by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Coach Billy Jarvis, who once called plays for the Red Devils, brought his Chargers across the river to hand Lancaster its first home loss of the season last Friday, 28-14.
Injuries and cramps didn’t help Lancaster’s game plan but new head coach Draper Washington refuses to make excuses for his team’s loss.
“It was hard to get a rhythm going when you don’t have someone in there consistently,” he said. “We had Chris [Dameron] out and our other runners kept coming out with cramps after each run. When you’re first option goes down, then it was running back by committee.
“But I will not make excuses for why we didn’t finish the game,” he added. “I have to teach these kids it’s about what we do and don’t do. Jarvis had his kids well prepared. When they were third and long we had to get them off the field and we weren’t able to do that.”
Lancaster workhorse Chris Dameron managed 87 yards on eight carries in the first half before exiting the game just before halftime with a knee injury. He sat the bench the remainder, which left a void in the Devil backfield.
The score was knotted at 14-14 at the half. The Chargers found the zone on their first possession and Lancaster answered with the first of two Tafari Wall-to-Calvin Henderson connections. Wall hit Henderson on a 30-yard scoring pass with 8:40 to play in the first.
Middlesex converted a third and 15 with a huge 65-yard scoring run by Demetre South for a TD with three minutes left in the opening period. South cut left, broke two or three tackles, jumped a downed Devil defender then cut back across the field to sprint 30 more yards down the right sideline. Jack Ruark’s second PAT of the night lifted the visitors, 14-7.
Lancaster’s Darius Reed came up with a key interception at the LHS 35-yard line with eight minutes to play in the half and five plays later Wall hit Henderson on a 16-yard TD toss. Evan Steensma kicked his second PAT for the Devils to tie the game at 14-14.
A scoreless third quarter included a missed field goal by both teams and a Wall 6-yard TD run that was called back on a holding call on the Devils.
The Chargers scored on two short-yardage carries in the fourth and came up with two key defensive stands, forcing Lancaster to go three and out on back-to-back possessions.
“We have to do the basic things right. Block, tackle and not turn the ball over,” said Washington. “And we have to be consistent and keep a rhythm going on offense.”
Lancaster managed over 300 yards on offense with Wall completing 6-of-14 passes for 107 yards and two TDs. He hit Henderson for three catches for 60 yards and both scores.
Dameron led the ground game with 87 yards. Dereonta Redmond carried the ball only twice but gained 51 yards, while Tahlik Redmond had nine touches for 37 yards and Damarcus Doggett four carries for 35 yards.
Martez Davis, Adam Wilmore, BJ Lee and Henderson had six tackles each. Davis also had two sacks.
The Devils, now 1-2, will head to the Eastern Shore tomorrow, September 22, for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Nandua.