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Chargers rout debuting team

HAMPTON – In a strange environment against an unfamiliar opponent, the Isle of Wight Academy Chargers needed a wakeup call to snap out of their early-game daze against Hampton Christian School here Friday.

After the Warriors’ Thomas Shipman returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 6-6 early in the second quarter, the re-energized Chargers reeled off 45 unanswered points en route to a 51-12 thumping of the home team.

It was the first-ever meeting between the schools. Kickoff, originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m., was switched to 7 p.m. when Hampton Christian hauled in portable lights to illuminate the playing field. The hum of generators that powered the portable lighting drowned out the public-address system on the visitors’ side of the field. To make matters worse for Isle of Wight, the Chargers knew nothing about their opponent’s offensive and defensive schemes.

&uot;This was Hampton Christian’s first game,&uot; said Charger head coach Dale Chapman. &uot;They hadn’t even scrimmaged yet. We were a little bit worried, because we really didn’t know what they were going to run. It was our first time to play on this field. I told our kids that this is the least prepared we will ever be for a football game.&uot;

Once they got rolling, the Chargers, defending Virginia Independent Schools Division 3 state champion, were dominant. Isle of Wight limited the home team to 130 yards of offense, including just 31 in the first half.

Offensively, Isle of Wight piled up 278 yards, including 257 on the ground. Senior running back Kirk Smith led the way with 93 yards on 12 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown run for the Chargers’ first score midway of the first quarter. Junior running back Lance Moore added 73 yards on 13 carries, including touchdown runs of 16 yards and 1 yard. Junior quarterback Rusty Brake had 40 yards on seven carries and completed 3-of-4 passes for 21 yards. One of his completions was a 5-yard scoring strike to senior receiver Taylor Boyd with 4:57 left in the second quarter.

Brake also turned in a defensive gem, breaking up a lateral pass from Warrior quarterback Craig Hardy to running back Jerome Ambrose and returning the loose football 55 yards for a touchdown with 1:48 remaining before halftime.

The score, which put the visitors up 24-6, capped a crucial momentum swing that started two plays earlier when Charger cornerback J.D. Honeycutt ran down speedy Hampton Christian tailback Keenan Terry from behind after he’d broken into the open field on a trap play.

Terry appeared to be on his way to a 65-yard touchdown run when Honeycutt, a 5-foot-8 junior, closed a 10-yard gap and made a diving shoestring tackle at the Charger 18-yard line. Instead of the Warriors pulling within a touchdown, Brake’s subsequent touchdown gave the Chargers a comfortable 24-6 lead at halftime.

&uot;Last year in the (playoff) semifinals against Roanoke Catholic, there was one play just before halftime where I made a tackle at the 5-yard line (to save a touchdown), and then they missed a field goal that would have tied the game,&uot; Honeycutt said of his inspiration for chasing down Terry.

Honeycutt said he was timed this summer at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, &uot;but I think I go faster than that in a game.&uot;

&uot;He’s a tough kid, and he’s got good speed,&uot; Chapman said of Honeycutt.

Bruising junior fullback Styles Major had touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards for the Chargers, and backup tailback Marshall Nixon capped the visitors’ scoring with a 7-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Isle of Wight improved to 2-0 heading into a home game against Kenston Forest on Friday.

&uot;I’m really happy with my team and how they performed,&uot; Chapman said. &uot;I thought they really responded well.&uot;