CHIPPEWA TWP., Pa. — After a first half filled with near misses and unfortunate breaks, Chartiers Valley made sure to strike early and often to open the second half.
Fueled by three touchdowns from Chartiers Valley senior wide receiver Lamont Payne to open the second half, CV jumped out to an early 21-7 lead in the third quarter and didn’t look back in route to a 28-13 victory over Blackhawk at Blackhawk Stadium Friday night.
The second half surge managed to be just enough to fuel Chartiers Valley to a win in a game full of major momentum swings for both squads.
Blackhawk appeared poised to strike first against Chartiers Valley, driving the length of the field to set up inside CV’s red zone. A deep shot from sophomore quarterback Alex Pritchard to senior wide receiver Lorenzo Jenkins for 31 yards got Blackhawk in position, but the drive amounted to nothing as Blackhawk kicker Devin Thomas sent a 29-yard field goal attempt wide.
Chartiers Valley senior quarterback Anthony Mackey carried the Colts on the ensuing drive, popping back-to-back first down runs to move the chains before he connected with senior wide receiver Abraham Ibrahim on a 31-yard strike just outside Blackhawk’s red zone. A few plays later, Mackey connected with senior wide receiver and Penn State commit Payne for a quick screen score from three yards out.
The tide appeared to be changing as Mackey got back in the action on defense, picking off a Pritchard deep shot immediately after the touchdown. However, Chartiers Valley was unable to find any rhythm, and that was just the break Blackhawk needed.
Set up on 3rd-and-2 at their own 39-yard line, Blackhawk senior fullback Tyler Dietterich bounced a run outside and raced down the sideline before being pushed out inside the Chartiers Valley red zone for a 51-yard gain.
A screen from Pritchard to Jenkins, with blockers out in front, a few plays later resulted in a diving touchdown for the Cougars and evened the score at seven apiece with just under six to go in the first half.
Another potential momentum swing for Chartiers Valley, in the form of a kickoff return touchdown from Mackey on the ensuing kickoff that was called back on a holding call, stung as the Colts were left on their own 10-yard line instead.
A penalty-ridden drive stalled out, and Blackhawk was given a chance to get some points on the board before half. However, another missed field goal from Thomas left the halftime score tied at seven.
After forcing a three and out on defense, Chartiers Valley drove from just across midfield into a second and goal situation from the 10-yard line. Mackey took the snap, swung a pass back to Ibrahim, and Ibrahim found Payne in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to open the half.
A nice play call on the score, but a better team effort to force the stop, earn advantageous field position and capitalize with a touchdown.
The momentum finally swinging Chartiers Valley’s way, the Colts defense swarmed Pritchard on 3rd down to force a punt. Two plays later, Mackey found Payne on a quick screen, and Payne did the rest in racing 56 yards to the house to stretch the lead to two touchdowns with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
Blackhawk bounced back on the third drive of the second half, Dietterich pounding the ball on the ground. A 33-yard rumble on 4th-and-2 extended the drive, and his two-yard plunge to open the fourth quarter capped it with a touchdown. However, a failed two point conversion left it an eight-point game.
Of course, Mackey and Payne connected again to answer back almost immediately, hooking up on a 31-yard strike to set up another promising drive. Yet in a game full of swings Mackey’s pass on second and goal ricocheted off a helmet and bounced high into the air. Blackhawk defenders swarmed the bounce and managed to come up with the interception.
A 4th-and-2 with just under 3:30 had a chance to move the chains, but a stopped screen from the Chartiers Valley defense turned the ball over on downs and allowed CV to salt the game away. For good measure, Mackey dashed into the end zone from 14 yards out to make it a two touchdown game late in the fourth quarter.
With the loss, Blackhawk falls to 2-4 on the season while Chartiers Valley improves to 4-2 with the victory.
Blackhawk and Chartiers Valley will both continue WPIAL Class-4A play next week, with Blackhawk playing away at Montour and Chartiers Valley hosting Aliquippa. Both games have kickoffs slated for 7 p.m. on Friday.