Chargers down rival Jags, 40-12
By Christopher Decker
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, September 14, 2019
For the fifth straight year, Ayden-Grifton claimed bragging rights over in-county rival Farmville Central, beating the Jaguars 40-12 at Farmville Central High School.
With the win, the Chargers moved to 3-0 on the season and improve their record against the Jaguars to 26-24. Farmville Central remains winless on the season with an 0-4 record.
Coming into the game, the Chargers had not given up an offensive touchdown, but surrendered two tonight. While Ayden-Grifton head coach Paul Cornwell was pleased to get a win, he said his team played sloppy for parts of the game, including losing two fumbles on handoffs.
"It was great to get a win. Farmville is a big rival so we were pleased with that," he said. "We are still a work in progress. I thought we did some good things but we still have things to work on. We have to work hard in practice and go in the ball game with a business attitude."
Ayden-Grifton senior wide receiver Michael Webb continued his hot start to the season, rushing for 117 yards on nine attempts for three touchdowns. He also came down with an interception in the second quarter that led to his third touchdown on the Chargers offensive possession.
"It feels good to start hot. Thank God for it and thank God for these players," Webb said. "We got to keep the momentum going. It is my last time playing them and it felt good to get a win in a big rivalry game."
The Chargers also saw improvements from junior quarterback Josh Wright, who complete four of his five passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown.
"Each week he is gaining confidence and gaining a better understanding of what we are trying to do," Cornwell said. "I thought tonight he delivered the ball where we wanted it to go."
While the offense struggled at times for Farmville Central, they did show explosiveness at times.
"We played with a lot of effort and a lot of heart," Jaguars head coach Eddie Rhodes said. "We just had a freaky turn of events."
Junior wide receiver Dantavious Short rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on nine attempts, including a 68-yard touchdown where he broke several tackles to reach the end zone.
"He's a great player. He has great heart and doesn't give up," Rhodes said.
Senior Richard Peterson finished the night with 56 yards on 19 attempts.
After forcing a punt on the Jaguars first possession, Webb cruised into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown on the Charger's first play from scrimmage, giving Ayden-Grifton a 7-0 lead.
"You gotta set the tone early and you gotta keep going. We fed off of each others energy," Webb said.
Farmville Central would turn the ball over on downs on the Chargers 34-yard line their next possession, but recovered a botched handoff in Chargers territory. Short scampered for a 33-yard touchdown four plays later, cutting the Charger lead to one.
The Chargers scored on their next two offensive possessions thanks to rushing touchdowns by Wright and Webb. With just over two minutes to go in the first half, Farmville Central drove the ball down to the Chargers 4-yard line with a chance to make it a one score game.
Short, however, fumbled and the fumble was recovered by Jeffrey Darden and returned 96-yards for a touchdown, making the game 27-6. Short responded with his 68-yard touchdown run, but that would be the final score of the night for Farmville Central.
"It was tough that he was the one who had to fumble the football there," Rhodes said. "That could have made it a new ball game."
Wright capped the first half off with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Keshawn Best and Ayden-Grifton carried a 33-12 lead into halftime. Webb scored his third touchdown on the opening possession of the second half to put the Chargers up 40-12.
The Chargers will host North Pitt on Sept. 20, their final game before conference play begins. Farmville Central will play their first road game of the season next week against Greene Central. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.