Charging Warriors halted in wildcard game

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The No. 4-seeded Suffolk Charging Warriors rallied in the second half of its wildcard playoff game against the No. 5 Virginia Swarm on Saturday but ultimately fell 18-14 at Kecoughtan High School.

Breakdowns on defense doomed Suffolk, while an inability to score early hurt it, as well.

“We had a really hard time stopping them on third downs. We were not disciplined enough,” Charging Warriors coach Jay Watkins said. “Offensively, we played a really bad first half where we didn’t produce any points.”

Email newsletter signup

The Swarm held a 12-0 lead at halftime, and the lead grew to 18-0 in the third quarter.

“We started out incredibly slow, but we’ve got fighters on the team,” Watkins said. “They grinded, made some good plays, got us back into the game. Our quarterback, Leonard Diggs, started to operate the offense at a high level.”

Diggs took the zero off the scoreboard for his team in the third quarter with a 43-yard scoring run.

“He ran a fake jet sweep, and then he ran right down the middle of the field,” Watkins said.

Middle linebacker Carlos Rodriguez forced a fumble in the fourth quarter that set up a productive drive for the Charging Warriors. Diggs capped it off with a three-yard touchdown run, making it a one-score game.

The Swarm had the ball with about four minutes and 20 seconds left, but they managed to convert third down after third down.

“We didn’t get the ball back,” Watkins said. “They ran out the clock.”

Suffolk finished with a 5-5 record in the Atlantic Coast Football Alliance, and as Watkins gave an appraisal of his team’s season, he recalled how it started, with the Virginia Warriors merging with the Suffolk Chargers.

“Overall, I believe that for two teams to come together as one and be able to finish at .500, finish as the fourth seed, I would have to consider it a success,” he said. “If we stick together, we’ll be just fine.”

He highlighted several players who helped make the team successful, including Diggs, running back Stephon Malone, middle linebacker Nickson Joseph, wide receiver Paul Taylor, cornerback/safety Neil McCoy, who led the team in interceptions, and safety Mark Granville, who provided leadership on the back end of the team’s defense.

“It’s really a lot of guys who had major contributions to the team,” Watkins said.

Key decisions will be forthcoming about what lies ahead for the Suffolk Charging Warriors.

“We’re going to meet up later on, and we’re going to talk about the future of the team,” Watkins said. “We look at this season as a success, so we’re going to sit down, put our minds together and figure out how we can be even better in the 2015 spring season.”