Penalties, turnovers impact Eagles

Eagle defenders swarm the Knights. | Millie Lambert

WINNSBORO – The Richard Winn Eagles hosted the Faith Christian School Knights on Friday, October 7 in Winnsboro. The contest marked Homecoming for the Eagles, and the week was filled with spirited activities to commemorate the occasion.

Seniors Jacob Chaisson, Connor Little, Kitt Nicholson, and Michael Poole represented the Eagles at midfield as captains. The Eagles won the coin toss and deferred possession to the second half.

The Knights scored first after the Eagles lost a takeaway when Drew Spires intercepted a pass from Knights quarterback Elijah Brown. A penalty negated the turnover and two plays later Brown ran the ball 46 yards on a QB keeper for the score. The Knights failed to complete the point after attempt, but took the lead, 6-0.

A short kickoff gave the Eagles excellent field position at the Knights’ 48 yard line, and Jacob Chaisson was effective on the ground, averaging 7.4 yards per carry during the first drive. Eagles quarterback Landon Caulder completed the drive by breaking the plane on a quarterback keeper to tie the game 6-6. Josh Tindall’s point-after kick was good and the Eagles were ahead 7-6.

The Knights would answer on the next drive, and a successful two-point conversion put them ahead 14-7.

The back and forth continued as the Eagles responded with a touchdown on another QB keeper by Caulder, and Tindall’s kick tied the game 14-14.

Faith Christian recovered Tindall’s onside kick at their own 49 yard line, and two runs by Knights running back Matterius Bell brought the ball to the Eagles 37. A 22 yard completion by Brown to wide receiver Omari Johnson put the Knights at the 15 yard line, leading to a Brown touchdown on a 14 yard run after evading tacklers in the backfield. Brown converted the point-after for two points, giving the Knights the lead, 22-14.

The Knights and Eagles would go scoreless through the rest of the first half, and the Eagles went into halftime down by eight.

The Eagles received the ball first in the second half and wasted no time getting into the endzone when Caulder found Chaisson open on a middle screen that was good for 25 yards and the score. The Eagles failed to complete the two point conversion, but brought the score to within two, 22-20.

The Knights would answer on the next drive as Will Watts hauled in Brown’s pass for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed after Brown fumbled the ball, but the Knights extended their lead to eight points.

On the next possession, the Eagles advanced to the Knights 15 yard line but progress stalled after Caulder threw an interception to Johnson who was tackled at the Knights 23 yard line.

The Eagle defense kept the Knights out of the endzone for the remainder of the game, forcing two punts and recording an interception before Rob Wilson scored the Eagles’ final touchdown. Wilson took the snap out of the wildcat and scampered across the goal line. Caulder’s attempt to convert two points was stifled by the Knights, leaving the Eagles down by two with 3:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Eagle defense again showed strength and determination, but a pair of first downs put the contest out of reach. On 3rd and Johnson made a diving catch to give the Knights a fresh set of downs. The Eagles answered the call, but on 4th down and 2, Brown gained the necessary yards for the first down. With less than a minute remaining, the Knights ran the ball on first down and knelt on second down to run out the clock, defeating the Eagles on Homecoming, 28-26.

Caulder completed 14 of 22 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Chaisson caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 56 yards on 12 carries. Caulder rushed for 21 yards and two touchdowns. Connor Little led the Eagle defense with 17 tackles, while Lawson Wade and Campbell Sims logged 12 apiece. Brice Clowney also recorded 10 tackles.

Eagles Head Coach Paul Brigman blamed the outcome on turnovers and penalties. “It was a tough loss. We had opportunities to take control of the game but just could not make the key play when we needed it. Turnovers and penalties ended up being the difference in the game.”

This is the third loss for the Eagles, but hope remains. “We still have region opportunities ahead of us,” Brigman said. “If we can play better I believe we still have an opportunity to finish strong and have a great season.”

FC – 14-8-6-0 – 28

RW – 14-0-6-6 – 26

First Quarter

FC – Elijah Brown 46 run (Brown run failed) – 9:28

RW – Landon Caulder 6 run (Tindall kick) – 5:28

FC – Bell run (Brown run) – 1:05

RW – Landon Caulder 2 run (Tindall kick) – 0:56

Second Quarter

FC – Elijah Brown 14 run (Brown run) – 10:56

Third Quarter

RW – Jacob Chaisson 25 pass from Landon Caulder (Rob Wilson run failed) – 9:09

FC – Will Watt 10 pass from Elijah Brown (Brown run failed) – 5:53

Fourth Quarter

RW – Rob Wilson 7 run (Caulder run failed) – 3:51

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