Sprung loose: Chelsea’s Davin palmer runs wild in win over Benjamin Russell

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rising new 5A power Chelsea took down the Benjamin Russell Wildcats, 31-21 last Friday night in a contest with huge implications; keeping the Hornets undefeated and tied with the Briarwood Christian Lions in region play.

But this contest was no open and closed case. It had all the thrill of a suspense movie with turnovers leading to touchdowns and comeback after comeback by the guys in blue.

It was a contest the Hornets (4-0, 3-0) tried to give away with four first half fumbles leading to three Benjamin Russell touchdowns and spotting the visitors to 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

On the first play from scrimmage, a pitchout to standout running back Davin Palmer went awry and was recovered by the Wildcats at the Chelsea 22-yard line. A 2-yard run and point after touchdown with 8:06 left in the first quarter gave Benjamin Russell a 7-0 lead.

Following the kickoff, Palmer fumbled again. This time Auburn-bound Eltoro Freeman returned the fumble recovery 27 yards for a score. And with 7:48 remaining in the first quarter, the Wildcats added the PAT for a 14-0 lead as a stunned crowd of Chelsea fans looked on.

The situation was not unlike the previous week, however, when the Hornets found themselves down 14-points to John Carroll in a game they would come back to win in double overtime.

With 57 seconds left in the first quarter, Palmer and the Hornets would show signs of life and things to come when Palmer ripped 37 yards for a score. Matt Jordan&8217;s point after made it a 14-7 ballgame.

A third Palmer fumble would not lead to points, but his fourth was returned 30 yards for a score by the Wildcats. With the PAT good, the visitors led 21-7 with about three minutes left in the half.

This time the Hornets&8217; defense would rise to get a score of its own. With 30 second left in the first half, Zac Hilliard blocked a Benjamin Russell punt and recovered it for a touchdown. With the PAT by Jordan good, it was a 21-14 ball game.

&8220;It felt great. It turned over the whole game. That one play turned over the whole game. We knew it would come down to one play. That was the one play,&8221; said Hilliard following the contest.

Hilliard&8217;s punt block definitely gave the Hornets a lift going into the half. But the Hornets&8217; defense and offense would step up in the second half to take control of the ball game.

The Deuce would get loose for a 3-yard run to help tie the score at 21-21. Jordan would add a 25-yard field goal to put the Hornets ahead to stay 24-21. Palmer capped the night with a 54-yard TD run to help make the final 31-21 in favor of Chelsea, finishing the night with 216 yards on 17 carries. Austin Vinsant also had 10 carries for 83 yards for the Hornets.

&8220;I&8217;m proud of our kids not quitting… I&8217;m so proud of them coming out, not giving up and battling after we did everything we could wrong two weeks in a row,&8221; said Chelsea head football coach Wade Waldrop.

&8220;Early on, we felt we could move the ball on them. We just didn&8217;t do it. We were just shooting ourselves in the foot and fumbling,&8221; he said.

Waldrop concluded this win was a total team effort. &8220;I&8217;m so proud of our kids and glad to be 4-0,&8221; He said.

Chelsea will host Chilton County this Friday in a non-region match