Fourth-quarter rally leads Carver past Chelsea

Published 8:21 am Friday, September 7, 2018

By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter

BIRMINGHAM – A wild Thursday evening of football found the Chelsea Hornets 30 miles north of home in the confines of the Carver Rams to start play in 6A’s Region 5 on Sept. 7.

Three lead changes in the second half characterized this one as the Hornets took the Rams to the brink with a 24-13 lead seconds into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold on as a late push gave Carver (2-0, 1-0) the comeback win over Chelsea by a final score of 28-24.

The game certainly didn’t begin how it ended. Possession changed five times with no scoring before Chelsea drew first blood early in the second quarter courtesy of a 10-yard scamper from running back Vick Lindsey. The run ended a 13-play, 52-yard drive featuring a perfect 8-for-8 from quarterback Turner Griffin for 37 yards as the Hornets took the lead, 7-0.

It didn’t take long for the Rams to respond three plays later as Marcus Davis took a pass in the flat, bounced off two would be tacklers and raced 60 yards up the sideline. Carver opted to go for two but Kobe Gunn was stopped at the 1-yard line by Colby Clements leaving the lead in Chelsea’s possession.

The Hornets’ offense had one final chance before halftime starting at Carver’s 45-yard line. After two incompletions, Chelsea drew a pass interference giving them the ball and a fresh set of downs at the 30.

Working their way inside the 10-yard line Griffin saw Michael Gibbs streaking across the middle of the endzone and fired a pass that glanced off the receivers fingertips.

With four seconds remaining, the Hornets were forced to settle for a 28-yard field goal that Cooper Neal sent through the uprights for a 10-6 halftime lead.

The fireworks began in the second half as Chelsea was unable to move the ball coming out of the break. The ensuing punt was bobbled and ultimately fumbled by the Rams as the Hornets recovered at their own 49-yard line.

However, the tables turned just two plays later as a pass from Griffin was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell into the waiting hands of De’Quarious Carson.

The Carver coaches seized the opportunity to pull a trick play as Rayshon Goldthwaite took a lateral pass and fired a 36-yard pass of his own to put the Rams in the red zone.

Three runs from quarterback Matthew Young and the Rams all of a sudden took their first lead of the game at 13-10.

After a punt from each team during the next two possessions, Chelsea took over at their own 46. Lindsey was put to work reeling off four straight runs including a 31 yarder right up the gut to get Hornets back in the red zone.

Sophomore running back Collier Blair gashed the Rams up the middle again for a 10-yard touchdown to retake the lead, 17-13, with 3:33 left to go in the third quarter.

The Hornet defense struck next as senior Todd Justice broke through for a jarring sack of Young who fumbled into Chelsea’s hands. A return touchdown was called back due to a block-in-the-back penalty, but the momentum had swung and the Hornets still had the ball at the Carver 36.

Blair picked up where he left off rushing on six of the offense’s seven plays for 21 of his 40 yards on the night.

Griffin then took it in himself to give Chelsea their biggest lead of the game at 24-13.

Young and the Rams were down, but responded much like they did in the second and third quarters with a 9-play, 65-yard drive that saw Young account for every yard on the ground as well as the air.

His 15-yard touchdown pass to Deatrius Williams with 7:55 left in the game gave Carver plenty of time to pull the comeback. Young also ran in an important 2-point conversion to draw within three, 24-21.

The Rams’ defense locked in after that score, as the Hornets gained just 2 yards on three plays forcing a 23-yard punt that left Carver with decent field position at their own 42.

A tired Chelsea defense took the field again, but committed consecutive pass interference and late hit penalties to move the Rams inside the Hornets’ 30-yard line.

Two plays later, Young broke loose again for his biggest run of the night, a 25-yard dash to the Hornets’ 3-yard line. He took it in on the very next play for his second rushing touchdown of the night.

With five minutes remaining, the Hornets drove as far as the Rams’ 42-yard line after converting a fourth down attempt for the fourth time in the game, but a holding penalty and a subsequent sack put Chelsea far behind the sticks.

Griffin’s prayer two plays later was intercepted by Elgin Nabors, before Carver ran out the final seconds of the game to preserve the 48-24 comeback win.

Young finished 12-of-18 passing for 188 yards and also ran 10 times for 90 yards. Deatrius Williams caught five passes for 83 yards and Marcus Davis had three catches for 79 yards.

Griffin finished with 124 yards on 15-of-24 passing with two interceptions and a rushing touchdown. Lindsey led Chelsea on the ground with 80 yards rushing on 11 carries while also adding one reception for 15 yards. Blair finished with 40 yards on 13 carries and one catch for 24 yards.

Chelsea (0-3, 0-1) will try to get their first win of the season next week at Jackson-Olin High School where they’ll kickoff against the Mustangs at 7 p.m.