The Champion Chargers completed an historic season for the football program as they held on against the Cedar Grove Saints for 14-6 win to capture the DCSD Trail to the Title Middle School Football Championship on Saturday at Adams Stadium.
Champion kick started the game when Milton Smith returned the opening kickoff 42 yards to the Cedar Grove 23 to set up a five-play drive to take the lead for good.
Channing Henderson’s 12 yard run got the Chargers down to the Saint 15-yard lined and a nine-yard run by Randy Smith set up a five-yard touchdown run by Milton Smith for the early go-ahead touchdown with 6:29 left in the first quarter. Henderson ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-0 in favor of the Chargers.
Champion pounced on the free ball on the ensuing kickoff and moved from the 38 to the Saints 28 as they appeared headed for a two-score lead. Cedar Grove had other plans as the defense bowed up and stopped the Chargers well short on a fourth and 12 pass to get the ball on downs.
The Saints used the momentum to put together a 10-play, 73-yard drive led by running back Demarcus Smith who had six carries for 46 yards in the drive. Boden Walker who contributed an 11-yard run in the long drive finished it off with a five-yard run to the end zone with 7:13 left in the first half. The two-point try was no good and the Chargers held on to an 8-6 advantage.
After an exchange of punts, Champion got the ball at the Saints’ 44-yard line with 2:55 left in the first. Wesley Brown got the drive off to a good start with runs of nine and three yards down to the 32 for another set of downs for the Chargers.
Milton Smith’s three-yard run moved the ball to the 22 and two plays later he went the final 21-yards for a lead increasing touchdown. The two-point play was no good and Champion took the 14-6 lead into the half.
It was a defensive battle especially in the second half as the Chargers allowed Cedar Grove just eight offensive plays and no first downs in the second half to preserve the 14-6 halftime lead.
Champion put together the only real drive of the second half beginning at the 1:16 mark of the third quarter. The Chargers would run 7:06 off the second half clock in the remaining 9:16 of the game with 10 plays that included driving inside the Cedar Grove 15.
The drive was almost thwarted on the second play as Cedar Grove picked up an apparent fumble at its own 36 and were racing for a touchdown. The play was blown dead and the runner was ruled down before the fumble to allow Champion to continue running time off the clock.
A holding call and tough defense by the Saints ended the drive and gave Cedar Grove one last opportunity to tie the game. Facing second and seven on their own 19 with the clock ticking below two-minutes the Saints had to go to the air.
Champion’s John Cineas then made the game preserving play as he stepped in front of the pass for the interception to end Cedar Grove’s last minute drive. The Chargers then ran out the final 1:24 to close out the victory.
Cedar Grove’s Demarcus Smith was named the Offensive MVP of the game with a game-high 57 yards rushing on 13 carries for the Saints who finished 8-1 on the season.
Champion defensive lineman Kyle Mosley was named the Defensive MVP of the game as he led the Charger’s defense that limited Cedar Grove to just five first downs and 102 yards of offense.
The 2019 Championship Game MVP honors went to Cedar Grove’s Milton Smith who had seven carries for 51 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
Champion completed an historic season of firsts for the program with its first region title, first undefeated regular season, first 9-0 record and first Trail to the Title championship.
See links below for final middle school standings and Trail to the Title History: