BY MIKE RILEY
Two early touchdowns — one on the defensive side of the ball — made the difference as visiting Charlestown prevailed 14-0 on Friday at Silver Creek.
Playing in a consistent steady downpour from the game’s start until the finish made yardage a valuable commodity.
“The conditions were horrible,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said. “But I think they like to do some more things on the outside than we do — so [the weather] was probably to our benefit.”
After netting a minus-8 yards on its first series, Silver Creek (2-3, 1-3 MSC) punted, giving the ball to the Pirates on the Silver Creek 46-yard-line.
The power game of Charlestown (3-2, 3-1) looked as if it was going to be an advantage early versus the finesse game of the Dragons. Darren Taylor gained 11 yards on two carries to give the Pirates a first down.
Matt Myers then appeared to have a short gain when he broke some tackles just past the line of scrimmage to score on a 35-yard run. Taylor then ran for the 2-point conversion and the Pirates were up 8-0 less than four minuts into the game.
The Dragons’ next series was worse than their first as after Brooks Howell threw an incomplete pass, Austin Hasting fumbled and Jake Harper recovered for the Pirates and Charlestown appeared to be in good shape. The Silver Creek defense rose to the occasion, stopping the Pirates on fourth-and-5 from the 10.
Moments later it was 14-0 after Harper intercepted a Howell pass and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. Game over ... with three-and-a-half quarters left to play.
Yardage may as well have been gold. It was that very valuable.
“We didn’t shy away from the power game,” Hawkins said. “Darren hurt his shoulder on that 2-point conversion.”
The Dragons’ and coach Mike Donahue couldn’t have felt too bad at halftime. Disappointed, maybe, but how can you feel bad when you run 28 plays and only have two for positive yardage and still only be down 14-0?
Silver Creek got a break early in the third quarter when the Dragons’ Shawn Pezzullo recoverd a fumbled handoff on the Pirates’ second play, giving them the ball on the Charlestown 25.
But after three plays found the Dragons facing fourth-and-15, Brad Graham’s attempted option pass fell incomplete.
Charlestown threatened to score as the fourth quarter started with the ball in the red zone on the Dragons’ 20, but passes on third and fourth down by Chester fell incomplete.
Neither team had anything resembling a passing game. Chester was 1-of-3 for 8 yards with no interceptions.
Silver Creek played three quarterbacks. Bobby Haines started with Brooks Howell and Jake Meadors also seeing action. Combined they were 2-of-12 with three interceptions for 29 yards.
“Playing three quarterbacks wasn’t by plan,” Donahue said. “It was by necessity. And now we have two hurt.”
“Our defense played great tonight,” Hawkins said. “Harper’s interception — that was the difference. And I don’t know how many tackles he had, but he played a great game.”
“Our offense ... that’s the worst that I’ve ever seen them play,” said Donahue. “As far as our defense goes, I couldn’t be prouder.”
Charlestown will host Salem, which beat Clarksville 26-6 on Friday to improve to 3-2, next week. Silver Creek travels to face winless Clarksville.
CHARLESTOWN 14, SILVER CREEK 0
Silver Creek 0 0 0 0— 0
Charlestown 14 0 0 0—14
C — Matt Myers 35 run (Darren Taylor run), 8:16.
C — Jake Harper 15 interception return (kick failed), 5:12.
Silver Creek (2-12-29-3): Jake Meadors 1-7-32-1; Brooks Howell 1-4-minus-3-1, Bobby Haines 0-1-0-1, Graham 0-1-0-0.
Charlestown (1-3-8-0): Tristan Chester 1-3-8-0.
Silver Creek (3-minus 5): Howell 1-0, Brad Graham 2-minus 9, Haines 9-minus 11, Collins 6-minus 12.
Charlestown (50-130): Myers 8-59, Antonyo Gaddie 9-34, Taylor 14-26, Eli Daniel 2-5.
Silver Creek: Hasting 2-29.
Charlestown: Hunter Crace 1-8.