The Chargers fall to 4-3 on the year in a close 34-30 defeat.
Friday night lights had more implications surrounding the team and school than usual as this was Strawberry Crest’s Homecoming night. The Chargers entered this game with a 4-2 record, 2-1 when home and 2-1 when away. They put the teams 1-0 record in October on the line and when comparing Crest’s offense and defense this season, the numbers are similar on seasonal averages. The offense is scoring 22 points per game, while the defense is allowing 19 points per game.
As for the Alonso Ravens, they entered Friday’s game with a 5-2 record, 2-2 at home, and arrived at Strawberry Crest with an undefeated 3-0 record away. Alonso’s points scored per game and points against were both higher than the Chargers entering Friday’s game, scoring 33.2 points per game, while allowing 26.1 points per game. Alonso really needed to get back in the win column as they started the season 5-0, but dropped the last two, allowing a total of 95 points in that span.
The game started with Alonso winning the coin toss and deferring to Crest. The offense was powered by Devin Blunt on the opening drive. He picked a nice gain on a rush attempt on a 3rd down for the Chargers and ultimately scored the first touchdown of the game on that drive. The Ravens responded nicely as they slowly but efficiently moved down the field, capped off by a rushing touchdown by Dontrell Issac.
Both defenses settled in on the next possessions as Alonso forced a three and out by the Chargers and then Alonso’s following offensive drive was halted by a sack from Didier Godonou Dossou. The first quarter ended 7-7.
Alonso started the second quarter at Crest’s 40 and quickly got inside the Charger’s 5-yard line, much to do with the rushing ability of QB Joseph Glennon. He then finished what he started with a QB sneak at the one-yard line for an Alonso touchdown. They then led 14-7 with 10:39 left in the half.
Things were looking good for the Chargers on the following drive with a nice kick return to the 30-yard line and then an Alonso penalty pushed the Chargers to midfield, but the momentum shifted as the Chargers fumbled and Alonso recovered.
Alonso wasted no time as Cole Herbig had multiple catches that drove them down the field, increasing Alonso’s lead to 20-7 as Crest blocked the extra point attempt.
With the Chargers being down multiple possessions, they put the ball in the hands of Devin Blunt once again and he delivered, capping off multiple big runs on this drive, ultimately scoring his second touchdown of the game, cutting the deficit to 20-14.
The Charger’s defense matched the energy by the offense, stopping the Ravens and the big stop of that drive was a sack by Jace Eldridge. This forced a punt, and the long snapper hiked it over the punter’s head, causing a safety making the score 20-16 Alonso at halftime.
The second half started with Alonso hot on offense. They mostly attacked through the air, quick throw after quick throw with some impressive yards after each catch. It was all for nothing though as Devin Blunt got the interception for Crest in the end zone.
The Chargers didn’t do much with their first offensive possession of the second half, punting after picking up a couple of 1st downs. Special teams continued to haunt Alonso as the returner dropped the catch and Crest took over in Alonso territory.
Being so close, they executed successful running plays with Devin Blunt and Rodney Addison, and Blunt scored his third touchdown of the game. The score at this point is 23-20 in favor of Strawberry Crest and the first lead for the Chargers since the first quarter.
The very next drive, the momentum stayed with the home team as Abe Craig got a pick 6 for the Chargers, extending the teams lead 30-20.
Alonso had the ball to start the 4th quarter and they immediately met a challenge as they had a 4th down in their own territory. Instead of running a short distance first down, they opted to pass, and it caught Crest off guard as the pass took them into Charger territory. Following the big play, Crest committed a penalty, leading Alonso to find the end zone off a passing touchdown, making the game 30-27 Crest with 8:57 left.
The Chargers offense didn’t give its defense time to catch a breath as an offensive penalty and sack allowed forced a three and out for Crest. The Chargers had to punt, and Alonso took over around the Chargers 30-yard line.
They slowly moved the ball and scored once again, regaining the lead 34-30 with 4:42 left. An Alonso encroachment penalty gave the Chargers some free yards to start the drive, then after moving down the field on short yard plays, Devin Blunt once again rips off another big run, moving Crest into Alonso territory. The Charger’s drive was stopped by an interception at Alonso’s 2-yard line. At this point in the game, Alonso is up and had to chew 1:57 off the clock to end the game. It all came down to a third and 5 for Alonso at the Crest 7-yard line.
Alonso QB Joseph Glennon once again put his legs on display with a big run to midfield. After a couple of kneels, the game was over with the final score being 34-30 in favor of Alonso.
Strawberry Crest, now 4-3, heads into next week for an away game vs the Riverview Sharks, while Alonso, now 6-2, remains undefeated on the road and will travel to Plant to take on the Panthers.