When the schedule makers two years ago set Chester County and Lexington for the final game of the season, they must have had in mind what has occurred the last two seasons. In 2017, Chester County went to Lexington with a chance to gain a home playoff berth and send Lexington on the road. The Eagles led for three periods, but faded in the fourth as the Tigers won the game and the region.
This season however, the teams met at Eagle Stadium in Henderson with even more at stake. The victor moved on to the post season, and loser packed up the equipment until next year. An emotional CCHS team came out on top this year, 21-12, and the bad blood between the rivals should get even hotter in 2019.
Following the game, Chester County Senior Peyton Doles stated the victory was “surreal,” and a special win. That was echoed by Chester County Head Coach Steven Robinson.
“It’s a special game for our seniors,” he said. “Not only for a playoff berth, but also it was against Lexington. So regardless of how the season has gone so far, it ended on a pretty good note.”
Offensively, Lexington actually had the upper hand with 247 yards passing and rushing, to only 208 for Chester County. However, 10 penalties against the Tigers for 100 yards directly led to at least one of the CCHS touchdowns, plus the visitors turned the ball over twice to only one giveaway by the Eagles.
The first Lexington giveaway, a fumble, occurred on the second offensive play of the game allowing Chester County to take over at the Tigers’ 22 yard line and they took advantage with a score, a one-yard plunge by Logan Denbow. Chester County’s last score came following the second half kick off, and kick off, and kick off …. when they were awarded the football at Lexington’s 45-yard line following repeated Tiger penalties. It took CCHS only two plays to add to its lead with Denbow galloping in from 39 yards out. Christian Williamson was perfect on all three PATs for the night.
The Eagles’ other TD came in the second period. Starting at its own 25-yard line, Chester County strung together a pair of first downs, but found itself staring at a fourth down at the Lexington 11 yard line. Eschewing the field goal try, CCHS head coach Steve Robinson instead had quarterback Jack Cagle throw a fade pass to Jusino Prather who beat his defender for the a touchdown.
Chester County converted eight times on 15 third downs while the Tigers made only four of 11. Also, Chester County made one of two tries on fourth down, and stopped Lexington on all four of its fourth down attempts.
Denbow had 124 yards rushing on 25 runs. Prather grabbed three passes for 19 yards and Tony Adams caught two for 39. In addition, Adams had five punts for a 38-yard average, but his biggest kick of 68 yards was called back on an unusual penalty. The re-kick was blocked by Mason Kizer of Lexington resulting in the only touchdown of the night for the Tigers.
Defensively, Doles was his usual dominating self with 13 tackles and two assists, with two tackles for loss. Jackson Thomas and brother Zach Thomas, as well as Kenzie Huddleson had four tackles each, and Zack Thomas had four assists and one TFL. Dalton Farley had three tackles and an interception which was nullified by penalty.
“I told the kids this week, we are starting right now 0-0,” said Robinson. “We are taking it week to week. You win you move on.”
Robinson concluded, “I told them, you have been more focused this week than any other week this season. I hope that mindset carries over.”
CCHS now faces Springfield on the road in the state playoffs first round. Game time in Springfield is 7 p.m. Friday.