Chargers storm to state title game
Published 10:31 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015
By James J. Lidington
Special to the News-Herald
It would be hard to blame Broadwater Academy for neglecting to check Isle of Wight Academy senior quarterback Bryce Casey on running plays given his negative rushing average.
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But Casey’s fancy footwork played a huge role in the Chargers’ 47-18 home victory over the Vikings on Friday in a Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division IV playoff semifinal — the Chargers’ first since 2012.
The win earned IWA a ticket to the state championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at IWA versus Roanoke Catholic High School. The Chargers last won a state title in 2007.
The Chargers’ lanky starting quarterback carried the ball five times for 20 yards — by far his highest rushing total of the season — and he scored twice on short runs and passed twice for touchdowns. He also played a part in a larger Isle of Wight rushing attack, which outgained Broadwater 355-225.
As in the meeting between the two teams earlier this season, a thin margin separated the clubs — 21-12 in favor of IWA — at halftime. And much as they did in the other game, the Chargers outscored the Vikings 26-6 in the second half.
Turnovers contributed to an early Broadwater advantage. A fumbled punt on the first Charger series in the game gave Broadwater the ball and it made good, scoring on an eight-play, 38-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Tyler Major.
The Chargers wasted no time in getting even. On their first play from scrimmage, senior running back Alec Edwards ran 44 yards for a touchdown. The ensuing extra point put the Chargers in the lead for good, 7-6.
After Broadwater’s next drive stalled, IWA got the ball at its own 32-yard line. A long run by Edwards set up a five-yard scoring dash by senior wide receiver Curtis Waters, who hurdled a clot of Broadwater defenders to find the corner of the end zone. Freshman kicker Tray Powell’s PAT kick made it 14-6.
The Vikings went three-and-out on their next drive, and IWA launched a 65-yard drive, capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Matt Byrd. Casey’s nifty footwork inside and outside of the pocket helped keep that play alive as he dodged Viking invaders and found Byrd on the run for the score.
Broadwater scored with 1:23 left before halftime to cut the Charger lead to 21-12. But a short kickoff gave IWA the ball back, and it was able to run out the clock.
The Chargers kept that momentum going after intermission, scoring touchdowns on four of their five second-half drives. Junior running back Donald King ran one in from 11 yards away, and Casey dashed in from five yards out as the Chargers took a 34-18 lead with 3:44 to go in the third quarter. Casey found junior backup quarterback Jordon Baines for a score and later ran in his second touchdown of the game to put IWA ahead 47-18.