The Mathews High School varsity football team let a 10-0 halftime lead slip away, as the Devils lost Friday night’s season opener to the visiting Middlesex Chargers, 27-23.
The Chargers’ potent rushing attack of J.D. Diggs and Ryheem Lockley eventually wore down the Blue Devils. The duo scored three rushing touchdowns, while Andre Campbell made a 55-yard TD reception to account for the visitors’ second-half scores. Lockley and Diggs also had touchdowns called back because of penalties.
Mathews, meanwhile, was led by juniors Deondre Foster and Dayshon Williamson. Foster, a wide receiver, had touchdown receptions of 27 and 46 yards, while Williamson provided much of the Devils’ ground game, including a 40-yard touchdown run.
Mathews was also aided by the placekicking of junior Glenn Musgrove, who nailed a 48-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
The Devils got off to a rocky start. After failing to get a first down on the team’s opening possession, an errant snap on the punt gave the Chargers the ball on the Mathews 24. It looked as though the Chargers would quickly convert the miscue into points, as Diggs ran the ball into the Mathews end zone. However, a holding penalty nullified the score. Later in the series, a Middlesex fumble gave Mathews the ball back on its own 2.
Mathews didn’t stay in the shadow of the end zone for long, as Williamson took the ball out to the Chargers’ 43 on the first play from scrimmage. Several penalties moved the ball closer, but the Devils were still faced with a fourth-and-long situation on the Middlesex 27.
That’s when quarterback Ryan Ewell connected with Foster on a 27-yard scoring strike. Musgrove’s PAT gave the Devils a 7-0 lead. Musgrove would add another three points a few minutes later, with a 48-yard field goal that had enough leg to go at least another five yards.
The Devils had another scoring opportunity in the first half slip through their fingers when Foster’s punt return for a touchdown was called back because of a penalty. Even so, Mathews went into halftime with a 10-0 lead.
In the second half, Middlesex made it on the scoreboard on a 65-yard drive that Diggs capped with an 18-yard TD run. About three minutes later, the Chargers took the lead on Campbell’s touchdown reception from QB Kyle Lawson.
Trailing 14-10, the Devils mounted their own 65-yard drive, with junior Jacob Green carrying several Middlesex players and the ball for a first down. Williamson followed that by scoring on a 40-yard run, but a miscue on the PAT attempt put the Devils’ lead at two, 16-14.
The see-saw battle then went the other way, with a 31-yard run by Diggs setting up Lockley’s 13-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, giving the Chargers a 20-16 edge.