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Panthers falter after fast start

WEST PORTSMOUTH — If at first you DO succeed, why can’t you keep it up?

The Chesapeake Panthers got off to a strong start, but it soon went south. A 16-0 lead vanished late in the second quarter and the Panthers ended up losing 45-22 Friday to the Portsmouth West Senators.

“We played real good defensively the first quarter, and our first score came too easy. After that it just got worse and worse,” said a befuddled Panthers coach Phil Davis.

“It’s strange. We can’t seem to play four quarters of football without making some huge mistakes.”

Portsmouth West (3-2) began its comeback behind a strong running game led by Dale Swords who had 204 yards on 16 carries.

Davis noted that Swords had several long runs among his total that were in part due to the Panthers’ defense.

“We missed a lot of tackles. They ran the fullback dive for 52, 65, 19, and 20 yards and it was because of missed tackles,” said Davis.

“They just kept breaking big runs on us and we contributed to us.

“But give (West) credit. They did what they had to do. They just kept coming at us.”

Chesapeake scored first on a 5-yard run by Aaron Donahoe. Alex Wells added the conversion for an 8-0 lead.

In the first quarter, the Panthers had a 70-yard run to the 10 nullified by a penalty. The defense held Sworts to no yards on three carries.

The lead jumped to 16-0 on a 60-yard pass play from Donahoe to Heath Hazlett. The duo also combined on the conversion.

Portsmouth West (3-2) began its comeback on a 2-yard run by Swords who also ran for the conversion and it was 16-8.

A 54-yard pass from Alfie Bricker to Travis Journey went for a touchdown and Bricker passed to Swords on the conversion to tie the game.

Swords burst through the Panthers’ defense on the first play of the second half for a 52-yard scoring run. He added the conversion and it was 24-16.

Chesapeake answered with a 34-yard scoring strike from Donahoe to Hazlett with 7:57 left in the quarter. The conversion run failed and West was clinging to a 24-22 lead.

But the Senators took over from that point and scored three unanswered touchdowns.

Bricker had an 11-yard scoring run at the end of the third quarter, and Mark Murphy had touchdown runs of 8 and 16 yards to seal the win.

Donahoe ran for 59 yards and passes for 102 as Chesapeake gained 259 total yards.

West had 404 total yards including 290 on the ground. Bricker was 3-of-6 for 113 yards and one interception.

Drew Blake had an interception for the Panthers.

Chesapeake8860=22

Ports. West0161514=45

First Quarter

Ch — Aaron Donahoe 5 run (Alex Wells run) 7:00

Second Quarter

CH — Heath Hazlett 60 pass from Aaron Donahoe (Hazlett pass from Donahoe) 3:30

PW — Dale Swords 2 run (Swords run) 4:28

PW — Travis Journey 54 pass from Alfie Bricker (Swords pass from Bricker) 2:23

Third Quarter

PW —Swords 52 run (Swords run) 11:42 first play

Ch — Hazlett 34 pass from Donahoe (run failed) 7:57

PW — Bricker 11 run (Ethan Morgan kick) 2:07

Fourth Quarter

PW — Mark Murphy 8 run (Murphy run) 10:49

PW — Murphy 16 run (kick failed) 8:46

—————

ChPW

First downs1214

Rushes-yards33-15734-291

Passing yards102113

Total yards259404

Cmp-Att-Int4-12-23-6-1

Fumbles-lost2-10-0

Penalties-yards6-304-30

Punts-average3-30.73-34.3

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Individual Leaders

RUSHING—Chesapeake: Wells 11-60, Aaron Ross 5-18, Blake 8-21, Donahoe 9-59; Ports. West: Dale Swords 16-204, Mark Murphy 8-58, Alfie Bricker 7-37.

PASSING—Chesapeake: Aaron Donahoe 4-12-2 102; Ports. West: Alfie Bricker 3-6-1 113.

RECEIVING—Chesapeake: Hazlett 2-94, Riley 1-11, Blake 1-minus 3; Ports. West: Travis Journey 1-54, Drew Piatt 1-7, Travis Perry 1-52.