Big plays, defense spark Panthers upset of Falcons
Published 8:18 am Saturday, August 26, 2023
By RYAN WALKER
For The Ironton Tribune
CHESAPEAKE — A string of big plays in the second quarter and a tough defensive effort in the second half would be the difference as the Chesapeake Panthers upset the Minford Falcons 22-21 on Friday night.
“It was a super exciting win for our kids and our program,” said Chesapeake head coach Todd Knipp. “We’re gonna enjoy this one and move on to next week.”
The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead after a 50-yard punt return by Mason Book in the first quarter and a 5-yard touchdown romp by Jeffery Pica to begin the second quarter.
Pica lead the way for the Minford offense, finishing the night with 221 yards on 21 carries and two scores. He also caught one pass for nine yards.
But the rest of Falcon offense was held to just 16 yards.
“We knew coming in (Pica) was gonna get his and we tried to contain him as much as possible and try to limit everyone else around him.” said Knipp.
The momentum would begin to shift on Minford’s next offensive possession when Panthers’ cornerback Drew Plantz stepped in front of a pass thrown by Peyton Caudill and returned it 52 yards to cut the deficit to 14-6.
“Great play. He’s a great kid. He made the read,” said Knipp. “He slow played it like we told him to. He jumped the pass and put us back in the ballgame.”
Minford would answer though, as Pica would break away on a 63-yard run for his second score of the game. Myles Montgomery would add the extra point to give the Falcons a 21-6 advantage.
Chesapeake would use several big plays on their next possession to find the end zone.
The first would come from quarterback Jacob Harris on a 28-yard run to put the Panthers at midfield. Then Camron Shockley would dart his way past Minford defenders for a 34-yard touchdown run.
Harris would run it in for the two-point conversion and make the score 21-14 with 3:09 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers would be giving a golden opportunity just minutes later, as a bad snap went over the Minford punter’s head, giving the ball back to Chesapeake at the Falcon 39 with 1:20 remaining before halftime.
Four plays later, Harris would roll out and find a wide-open Ethan Kerns who would scamper into the end zone to make it 21-20.
Chesapeake would decide to go for the gambling two-point play and succeed as Harris would connect with Kerns again to give the Panthers a 22-21 edge at the half.
The second half would turn into a defensive struggle as neither team would exchange possessions.
After forcing a punt, the Falcons would get the ball back with 9:34 remaining in the game and methodically move down the field. All 12 plays would be on the ground, putting the ball at the Chesapeake 20 and facing a fourth down situation.
The Falcons decided to attempt a 37-yard field goal, but even though Montgomery had the distance, the ball sailed wide-left with 2:16 remaining in the game.
The Panthers were able to run the remaining time off the clock and secure the win.
Shockley lead all Panther rushers with 13 rushes for 85 yards. Fullback Phillip Thacker chipped in 71 yards on 14 carries.
Chesapeake will hit the road next Friday night as they face the Southern Tornadoes. Minford will host the Wellston Rockets.
Minford 7 14 0 0 = 21
Chesapeake 0 22 0 0 = 22
M — Mason Book 50 punt return (Myles Montgomery kick), 7:32.
M — Jeffery Pica 5 run (Myles Montgomery kick), 11:52.
C — Drew Plantz 52 interception return (kick failed), 9:49.
M — Jeffery Pica 63 run (Myles Montgomery kick), 6:12.
C — Camron Shockley 34 run (Jacob Harris run), 3:09.
C — Ethan Kerns 33 pass from Jacob Harris (Jacob Harris pass to Ethan Kerns), 0:34.
First downs 12 13
Rushes-yards 35-234 45-214
Passing yards 12 46
Total yards 246 260
Cmp-Att-Int 2-7-1 3-4-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 4-2
Penalties-yards 6-51.5 4-39
Punts-average 2-32.0 3-34.0
RUSHING–Chesapeake: Camron Shockley 13-85 TD, Dannie Maynard 3-9, Phillip Thacker 14-71, Jacob Harris 8-48, Andrew Daniels 4-14, Ethan Kerns 1-minus 9, Team 2-minus 4; Minford: Jeffery Pica 21-221 2TD, Peyton Caudill 10-29, Mason Bradley 3-minus 15, Brysen McQuate 1-minus 1.
PASSING–Chesapeake: Jacob Harris 2-3-0 34 TD, Drew Plantz 1-1-0 12; Minford: Peyton Caudill 2-7-1 12.
RECEIVING–Chesapeake: Dannie Maynard 1-12, Ethan Kerns 1-33 TD, Camron Shockley 1-1; Minford: Brysen McQuate 1-10, Jeffery Pica 1-9.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–Myles Montgomery, Minford, 37 (WL).