Eagles’ defense shines in second win

Connor Little (1) and Jacob Chaisson make a tackle against Wardlaw. | Millie Lambert

JOHNSTON – Richard Winn captured their second victory of the season on Sept. 2, this time on the road against the Wardlaw Academy Patriots in Johnston, SC.

Looking to capitalize on their game one rout from a week ago, the Eagles wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Landon Caulder directed a 6-play, 68-yard drive to perfection when he connected with Drew Spires for a 27-yard touchdown. The point-after attempt was no good but the Eagles were up 6-0 with just 2:20 off the clock. The Eagles would score twice more, but Wardlaw would answer to within four points before both teams headed to the locker room to end the first half.

Eagles Head Coach Paul Brigman blamed poor execution for the tight game at halftime.

“We had too many missed pass opportunities, way too many penalties offensively, and did not handle the extra pressure they brought on our QB,” he said.

The Eagles ground attack proved formidable behind Jacob Chaisson, who rushed for 82 yards and 2 scores. Spires rushed for 21 yards. Caulder also rushed for 35 yards, and Charlie Bonds rounded out the ground game with 15 yards.

The Eagles’ offensive plan favored the ground game, with 22 rushing attempts netting 170 yards. The passing game was less effective, with 11 completions in 24 attempts netting 163 yards.

Despite difficulties in the passing game, Wilson received 5 passes for 80 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown from Charlie Bonds in the fourth quarter. Spires caught 4 balls for 95 yards and 3 scores. Caulder was just 9 of 22 passing, and was replaced in the third quarter by sophomore Charlie Bonds. Bonds completed 2 passes in 2 attempts, and converted two 2-point conversions to round out the Eagle scoring.

“We have 2 very good quarterbacks, so we will not hesitate to give Charlie a chance to change the momentum when necessary,” Brigman said.

The real story from Friday’s matchup was defense. Early in the 3rd quarter, the Patriots took the lead on a Caulder interception for a touchdown, putting the Patriots ahead 20-18. The Patriots defense stood strong in the red zone, shutting down the Eagles’ air attack and forcing four incomplete passes before getting the ball back on their own 15 yard line.

Jacob Chaisson took the Eagles on his back, disrupting the Patriots backfield with a tackle for loss and a sack that forced the Patriots to punt the ball back to the Eagles. Charlie Bonds found Spires wide open deep in enemy territory for a 41-yard touchdown pass, and the momentum shifted for good in the Eagles’ favor.

The Eagle defense held the Patriots to just 45 yards in the second half and 188 offensive yards overall. Patriots quarterback Colt Bailey was sacked 4 times, and the Eagles recorded 6 tackles for loss and 1 interception. Chaisson and Connor Little had 13 tackles and 1 sack each, Lawson Wade recorded 12 tackles with an interception, and Charlie Bonds and Travis Bonds both registered 11 tackles and 1 sack apiece. Campbell Sims charted 8 tackles, including 2 for loss.

Brigman praised the offensive and defensive play in the second half. “We regrouped our defense, and played a much cleaner game on the offensive side. Defense played much better in the 2nd half.”

The Eagles move to 2-0 as they prepare to host the Newberry Academy Eagles on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7:30pm at Ruff Field in Winnsboro.

Richard Winn – 12-6-14-8 – 40

Laurens Academy – 8-6-6-0 – 20

First Quarter

RWA – Drew Spires 27 pass from Landon Caulder (Tindall kick missed) – 9:40

RWA – Jacob Chaisson 39 run (Tindall kick missed) – 3:51

WA – Jesse Cleveland 58 run (Colt Bailey pass to Jesse Cleveland) – 1:48

Second Quarter

WA – Addison Faust 5 run (Jesse Cleveland run failed) – 8:22

RWA – Drew Spires 27 pass from Landon Caulder (Landon Caulder pass failed) – 2:28

Third Quarter

WA – 25 interception from Landon Caulder (Colt Bailey pass failed) – 8:42

RWA – Drew Spires 41 pass from Charlie Bonds (Charlie Bonds pass failed) – 3:17

RWA – Jacob Chaisson 10 run (Charlie Bonds run) – 2:12

Fourth Quarter

RWA – Rob Wilson 50 pass from Charlie Bonds (Charlie Bonds run) -10:25

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