Miscues and mishaps cost Darlington against Cheraw
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
Cheraw – If a win was determined by the resolve of a team, the ability to not quit and keep going no matter what is stacked against them, then the Darlington Falcons would have easily defeated the Cheraw Braves this past Friday in Cheraw.
Unfortunately that is not how football games are decided and while Darlington never threw in the towel, never quit trying, the combination of Falcon mistakes and Cheraw’s capitalization of those mistakes resulted in 51-19 loss.
“I thought we put our defense in some bad positions,” Darlington head coach John Jones said. “I thought we did some good things early. You can’t turn the ball over twice in their red zone and you can’t turn in over ten times, nine times, however many we turned it over, and that’s not counting the two punts. We can’t make mistakes at this level, especially against good football teams like Cheraw.”
Cheraw scored its first touchdown following a Falcons interception. Its second touchdown came after recovering a fumble and that was just in the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Braves struck for an 84-yard touchdown reception after a busted coverage in the secondary left the Cheraw wide receiver wide open for the easy score and it did not stop there.
Later in the second quarter, Darlington was lining up to punt, but the snap sailed over the Falcons’ punter’s head, letting Cheraw set up on the Falcon 24-yard line with just 2:56 left before half. Five plays later the Braves found the end zone again increasing their lead to 28-6.
Darlington had another special team blunder in the opening drive of the third quarter as Cheraw blocked the Falcons punt attempt after another high snap, returning it for a touchdown to go up 35-6 a minute and two seconds into the start of the second half.
“We had snapping issues with both and we have to fix that,” Jones said. “Sometimes it comes down to focus and sometimes it comes down to coaching.”
That blocked punt was just the beginning of miscues in the third quarter.
Midway through the quarter, Darlington fumbled deep in its own territory setting up a 34-yard field goal and 19 seconds later the Falcons fumbled again, mishandling a snap with Cheraw recovering and trotting into the end zone for the touchdown. By the time the third quarter ended, the Falcons were down 44-6.
It was in the fourth quarter, when Darlington could have easily mailed it in, that this young Falcons team showed the heart, the grit and determination that they really have.
On Cheraw’s opening drive of the fourth quarter the Falcons came up big with a forced fumble that Thorn Huntley recovered and returned for a touchdown and Darlington’s defense did not stop there.
The Falcons forced their second straight fumble on the next Cheraw possession and two plays later Javorius Williams ran in for a 26-yard touchdown, his second score of the game. Williams first came on a 49-yard scamper in the first quarter.
Darlington kept the momentum going in the fourth following Williams’ touchdown, blocking a punt of its own on Cheraw’s next possession.
Cheraw took the momentum right back, however, as the Braves picked quarterback Silas Barr, returning it back to the Falcons 11-yard line. Two plays later Cheraw was back in the end zone, this time for the last time, increasing its lead to 51-19.
The 32-point loss is definitely not how Darlington wanted to get the season started, but most believe that a team improves the most between week one and week two. When asked what the team is going to work on this week as it prepares for Wilson Jones had a real simple answer.