Charger special teams 'kick' Manassas out of playoffs
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 5:02 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thanks to a great effort from their special teams and a clutch interception, the Westview Chargers escaped from Memphis with a thrilling 28-27 victory over the Manassas Tigers Friday night.
"We out-kicked them on the extra point contest. We got the two-point conversion play they ran and didn't have to run one ourselves. That's big," Westview head coach Don Coady noted. "They have really dangerous people returning kicks and punts. We really tried to do a good job this week of covering. I think, mostly, we did. We didn't give up any touchdowns in it; just some field position here and there."
The win advances Westview (7-4) to the second round of the TSSAA Class 3A playoffs where it will tangle with the host Camden Lions (10-1) at 7 on Friday night. Those same teams met in Week 3, when Camden's 27-12 win extended the WHS losing streak to four games to open the season. Since then, Westview has stretched together seven consecutive wins.
To earn that seventh win and snap Manassas' nine-game winning streak, the Chargers had to rally late in the fourth quarter and then come up with a defensive stop.
In a back-and-forth game, the teams came into the final quarter with the score tied at 21-all. Both defenses forced punts with the last one by Westview's Tanner Spencer covering 54 yards and switching field position to put the Tigers at their own 25.
The distance to the opposite end zone didn't matter to Manassas quarterback Will Redmond as he kept the ball to the left end, shook off one WHS tackler and then eluded another along the sideline racing 75 yards to paydirt. Redmond's long run gave Manassas a 27-21 lead with 5:38 remaining in one team's season.
Having had a point-after kick blocked in the first half, after the score, Manassas opted to try for a two-point run. Instead of Redmond keeping the ball or giving it to their workhorse running back Omar Williams, Antonio Parker got the handoff and was hauled down short of the end zone, leaving Westview just a TD and a point after kick away from retaking the lead.
"They're shaky on extra points. We'd already got the one early, and they probably thought if it came to a kicking contest they were going to lose the game, which it ultimately did," the Charger head coach noted.
Now trailing by a score, the Westview offense again benefitted from the Tigers' lack of a kicking game. Since Charger Abraham Haddad had averaged 32 yards per return on his three kickoff returns earlier in the game, Manassas booted an onside kick, which the Chargers recovered at their own 49.
Mixing runs with passes to cover the 51 yards, Westview kept the Tiger defense on its heels. After runs of five and four yards by DeMarcus Williams, Spencer twice found Matt Melton open for passes of 12 and 18 yards to move the chains. Fullback Chevy Taylor then ran off tackle for a dozen yards to set up first-and-goal at the MHS 9-yard line. Williams took care of business from there, blasting through the line for the score with 3:00 left in the fourth.
With the game on the line, Charger place-kicker Landon Prather came out on the field. Pressure kicks are nothing new to the junior whose PAT was the difference in Westview's 38-37 overtime win over Haywood in Week 9. With Spencer holding, Prather's kick was true, splitting the uprights and putting the Chargers in front 28-27.
WHS junior Abraham Haddad then got a helpful bounce on his kickoff to get the football into the end zone for his second touchback of the game.
The defense of the Blue and Gold now had to do its part. Starting at their own 20, the Tigers got a 22-yard gain on a draw by Redmond, followed by a five-yard pick-up by Parker. Redmond added a dozen yards on another draw to move the Tigers into WHS territory at the 41. Parker was knocked down near the line of scrimmage on first down, and a block in the back flag on the run pushed the line of scrimmage back to the Manassas 46.
That was when junior Tevin Evans came up with a huge play. Redmond eyed a Tiger target streaking down the right sideline. Evans moved into perfect position and out-jumped the taller receiver to haul in the game-changing interception and set off a celebration on the Westview sideline.
"(Evans) does a good job of recognizing where the quarterback is going to go with the ball. I was afraid their tall kid was going to jump over his back and take the ball away from him because he doesn't have a lot of height, but he's had several picks this year and played that play well," Coady said of his diminutive defensive back.
Taking over at their own 11, the Chargers got a clutch play from Spencer to convert a key third-and-three. The junior QB broke a tackle at the line and romped 32 yards before being hauled down to extend the WHS drive and dash any hopes the Tigers had of a comeback. After that it was a matter of taking a knee and running out the clock in the 28-27 Charger victory.
"We made plays when we had to in all three facets of the game," Coady commented.
It was Manassas who delivered the first blow in the game, taking the opening kickoff and marching 58 yards to paydirt. Redmond found Dexter Alexander for a 28-yard TD strike. Joshua Sills booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Westview answered. After Haddad's 31-yard kickoff return, Williams had runs of 12 and 15 yards sandwiched around a 23-yard Taylor run. Spencer followed a Williams block for a four-yard scoring run and Prather's kick tied the score.
Manassas responded with an 80-yard drive that was comprised of 11 runs, the final a 20-yard rumble by Deon Amos with Chargers draped on his back. Jake Vincent got a hand up to swat down Sills' point after kick to keep the Tiger lead at 13-7 with 11:05 left in the first half.
Next Haddad's 42-yard return put Westview in business at the Tiger 44. Williams capped the five-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. Prather's kick was again true for a 14-13 lead that stood at the halftime break.
Westview started the third with the ball and Williams scored again on a five-yarder to push the Charger lead to 21-13.
On their first drive of the second half, the Tigers scored on a 32-yard Williams run. Redmond hit Jataime Wiggins in the end zone for the two-pointer to even the score at 21-all with 4:05 left in the third quarter.
TSSAA First Round Class 3A
Westview 7 7 7 7—28
Manassas 7 6 8 6—27
MHS — Dexter Alexander 28 pass from Will Redmond, (Joshua Sills kick), 8:11.
WHS — Tanner Spencer 4 run, (Landon Prather kick), 5:48.
MHS — Deon Amos 20 run, (kick blocked), 11:05.
WHS — DeMarcus Williams 14 run, (Prather kick), 8:34.
WHS — Williams 5 run, (Prather kick), 7:24.
MHS — Omar Williams 32 run, (Jataime Wiggins pass from Redmond), 4:05.
MHS — Redmond 75 run, (run failed), 5:38.
WHS — Williams 9 run, (Prather kick), 3:00.
First Downs 16 20
Rushes-yards 36-223 42-352
Passing yards 186 58
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-0 3-9-1
Punts 4-37.8 2-44
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-50 5-30
Rushing — Westview, DeMarcus Williams 18-100, Chevy Taylor 9-70, Tanner Spencer 9-53; Manassas, Will Redmond 11-164, Omar Williams 26-152, Deon Amos 3-29, Antonio Parker 1-5, Terrance Oliver 1-2.
Passing — Westview, Spencer 4-9-0 59; Manassas, Redmond 3-9-1 83.
Receiving — Westview, Matt Melton 2-30, Mark Tucker 2-29; Manassas, Jataimi Wiggins 1-49, Dexter Alexander 1-28, Parker 1-6.
Records — Westview 7-4, Manassas 9-2.
Next Game — Westview will visit Camden in the second round of the TSSAA Class 3A playoffs with kickoff at 7 on Friday night, while the season ends for Manassas.