Chargers top Eagles to improve to 5-4

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Central High School’s varsity football team was locked in a back-and-forth contest with visiting Prince Edward County High School on Tuesday, Oct. 23, through three quarters, but the Chargers pulled away in the final 13 minutes for a 36-22 victory.

The win puts Central (5-4) in position to secure a winning season Friday when it hosts Nottoway High School (5-4) at 7 p.m.

The Chargers and Eagles were facing off on a Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Michael, which had a major impact in the area and forced a flurry of rescheduling for high school athletic events.

Central Head Coach Will Thomas said his players played hard against the Eagles.

“I think we kind of wore them down, because, just like us, they’ve got a lot of guys playing both ways, playing offense and defense, and I think we just kept pounding them and pounding them and pounding them,” he said. “The DBs (defensive backs) and those wide receivers who play DBs, they were taking some shots, and they played well, they played tough, but I think we just wore them down. It definitely wasn’t easy, I can tell you that.”

With the game tied 14-14 at halftime, the Chargers and their trademark run game took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter. But then the Eagles responded through the air for a touchdown and on the ground for a two-point conversion after Central penalties made it more feasible, giving the visitors a 22-21 lead near the midpoint of the third quarter.

The Chargers drove down the field into Eagles territory, but then Prince Edward recovered a Central fumble, giving the Eagles the opportunity to build on their lead. However, the Chargers recovered a fumble on the very next play and finished their prior drive with a rushing touchdown and two-point conversion to make the score 29-22 with 6.9 seconds to go in the third.

Central’s defense held firm against Prince Edward’s athletic offensive attack, and junior running back T’zion Wilkerson helped put the game away with 4:59 to go when he ran for a 5-yard touchdown.

Wilkerson was three yards shy of giving the Chargers a historic tally of 100-yard rushers in a single game — three.

Junior running back Khalil Wood carried the ball 19 times for 167 yards and a touchdown, junior running back Darien Jones ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and Wilkerson had 17 carries for 97 yards and a score.

Junior defensive end Kawonte Ragsdale had an outstanding game, finishing with nine total tackles, including seven solo tackles, five or six tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.

Central senior center Dawson Bishop and senior defensive end Jackson Dalton stood out for playing effectively through illness.

Last week was technically the Chargers’ bye week, giving them at least some time after the game to rest up and prepare for a Nottoway squad that will also be aiming for a winning regular season.