The Charleston Tigers made the long trip to Prescott on Friday for a first round state playoff game against the number one seed Curley Wolves. In a game that started out well for the Tigers and ended with mistakes and turnovers that have hurt Charleston all year, the same was true on Friday night as Prescott scored often and late after the game had been decided. Prescott advances to the second round of the state playoffs with a 49-7 win over Charleston.
The Tigers capitalized on a Prescott fumble in the first quarter. The Tigers rushing attack produced a touchdown early and Charleston jumped out to a first quarter 7-0 lead. The Curley Wolves responded with its own rushing game and scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter. Late in the second quarter, the Charleston offense marched down to inside of five yards from the goal line. Quarterback Brayden Ross scored on a quarterback keeper up the middle for seemingly a Tigers touchdown. The score was nullified by a penalty against Charleston. On fourth down, Ross’s pass to the corner of the end zone was completed for what was thought to be yet another touchdown, but the receiver was ruled out of bounds. The possession was significant to the Tigers; it was the difference in being down seven points rather than 14 at the half. The Tigers had possession of the opening kickoff in the second half, so Charleston could have been down just 7 points and would have had the first possession of the second half.
The Curley Wolves defense took over the second half, holding the Charleston offense scoreless. Prescott’s running game dominated the second half and the Curley Wolves scored often and late. In fact, it appeared that the Prescott play calling was very aggressive late in the game when the outcome was seemingly decided. The Wolves scored two touchdowns in the last few minutes of the game to increase the margin of victory. In this writer’s observation, it was unnecessary and did not make sense to still have the Prescott starters in the game so late when a first round playoff game had been decided and when the Curley Wolves will face even stronger opponents in week two and beyond in the playoffs.
Charleston has faced an uphill battle all season. Injuries plagued the team early and often this season. The Charleston players, coaches, and fans stuck by each other all season, and there are many reasons for the community to be very proud of this football team. The season did not go or end the way Tigers fans would like, but this was a team led by great seniors who played hard every week and overcame all of the injuries and adversity to still make the playoffs. Coach May and his staff did a great job keeping the team together and showing class in the most adverse situations. Charleston can take great pride in this team.
And Charleston fans, you can give yourselves a pat on the back. So many of you made the long trip to Prescott to sit in the cold and support your Tigers! The Charleston pride was evident by everyone: fans, cheerleaders, the band, managers, trainers, players, and coaches (I hope I have not left anyone out!). Charleston is a program of great tradition and winning heritage, and it is a program that will continue to be successful. I know the Tigers will put this one behind them and will soon go back to work to get ready for next year.
It has been my pleasure to cover Charleston football this season. I want to publicly thank coach Ricky May and his staff for being so accommodating and allowing me to have total access to the Tigers football program. And parents, I have had the opportunity to meet some of your players, and other members of the team and spirit groups, and they are all top notch! You can all be very proud of them. I want to thank all of you, and I look forward to seeing you in basketball and the other sports seasons this school year!