By John Burbridge email@example.com
MANCHESTER — Indication came early that there was going to be a whole lotta offense during Friday’s Class 3A-District 3 game featuring the Charles City Comets and the hosting West Delaware Hawks.
Just over a minute into the game, both teams found paydirt as the Comets quickly answered an 81-yard touchdown run from West Delaware sophomore running back Cael Meyer on the first play from scrimmage with a 34-yard keeper score from junior quarterback Marcus Cranshaw two plays into the ensuing possession.
The brisk scoring pace didn’t slow up much from there as both teams combined for 97 points — about the number of miles the Comets and their fans had to travel for a road game in their district.
But the Hawks accounted for a bulk of that scoring total as they soundly defeated the Comets, 69-28.
The result adjusted both teams’ records to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in their district. For West Delaware, the win snapped a four-game skid. For Charles City, it was the third loss in a row with one regular-season game remaining at Waverly-Shell Rock.
For any chance of at postseason play, the Comets would have likely had to win both of their final regular-season games. But injuries to key players late in the season — Charles City’s defensive secondary was bereft of most of its opening-game starters against West Delaware — have in part doomed the Comets’ chances.
Hawk quarterback Nick Casey threw for more than 200 yards through the air, and Meyer compiled more than 200 on the ground for West Delaware, which also benefited from immediate points after turnovers with Jordan Bries and Kieran Monaghan each returning fumbles for touchdowns respectively from 22 and 42 yards out.
Charles City sophomore Trever Heitz had 147 yards on 21 carries and scored from 2 yards out. With one more game remaining, Heitz needs 91 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
In his second game back after returning from a knee injury, senior Dylan Koresh had 126 yards of total offense from scrimmage — 74 rushing on just six carries, including a 40-yard TD run; and 53 receiving on two catches.
Cranshaw, who later scored from 5 yards out in the third quarter and currently leads the team with nine touchdowns, was 6 of 10 passing for 83 yards. Sophomore Jeremiah Chapman caught four of those passes for 51 yards.
In addition to the fumble-return touchdowns, West Delaware also capitalized on another Comet fumble for a short-field score capped by Jared Voss’s 3-yard run which — with Chad Bishop’s PAT kick … he was 9 of 10 for the night — capped the scoring with 6:44 left in regulation.
But a fourth Comet fumble deep in their own territory gave West Delaware a chance to add to its bludgeoning total late in the game as the Hawks soon had a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
But two straight solo stops at the point of attack by Comet senior defensive lineman Colton Baldus helped Charles City successfully make a goal-line stand.
WEST DELAWARE 69, CHARLES CITY 28
Scoring By Quarters
CHARLES CITY 7 14 7 0 — 28
WEST DELAWARE 21 28 6 14 — 69
WD — Cael Meyer 81-yard run (Chad Bishop kick), 11:46 1st
CC — Marcus Cranshaw 34-yard run (Kaleb Byers kick), 10:58 1st
WD — Gavin Soppe 50-yard pass from Nick Casey (Bishop kick), 6:44 1st
WD — Meyer 18-yard run (Bishop kick), 2:17 1st
CC — Trever Heitz 2-yard run (Byers kick), 10:09 2nd
WD — Meyer 2-yard run (Bishop kick), 6:52 2nd
WD — Logan Winn 38-yard pass from Casey (Bishop kick), 4:37 2nd
CC — Dylan Koresh 40-yard run (Byers kick), 1:49 2nd
WD — Winn 10-yard pass from Casey (Bishop kick), :14 2nd
WD — Jordan Bries 22-yard fumble return (Bishop kick), :00 2nd
WD — Soppe 16-yard run (Kick blocked), 6:21 3rd
CC — Cranshaw 5-yard run (Byers kick), 1:52 3rd
WD — Kieran Monaghan 42-yard fumble return (Bishop kick), 9:17 4th
WD — Jared Voss 3-yard run (Bishop kick), 6:30 4th
Charles City 4-4 (1-3 Class 3A-District 3)
West Delaware 4-4 (1-3 Class 3A-District 3)