WASHINGTON — After a 4-0 start, the last two weeks have not been ideal for Ayden-Grifton.
The Chargers were doomed by five turnovers in a 37-12 loss to Washington on Friday. The Chargers (4-2, 0-2) were coming off of a 34-21 home loss to West Craven last week.
Paul Cornwell’s team has dealt with a number of injuries in the last week, but there were other factors that led to the Chargers second straight loss. Despite being down six starters, Ayden-Grifton hung around into the second half against Washington (6-1, 3-0).
“We’re banged up right now,” he said, “but there are no excuses. (Washington) deserves a lot of credit for playing a great game and we turned the ball over too many times. We’ve struggled in the last two weeks, but we have to get better as a team.”
Washington got on the board first with a 30-yard field goal from Ridge Zerniak on their opening possession. After a Chargers punt, the Pam Pack responded with a 13-play touchdown drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. Fullback Kris Hill plunged in from one yard out giving Washington a 10-0 lead with just over four minutes left in the first half.
The Chargers would find a very quick response as Quinton Mitchell took the ensuing kickoff to the Washington 4. Three plays later, Marlon Cannon’s 1-yard rushing touchdown cut the deficit to 10-6 with 3:08 left until halftime.
On Washington’s opening possession of the second half, the Pam Pack once again used the option to their advantage. Antwone Godley’s first of two rushing touchdowns from 12 yards out gave the Pam Pack a 16-6 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Chargers would respond with another Cannon rushing touchdown, but a 48-yard touchdown run by Godley made it 23-12 late in the third quarter.
Washington got three interceptions from cornerback Xzaivious Moore, which set the tone. In the fourth quarter, consecutive fumble return touchdowns by Khamari Rodman and Walt Gerard secured the win for the Pam Pack.
Washington running back Terry Moore ran effectively in the first half and finished with 146 yards rushing. The defense forced five turnovers and didn’t allow Ayden-Grifton to capitalize on good field possession throughout the night.
“I thought we played with a lot of effort,” Cornwell added, “but the number one thing we have to do better is take care of the football. All we can do is prepare for next weeks game against South Lenoir. This conference is really good and we’re getting teams best shot every week. Hopefully, we can get healthier over the next week.”
Ayden-Grifton travels to face South Lenoir next Friday night. Among other starters, the Chargers hope to get back standout defensive back Michael Webb IV and offensive lineman Vito Boyd back from their respective injuries.
Washington 37, Ayden-Grifton 12
NL 0 6 6 0 — 12
W 3 7 13 14 — 37
W — Ridge Zerniak 30 yard field goal, 8:52
W — Kris Hill 1 run (Zerniak kick), 4:21
AG — Marlon Cannon 2 run (kick failed), 3:08
W — Antwone Godley 12 run (kick blocked), 6:04
AG — Cannon 2 run (Run failed), 3:28
W — Godley 48 run (Zerniak kick), 1:54
W — Khamari Rodman fumble recovery in end zone (Zerniak kick), 2:03
W — Walt Gerard 40 fumble return (Zerniak kick), 30
First Downs 9 18
Rushes-yards 30-132 53-314
Passing 3-12-3 2-4-0
Passing yards 42 9
Total yards 174 323
Punts-avg. 3-21.7 5-37.2
Penalties 7-55 10-85
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-1
RUSHING— Ayden-Grifton: Marlon Cannon 18-54, Josh Wright 6-52, Tyler Brown 2-19, Nakeem Whitfield 2-5, Garth Connell 1-5, Rahmik Moore 1- -3. Washington: Terry Moore 23-146, Antwone Godley 11-76, Jaden Hambric 13-74, Mykel Warren 3-12, Kris Hill 2-6.
PASSING—Ayden-Grifton: Josh Wright 2-8-2, 33; Garth Connell 1-4-1, 9. Washington: Godley 2-4-0, 9.
RECEIVING—Ayden-Grifton: Quinton Mitchell 3-42. Washington: Hayden Anderson 1-5, Issac Roberson-Cooper 1-4.