KEYPORT --  In a nonconference matchup of the Spotswood Chargers and Keyport Red Raiders, the matchup was pretty stale in the first half but then the second half showed you why high school football is one of the greatest games to watch, when the Chargers won a second half slugfest 28-21.

The first half saw an opening drive score on a 32 yard pass from Chris Hogrefe to Cody Young for the 7-0 lead and the Chargers answered with their own 30 yard passing touchdown when Shawn O'Connor hit Marlon Hart in the end zone to send the game into halftime tied 7-7.

Keyport quarterback Chris Hogrefe found Cody Young for a 32 yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The Chargers answered in the second quarterback Shawn O’Connor found Marlon Hart for a 30 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

 

Spotswood's Marlon Hart hauls in a 32 yard pass over Keyport' (photo by Eric Braun)

Both teams went into the half with different momentum swings with Keyport dominating most of the day on the ground on both sides of the ball and Spotswood starting to find success in the air and on the ground late in the first half.  But it was Spotswood who carried the big momentum after a first and goal from the four yard line for Keyport with under a minute to play in the second quarter, the Indians went away from their successful running attack and went to the air on fourth down and came away with no points to stay tied 7-7.

The second half, the Chargers continued with their offensive game plan and altered some up front blocking which lead the way for Hayford, Jack Keenan and Shawn O'Connor who combined for 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns.  Joe Hayford found pay dirt for Spotswood when he broke free up the middle for a 29 yard touchdown run to put the Chargers up 14-7 with the extra point from Ryan Szatkowski with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter and capped a six play drive.

Spotswood Joey Hayford breaks free for a 29-yard touchdown against Keyport (photo by Eric Braun)

Keyport would answer Spotswood's touchdown with an eight yard drive that resulted in Chris Hogrefe diving in from 1 yard out for the score and with Christian Smith's extra point the game was now tied at 14-14.  It was a drive that the Indians went back to the ground and ran the ball seven of the eight plays which allowed quarterback to find air success on the other play when he tossed  a 36 yard strike to Cody Young.

Keyport running back fights for running yards against Spotswood (photo by Eric Braun)

Then came the battle of field position as the Indians buried the Chargers deep in their own end of the field after the kickoff and Spotswood would go four-and-out.  On the drive, Spotswood rushed for two yard, quarterback O'Connor was sacked for a seven yard loss and the offensive line was called for a false start leaving Ryan Szatkowski to kick from his own end zone.  Szatkowski got of a returnable kick when he hit a line drive that took a one bounce hop to Keyport's Des Undwerwood who set the Indians up in great field position at the Chargers 21 yard line with 9:53 left in the game.

The Indians would waste no time as they scored on a three play drive where they ran the ball for two yards, 28 yards and a 1 yard score from running back Underwood.  With the extra point the Indian climbed back into the lead 21-14.

Then came the most exciting three minutes of play on the day for the Chargers.  First Sootswood would go on a two play drive where Hayford would break free for a 20 yard run to the Keyport 40 yard line and then Jack Keenan squared his shoulders and bounced off defenders at the line of scrimmage before breaking free for a 39 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21-21.

Head coach Andy Cammarano afterwards said about his teams performance "sometimes when you play against good teams you need to get punched in the mouth to get yourself going."  Cammarano also added "we have been really good in the passing game this season and found the success again today, but we told our boys that you cannot win games by burning the clock with bombs that you need to find the running game as well to extend the drives and take time off the board."

With the game once again tied the Indians got the ball back at their own 35 yards line and went back to what worked for them all day in their running game.  But on a 3rd and 3 from their own 42 yard line, Keyport quarterback scrambled right and over threw his intended target and Spotswood's Marlon Hart picked him off and returned it 58 yards for the go-ahead score to put the Chargers back on top 28-21.

The Indians had one last drive in them when the held the Chargers on 3rd and 2 and forced them to punt with 1:35 remaining.  The Indians took over at their own 20 yard line and quickly went to work through the air finding room up the middle for 20 yards and then again for 15 yards.  After a face mask penalty on Spotswood tacked on another 15 yards, quarterback Hogrefe ran a busted play coverage for 13 yards and out of bounds to stop the clock with :48 seconds left to the Chargers 23 yard line.  Next play Hogrefe was flushed to the right again and picked off by Nick Mohr to seal the win for Spotswood.

Coach Cammarano afterwards on the defensive in the second half added "we throw so many passes at our kids in practice to not only make the catch but running after, on the last interception we changed formation because they were starting to kill us up the middle and we got it done."

Up next for Keyport (3-4 overall and 1-2 conference) is a conference game at Mater Dei Prep and Spotswood (5-2 overall 3-0 conference) is home to Middlesex.

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