UPPER CHICHESTER >> Lahneir McBride got to the edge in a flash, and once he cut upfield, everyone at Chichester knew he was gone early in the second half of Saturday’s Del Val League game between Chichester and Chester.
The Chester speedster pulled away from everybody and high stepped for close to 30 yards before reaching the end zone. It should have been the finishing touches on the Eagles. Rather, it marked the turning point of Chichester’s 12-6 win over the Clippers.
A holding call on the play negated McBride’s big play, and he got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Facing a 1st-and-37, Chester mishandled the ensuing snap and both teams missed chances at recovering it before the ball was booted to the Clippers’ four-yard line, only to be recovered by Chichester.
Three plays later, Rashaad Shaw barrelled his way into the end zone. Prior to that, the Eagles had a whopping 10 yards of offense, but as soon as Shaw hit paydirt, it was clear that things were about to change.
“It was the difference-maker,” Chichester coach Ryan Smith said. “You go, ‘hey guys, all it takes is one (play) to change the momentum, and that was it. I think we were just able to finish from there.”
“It seemed like we were down the whole game, but that just shifted everything,” Shaw added. “The team played outstanding after that.”
The Eagles (4-4, 1-3 Del Val) could only go up after a dismal first-half offensive performance. Chichester had one first down, 21 yards of offense, 151 punting yards, 51 penalty yards and three turnovers in the initial two quarters. Shaw had carried the ball three times for seven yards and caught two Andrew Rodriguez passes for 22 yards, which merely served as a warmup.
Smith and the Eagles’ staff wisely emphasized getting Shaw the ball in the second half, which worked wonders. He carried the ball 10 times for 64 second-half yards and added two more catches for nine yards. When Chichester had the ball, it was going through Shaw, even if that meant moving the wide receiver to running back or Wildcat quarterback.
“At halftime, Coach told me it was time for me to take over, and I did,” Shaw said. “Whenever I need the ball, I’ll go to any position. Being one of the best players on the team, you’ve got to step up and do whatever you’ve got to do for the team. I’ll play any position for the team.”
When the Eagles desperately needed to make a play through the air, they got one. Rodriguez found tight end Cody Profitt up the seam from eight yards out on fourth down to give Chichester the lead with 7:26 to go. Later, the Clippers had a final drive to potentially tie the game, up, but Saeed Bradley strip-sacked Tahree Fuller-Bryan, with DJ McMaster recovering to seal Chester’s fate.
“I put that all on me,” Fuller-Bryan said. “That shouldn’t have happened. That was all on me.”
“I just had to keep my eyes on the QB and where the ball was,” Bradley said. “We were just able to flush the pocket.”
Chester’s Cahron Wilmore led all players with 95 rushing yards and the Clippers’ lone touchdown on 16 carries. His four-yard dart provided the first half’s only points.
Shaw finished with 104 yards on 17 total touches.
— Matt Chandik (@MChandik26) October 21, 2017
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