In a disappointing debut for the Mathews High School varsity football team, the Blue Devils dropped a close contest to the visiting Middlesex Chargers on Friday night, 30-20.
It was a game of missed opportunities for both teams, starting with the opening kickoff. After sophomore Marshall Barrack pulled down an onside kick by teammate senior P.J. Johnson, Mathews appeared poised to take an early lead. But despite driving the ball deep into Charger territory, a field goal attempt went wide left; one of two missed field goals in the game for Mathews.
Fumbles also hurt Mathews, like the one that came later in the first quarter. Trailing 8-0, the Devils got a strong return from senior Deondre Foster to midfield. However, soon after a miscue on the snap gave the Chargers possession of the ball.
Mathews picked up its first score with 2:33 in the first half, with senior running back Dayshon Williamson carrying it in from 20 yards out. Senior Austin Fravel bulled through the center of the Middlesex line for the two-point conversion and the score stood tied at 8-8 as the teams left for halftime.
The Devils’ second score came midway through the third quarter. After Middlesex had gone ahead 16-8, Foster took the ball on a reverse, running it 62 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed and Middlesex held a narrow 16-14 lead.
Mathews took its only lead with about nine minutes left to play, as Fravel pushed through the Chargers’ defense for a 1-yard TD run. The extra point kick failed and Mathews held a four-point edge, 20-16.