 1-10
Punt-Avg 3-152 3-127
Washington: Godley 10-84, Parker 9-52, Clark 13-49, Selby 4-18, Foreman 2-11
Ayden-Grifton: Darden 20-161, Cannon 5-34, McLawhorn 5-21, Boomer 6-16, Webb 3-15, Brown 1-15, Best 1-1
Washington: Godley 10-22 91
Ayden-Grifton: McLawhorn 2-5 24
Washington: Lawrence 3-53, Foreman 2-17, Selby 1-10, Hall 3-9, Barnes 1-4
Ayden-Grifton: Gunter 2-24