The Chargers won their first regular-season home game in four seasons Friday night.
Strawberry Crest’s homecoming game wasn’t a high-scoring affair, nor was it pretty. But the Chargers ensured it was the most important thing of all: successful.
Crest handed the Lennard Longhorns a 9-6 loss in Dover Friday night to bump its record up to 2-7 (1-5 district), thus locking in the school’s highest season win total since 2013. That year was also the last in which the Chargers won a regular-season game at home.
The first quarter featured a handful of near-misses by Crest. First there was almost a touchdown run by Zane Tapper early in the first, following a drive induced by Rio Oliver’s defensive interception, but it was called back on an offensive holding penalty. The ensuing 37-yard field goal attempt missed. Then there was a Jamar Hart punt return at the end of the quarter that was just shy of a touchdown, but Hart was tripped up and came down short.
Hart made up for it with 10:30 to go in the second quarter, catching a Jarrett Rappe pass in the end zone for the team’s first touchdown of October. Lennard was able to answer with a quick drive and a passing touchdown of its own at the 9:38 mark, but the Longhorns’ two-point conversion attempt was shut down.
Neither team could make anything happen again until the third quarter, when Crest’s defense took advantage of a handful of Lennard penalties and backed the Longhorns up deep in their own territory. One such penalty came as Lennard was preparing to punt from its own end zone, which resulted in a safety for Crest and set the score at 9-6 in the Chargers’ favor.
The rest of the third quarter was jam-packed with flags for false starts, personal fouls and other actions of unsportsmanlike conduct.
Lennard gained some momentum in the fourth quarter and was able to move downfield, briefly interrupted by a renegade rat in Crest’s defensive backfield that halted play until Kagan Lioy scooped it up and carried it off the field. With 4:33 left in the game, the Longhorns attempted what would have been the game-tying field goal from Crest’s 20-yard line. The try was no good and the Chargers recovered with the turnover on downs.
All Crest needed to do was run the ball and kill the clock. With some help from the flags, time ran out and the home team could finally say it got the job done in the end.
In other area action, Bloomingdale defeated Durant, 21-15, and Tampa Bay Tech picked up a 62-21 win over Plant City.