NOKESVILLE — Brentsville’s bruising fullback, Wes Basham, had been carrying Central-Lunenburg defenders all game long: Basham would burst through the line, get hit hard, and often rack up the YAC — yards after contact.
But on his final carry, Central’s defense did just enough to stop Basham.
Facing fourth down in overtime, six feet from the end zone, Basham took a quick handoff and was stopped, five feet after he passed the line of scrimmage. The margin was just enough to give the Chargers a 22-15 win over the Tigers in the first round of the Group A, Division 2, Region B playoffs on Friday night.
“He’s the workhorse,” said Tigers coach Dean Reedy. “If we were there again, I’d give it to him again.”
Little wonder, since Basham and the running game is at the heart of the Tiger offense. Although they moved the ball effectively for most of the game, they struggled as they neared Central’s goal line.
Brentsville was able to take advantage of opportunities: Aft er a Charger turnover in their own end in the first quarter, the Tigers worked their way to Central’s 1-yard line. Quarterback Sam Huff took the ball on a sneak and scored, giving Brentsville a 7-0 lead after the extra point. Central later scored on a 30-yard run by Damien Mears, but the extra point was no good.
But in only one other instance were the Tigers able to break into the Chargers’ red zone. The result of that trip allowed Brentsville to tie the game — but not after a bizarre play.
After Huff’s third-down pass fell incomplete on the Chargers’ 9, the Tigers’ Martin McLaughlin lined up for a field goal try. His kick never got more than three feet off the ground, and sailed into the line. After bouncing off a few players, the ball squirted to Central’s Ronteyvous Smith. Smith picked up the ball, and stopped in his tracks.
When there was no whistle to stop the play, Brentsville’s kicking team tackled Smith, pushing him into the end zone in the process. As Smith was falling, he tried to lateral the ball, but instead, the ball fell to the end zone. Brentsville’s Jake Englehart recovered the fumble for the touchdown.
“I’ve never seen that happen,” said Central coach Chippie Chappell, who is in his 27th season as the Chargers coach.
To tie the game, Brentsville went for two and Huff found Tommy Knoll for the conversion.
The Chargers had gone ahead on a score late in the first half — Peejay White scored from five yards out — and a 20-yard field goal from Robert Moore.
Both teams came within striking distance of the end zone after that, but an incomplete pass on fourth down stopped a Central drive while Huff was intercepted by Smith, ending a Brentsville chance.
In overtime, the Tigers elected to play defense first, but Tremaine Fowlkes was able to score on second down to put Central ahead. Brentsville tried to answer in its possession, with a 4-yard run by Basham and two runs by Huff getting the ball to the 2. That set up Basham’s run that was stopped just shy of the goal line.
With that stop, Brentsville’s season came to an end, but not after sharing the Bull Run District title and losing just twice in the regular season.
“It’s just my first year, but I don’t think I’ll ever top this group of kids. They’ve never given up since Aug. 12, and they’ve done everything I’ve asked of them,” said Reedy. “There may be teams with more talent, but I wouldn’t trade mine for anybody else’s.
“Kids like that don’t come around no more,” added Reedy, nodding towards the Tigers locker room. “They’re a dying breed.”