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CHS falls short to Cougars, 20-19

Central High School’s varsity football team put itself in a position to take the lead late against host Nottoway High School on Saturday, Oct. 26, but the Cougars were able to hold on to a narrow advantage and improve to 6-2 with a 20-19 victory over the Chargers.

“We just came up a little short,” Central Head Coach Will Thomas said. “The boys played hard. We were really excited. We had a good week of practice. We really worked on defense a lot because we’ve given up a hundred points in the last two weeks, and man, they played better.”

The coach chuckled as he listed his estimate of 100 points, but he was being largely serious, as the Chargers had given up 94 points in their last two games, including the triple-overtime win against Amelia County High School.

Trailing 20-13 in the second half Saturday against Nottoway, Central got the ball back on the final play of the third quarter when Chargers sophomore defensive back Willie Owens grabbed an interception.

This turnover set up a Central drive capped by a 28-yard touchdown run from senior running back Daequan “Lee Man Lee” Lee, making the score 20- 19 with eight minutes, 40 seconds left in the game. Rather than aim for the tie with an extra point, the Chargers tried for a two-point conversion to go ahead, but the attempt was not successful.

“Looking back on it, probably shouldn’t have (gone for) that two-point conversion, but I probably would have done it again,” Thomas said. “I felt good about the play. It’s a good play that we usually (succeed with) … and they stopped it, and credit to them.”

Central’s defense did its job, forcing a punt that gave the Chargers the ball back on their own four-yard line with 5:32 to go.

Unfortunately, Lee left the game with an injury with 4:04 remaining. Central continued to move the ball, with strong runs by senior running back Darien Jones, but Jones ended up throwing an interception on a halfback pass, and Nottoway was able to run out the clock.

Lee finished with 22 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and senior quarterback Ben Anthony threw a touchdown pass to sophomore running back Nyjae Carter. On defense, senior lineman Shamond Sellers had 11 tackles.

Central (5-4) hosts Goochland High School on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.