The Charlton County Indians’ frustrating season continued last Friday night as youth, inexperience, injuries, and other situations revealed their ugly head as they fell on the road to Wilcox County, 49-0.
With Najee Smith starting his first game at quarterback and Keith Harris making his first appearance in the backfield, the Indians received the opening kickoff and started from their own 25 yard line. Seaquan Clark picked up seven yards on first down, but Harris couldn’t find any running room the next two plays and the Tribe was forced to punt.
Starting from their own 40 yard line, Wilcox lost two yards on first down, but on second down they would break off a 58 yard scoring run. A two point conversion was good and less than three minutes into the game, the Indians trailed, 8-0.
Things would go from bad to worse on the Indians next drive, when on third down, Wilcox intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. Clark blocked the PAT and the Wilcox lead was 14-0.
On the next Indian drive they would fumble and Wilcox would scoop up the loose ball and return it 33 yards for yet another score. After the Indians were offside on the PAT kick, the Patriots ran in the two-point conversion for a 22-0 lead with over half of the first quarter left.
The Indians were able to pick up their initial first down on the next possession on a 13-yard run by Harris to get into Wilcox territory. But they would be forced to punt and Wilcox returned the punt for a score, but a block in the back saved the Indians.
The two teams would exchange punts as the first quarter came to a close and with the Patriots taking over after a short punt got a 33 yard scoring run ten seconds into the second quarter. The PAT was good and the Patriots led 29-0.
Charlton picked up a first down after a penalty and passes from Jaylen King to Harris and Kyler Williams moved the chains once again. Harris broke free for ten yards for a first down to the Wilcox 43. The drive would end on third down when Wilcox intercepted their second pass of the night.
Another exchange of punts left the ball at midfield for the Patriots. From there it would take six plays to find the end zone as they scored on a 21 yard run by the quarterback. The PAT was good and with three minutes left before the half Wilcox led 36-0.
But the bad things weren’t finished happening to the Indians. After a 12-yard pass from King to Clark got the ball near midfield the Patriots picked off another Indian pass and returned it 47 yards to paydirt. The PAT failed and with just 0:33 left in the half the Wilcox lead was 42-0.
Wilcox got the ball back to start the second half at their own 35 yard line. A 46-yard run moved the ball into Indian territory and two plays later they would score on a 32 yard run. The PAT was good and Wilcox led, 49-0.
Once again the Indians were forced to punt and Wilcox marched down to the four-yard line threatening to score once again. But a Wilcox fumble was recovered by Ryan Murrhee to end the drive.
Charlton was able to pick up a first down on a 12 yard run by King, but that would be it as time expired several plays later.
The Indians return home this Friday night for their homecoming game against Telfair County. Also prior to the game, the 1999 state championship team will be honored for their 20-year reunion.