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Chargers’ ground game too much for Trojans on homecoming night

Hiram+Wadlington+runs+the+ball+against+the+Trojan+defense.+The+Chargers+went+on+to+beat+the+Trojans+31-13+in+Friday+night%27s+Homecoming+game.
Hiram Wadlington runs the ball against the Trojan defense. The Chargers went on to beat the Trojans 31-13 in Friday night's Homecoming game.

Hiram Wadlington runs the ball against the Trojan defense. The Chargers went on to beat the Trojans 31-13 in Friday night's Homecoming game.

Caroline Crews

Caroline Crews

Hiram Wadlington runs the ball against the Trojan defense. The Chargers went on to beat the Trojans 31-13 in Friday night's Homecoming game.

Jared Redding, Sports Editor

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OXFORD — The New Hope Trojans traveled about two hours north to Oxford to visit the Wonderful Wizard of Ox. The Chargers made sure that the Trojans left Bobby Holcomb Field empty handed on homecoming night.

The Oxford Chargers took care of business defeating the New Hope Trojans 31-13 to win their third straight region game.

“New Hope is a really, really good football team. We felt like coming in they were extremely talented, they did some things that were tough to defend on their offense. We hoped we could run the football going in and we did that really well. Our offensive line played outstanding and defensively we made a lot of plays,” head coach Chris Cutcliffe said about the win.

The offense for the Chargers was mostly defined by smash-mouth football, running the ball almost at will against the Trojans.

“We really liked our game plan, it kinda went against what we normally do. Normally we are four wide, three and four wide and tonight we come out with three tight ends. I thought our tight ends did really well, but all the credit in the world and I think Hiram [Wadlington] and Lance [Stewart] both would tell you, goes to those guys up front. They did a tremendous job all night long on assignments, they did a good job of preparation all week, and they gave us some huge running lanes all night long,” running backs coach Chris Baughman said about the run game.

In the passing game, John Reece McClure completed nine of his 14 pass attempts for 66 yards.

It has been a long while since two Chargers have ran for 100 plus yards in the same game, as a matter of fact, the Chargers accomplished that in the first half alone. Hiram Wadlington carried the ball 23 times for a career high 182 yards and three touchdowns, all of them coming in the first half. His backup, Lance Stewart carried the ball 15 times for 170 yards.

Freshman tight end J.J. Pegues led the Chargers in receiving with four catches and 32 yards.

The Chargers continue to impress on defense. In this game, they were able to keep a solid quarterback Thomas Stevens and a tall group of talented receivers in check.

“We thought that was going to be tough physically because they were so big and tall that they might just throw it up and let them run under it,” linebackers coach Bobby Sanders said about New Hope’s big group of receivers. “Our defensive backs played really, really well. The defensive line really got after the quarterback, he [Stevens] didn’t throw the ball real well when he was on the run and we kept him on the run most of the night.”

Quentin Wilfawn once again was able to get a whooping tackle total with 19 in this game. D.Q. Thomas and Jay Frierson each has eight tackles. Thomas was able to get Oxford’s lone takeaway with an interception on the very first play of the third quarter.

Extra Points

Turning Point:

It was a slow start for the Chargers on defense as the Trojans took advantage of good field position to start the game. New Hope quarterback Thomas Stevens kept the ball on an option play to draw first blood in the game with 5:27 in the first quarter. The Chargers responded with a drive that made it to Trojan territory that ended with a turnover on downs. The Chargers forced the Trojans to punt, and then the ground game really started to get cranked for Oxford. Lance Stewart broke loose for a 40 yard run and got tackled inside the five yard line. That play resulted in a Wadlington touchdown. Since that drive, the dynamic duo of Wadlington and Stewart could not be contained. Wadlington and Stewart ran wild against New Hope the rest of the night and the Chargers would later come away with a victory.

Playmaker:

The Chargers were able to run for 200 plus yards for the second consecutive week. The Chargers blew past last week’s total of 280 by running for a season high 350 in this game, thanks to the Wadlington-Stewart duo. Trojan defenders were having a hard time tackling Wadlington on his way to a three touchdown performance. Stewart was able to run for huge chunks of yardage. Stewart averaged 11 yards per carry.

“I give all the credit to the offensive line, pretty much everybody on offense because even the receivers were blocking their tail off,” Wadlington said about his performance.

Talking Point:

“We came out and competed to the fullest,” Stewart said. “We just knew it was a big game, we had to come out and show it.”

Notes:

  • At halftime, it was announced that Samya Clayton is the 2016 homecoming queen
  • McClure’s 66 yards passing in this game is the lowest passing yard total by an Oxford starting quarterback since 2011 when Parker Adamson threw for 12 yards in an overtime win against Saltillo
  • The Chargers will travel to Clarksdale to take on the Wildcats next game, Oxford can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Center Hill loss to Lake Cormorant

Contact Jared Redding at [email protected] or (662) 816-5733 or follow him on Twitter: @TheJaredRedding

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Chargers’ ground game too much for Trojans on homecoming night