Altavista rallies to top Chargers, 33-19

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Central High School varsity football team struck first Friday night, but host Altavista struck last, sending the Chargers home with a 33-19 season-opening loss.

“Our offense is struggling right now, and we have to find ways to move the football,” Central Head Coach Will Thomas said. “We limited turnovers, but still made some mistakes.”

Dashawn Moore helped give the Chargers a 7-0 lead in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run. The Colonels responded with touchdown runs of 10 and nine yards to hold a 14-7 advantage at halftime.

Central was the only team to score in the third quarter, making it a 1-point game when Moore scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run, but the Chargers could not convert the extra point.

Malcolm Brown gave Central a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.

The Chargers had seemingly positioned themselves for the win to start the year, but then Altavista’s Shyhiem Pannell helped change that story.

He returned the lead to the Colonels with a 45-yard touchdown run and later added a 39-yard scoring run, helping push the score to 27-19.

“Our defense played well, at times, but missed some assignments that led to some big plays for Altavista,” Thomas said.

To put the game out of reach, Pannell snagged an interception and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.

“Altavista’s defense played really well,” Thomas said.

Despite the loss, Central had some positives it can build on moving forward.

“Raymond Alexander and Kester Long had good games on both sides of the ball,” Thomas said.

On offense, Alexander recorded two receptions for 51 yards, and he led the Chargers on defense with 13 tackles.

Also bolstering Central’s defense was Daryl Jones with 11 tackles, Chris Fowler with nine tackles and Brown with eight tackles.

The Colonels did not have a perfect game, committing a couple of fumbles, but Thomas said his team was not able to capitalize on their mistakes.

The coach’s priority was clear as he prepares his team for its home opener this Friday against William Campbell.

“Our offense needs to get better in all ways, sustaining drives and getting big plays,” he said.

The Chargers managed to generate 232 yards on the ground against the Colonels, led by Moore, who gained 137 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. Brown had 12 carries for 63 yards and a score, Jones had five carries for 23 yards and Malik Foster had three carries for nine yards.

Jackson Dalton was 2-for-5 passing for 51 yards and an interception.

Kickoff for Friday’s game at Central is set for 7 p.m.