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Late drive lifts Chargers over Mavericks in quarterfinals

Jared Redding

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OXFORD – With just under three minutes left in the game, it seemed like the clock was ticking on Johnny Hill’s long coaching career. His senior-laden offense made sure to extend his career at least another week.

A last minute touchdown kept the Chargers’ state title hopes alive, allowing them to prevail over the Germantown Mavericks, 40-33, in a MHSAA Class 5A quarterifinals playoff contest.  

“I couldn’t let this be Coach Hill’s or our seniors’ last game,” Hiram Wadlington said.

Similar to the Madison Central game earlier in the year, the Chargers had a shot to win it late in the game.  This time, though, the Chargers (11-2) finished the game off with a win.

“We’ve been there before with Madison Central and Laurel,” said senior standout D.K. Metcalf.  “We’ve been through adversity through the past three years and we just came out knowing what we had to do and just executed.”

Said tight ends coach Logan Dodson, “We pulled everyone to the side and said, ‘Look, 2:48 is an eternity to us, just play within yourself.’”

The Chargers scored 40 or more points for the eighth time this season.  Hill thought his offensive coordinator and son Stan Hill struck gold this game.

“Stan called an unbelievable ball game; it might be the best game he has called since he has been coaching here,” Hill said.

The Chargers did their best impression of the NFL’s New England Patriots by the way they moved the ball, especially late in the game.  Playing Tom Brady’s role was Jack Abraham.

Abraham completed 26 of his 41 passes for 400 yards and threw for five touchdowns.  Four of his touchdown passes were to Metcalf, who also finished with nine catches for 120 yards.

Jimmy Greaser finished with five catches and 132 yards.  Ken Presley finished with four catches, 70 yards receiving, and an 8-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.

Wadlington had a career game in the last game against Vicksburg, getting 151 yards rushing.  While he didn’t quite get that total in this game, he ran the ball very well when it mattered most.  Wadlington finished with 18 carries, 129 yards, and a 3-yard touchdown that drew first blood in the ball game.

“As the game went on, I progressed and when the ball came my way, I tried to make as many plays as I can,” Wadlington said.

The Chargers’ defense started the game on fire, forcing a turnover-on-downs, a punt, and a fumble on the Mavericks first three offensive possessions.  All of the sudden things began to shift, as the Mavericks scored 20 points on their next four possessions after their slow start.  Sure offense brings the fans, but defense wins ball games and the Chargers won the ballgame at the very end.

“As we were doing good, we kind of laid off, but we had to pick it right back up,” Devin Rockette said about the 20-point offensive run for the Mavericks.

“That’s the best we’ve played, maybe all year,” Hill said about his defense.

Jack Turner led the way defensively with 15 tackles.  Dee Fair, Devin Rockette and D.T. Thompson all had 10 tackles.  Kent Hickinbottm, Brandon Hill and Jacquez Neilson each had a sack.

Early in the game, D.Q. Thomas recovered the Mavericks’ only fumble.  Star receiver Metcalf was needed on defense to preserve their victory late in the game.  Metcalf did just that with an interception.

Extra Points

Turning Point:

The Chargers were always one step ahead of the Mavericks for the majority of the game.  The Chargers forced a turnover-on-downs with 5:25 left in the game with a 32-27 lead.  All that the Chargers had to do was to either run out the clock or score a touchdown to ice the game.  The Chargers moved down the field effortlessly until they found themselves near the goal line.  On third-and-19, Abraham threw a high pass to Metcalf who tipped the ball and it was picked off by Germantown’s Nigel Knott.  Knott then raced 80 yards the other way for a pick-six to give his team their first lead of the ballgame.  The score was then 33-32 with 2:48 left on the clock.

Playmaker:

In a drooling matchup between Germantown’s Knott and Oxford’s Metcalf, Metcalf reigned supreme when it was all said and done.  Metcalf finished the game with the game-winning score with 31 seconds left and an interception with 8 seconds left, ending the Mavericks’ season.  

Talking Point:

“I’m awful proud of these guys of their never-say-quit attitude,” said Hill.  “They never poked their lip out, they never dropped their head.”

Notes:

  • Future Ole Miss quarterback and top notch prospect Shea Patterson was in attendance.

  • Next week, the Chargers will host the West Point Green Wave in a rematch to see who will move on to the MHSAA Class 5A state championship game.

  • Next week’s game will be the Chargers’ third straight state semifinals appearance.  The Chargers outscored their opponents in those games by a combined score of 71-14.

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Late drive lifts Chargers over Mavericks in quarterfinals