Chargers land in playoffs

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Suffolk Chargers traveled to Richmond on Saturday and handed the host Venom a 14-0 loss in the penultimate game of the Atlantic Coast Football Alliance regular season.

“That win clinched the playoff spot,” Chargers head coach Tony Bateman said. “This week, we’re trying to clinch a home playoff game.”

Suffolk’s Kyshaun Merchant, recently installed as another threat at quarterback, got the Chargers on the board on Saturday with a touchdown pass of about 25 yards to Tarrell Lassiter in the first quarter. The scoring drive was set up by Kendrey Thurman interception.

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The Chargers held a 6-0 lead at halftime.

“Defensively, they had some issues running the ball against us,” Bateman said of the Venom, even though Suffolk’s defensive line has lost a few people.

Late in the third quarter, quarterback Walter Boykins, who has returned from an injury, scored on a 15-yard run, and a two-point conversion made it 14-0.

The Venom threatened with about four minutes remaining, but a Kevin Allen interception killed their chance.

Defensively, the Chargers thrived thanks to Cameron Collier, Daryl Greene and Floyd Clark, and Suffolk benefited from the return from injury of original starting inside linebacker Jake Williams.

Suffolk (4-4) is currently in a three-way tie for the No. 4 playoff seed with the Venom (4-4) and the Virginia Warriors (4-4), the Chargers’ opponent on Saturday. The Chargers can virtually sew up the No. 4 seed and a home playoff game with a victory.

Suffolk faced the Warriors earlier this season, falling 14-6 after a red zone interception in the final minute accounted for the final score. Bateman is anticipating another close contest.

“The Warriors coach and I have a very good relationship,” he said, noting they think a little differently on defense, but run very similar offenses.

Merchant and Boykins will alternate taking snaps during the game, leaving the Warriors to guess which one will throw and which will line up in the slot.

Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m. The game is free and open to the public at John F. Kennedy Middle School.

Bateman invited local football fans when he said, “If they want to see a home playoff game, come out and support us, and we’re going to try to get them one.”