Chagrin Falls was down early, but, after scoring 21 unanswered points, the Tiger gridders were on the verge of posting a dub against perennial power Perry during a road clash last Thursday in Lake County. Chagrin has not defeated Perry since 2013.
But a couple of late shots to the foot led to the Chagrin gridders’ demise in their first loss of the 2020 season, 31-21. The Division IV Pirates (3-1) are four-time defending Chagrin Valley Conference champions.
Kickoff returns and kickoff coverages, in particular, weren’t the Tigers’ best suit. Perry 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior Jadynn Anderson returned the opening boot 95 yards to the house with just 12 ticks coming off the clock.
Later in the opening frame, Perry 6-foot sophomore defensive back Brian Cox intercepted a Chagrin pass, and Pirate 6-foot, 220-pound senior running back Jaylen Anderson answered on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 upper hand.
The Tigers (3-1) stopped the bleeding on 6-foot-4 junior kicker Andrew Kirkpatrick’s 40-yard field goal to cut the deficit, 14-3, with 2:04 remaining in the first quarter.
Chagrin Falls 140-pound senior running back Cam O’Connor, who had nine carries for 79 yards, then found paydirt on a 47-yard touchdown carry with 9:24 to go in the half, but the extra point was blocked for a 14-9 score at intermission.
The Tigers rode that momentum into the third quarter, with 6-foot-3 senior quarterback Dawson Pierce completing a 29-yard pass to 5-foot-11 senior receiver Owen Lewis down to the Pirate 40-yard line.
A few snaps later, 180-pound sophomore running back Donny Hardy scored a 16-yard touchdown on a third-down play, but the ensuing two-point try was no good and Chagrin retained a 15-14 lead with 8:57 to go in the quarter.
Chagrin 5-foot-8 senior defensive back Miguel Demastus then came up with an interception, and Hardy capitalized on a 7-yard touchdown run for a 21-14 Tiger lead with 4:35 to go in the third quarter. Hardy finished with 14 carries for 100 yards.
But then came some self-inflicted wounds for the Chagrin boys.
Perry answered 12 seconds later on a 65-yard touchdown jaunt by the elder Anderson to tie the game, 21-21.
The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, and, one play later, the younger Anderson caught a 22-yard touchdown toss from junior quarterback Jacob Caldwell with 4:05 left in the quarter.
What was a one-touchdown lead for Chagrin Falls 30 seconds earlier turned into a one-touchdown deficit.
Perry put the game to bed on 5-foot-7 sophomore Calvin Rowan’s 25-yard field goal with 7:20 to play for the eventual 31-21 final.
Overall, the Pirates outgained Chagrin, 331 yards to 249 yards, with the elder Anderson, a West Virginia University commit, getting 26 carries for 215 yards and three catches for 25 yards.
While the Tigers were without one of their lead defensive guys, 200-pound senior linebacker Josh Norton, they still held their own against a Perry team that has a 31-game win streak in the CVC.
Leading Chagrin’s defense, Pierce and fellow senior linebacker Owen McClintock tallied 17 tackles apiece, while junior defensive back Cole Ettinger racked up 14 tackles.
Simply put, the Orange gridders (0-2) were at an inferior level during a 48-12 road loss against the Division VI AP No. 8-ranked Wickliffe Blue Devils (4-0) last Thursday at Memorial Stadium in Lake County.
The Wickliffe boys built a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter behind a pair of hefty senior backs, 220-pounder Chase Fortkamp and 195-pounder Isaiah Bolon, and a dual-threat senior quarterback in 6-foot, 180-pounder Mason Bala.
Fortkamp punched in a pair of 2-yard carries, one out of the wildcat, while Bolon had a 9-yard touchdown run and Bala scored on a 42-yard keeper.
Orange’s offense found some rhythm with 5-foot-11 senior quarterback Zak Basharat completing a 26-yard touchdown toss to 6-foot-3 senior receiver Tyler Hoffman to cut the Lions’ deficit, 28-6, six seconds before the break.
Wickliffe went back to work in the third quarter with Bala picking up 52 yards on a keeper to set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Bolon, and then Fortkamp finding the end zone on a 33-yard run for a 41-6 Blue Devil lead with 5:12 remaining in the frame.
Fortkamp scored his fourth touchdown of the night on a 65-yard run for a 48-6 advantage with 7:10 left in the game. He finished with 11 carries for 127 yards, while Bala had 10 carries for 176 yards, and Bolon had six carries for 85 yards.
Orange’s Basharat scored on a 1-yard keeper during a running clock for the 48-12 final.
Wickliffe outgained Orange, 457 yards to 248 yards, with 405 yards rushing for the Blue Devils.
Basharat was 13-of-24 passing for 115 yards, with eight completions going to Hoffman for 102 yards, while Orange 190-pound senior running back Greg Beard had 26 carries for 116 yards.