NEWBERRY — The mark of a young team is inconsistencies.
Chester, which started a freshman quarterback, reflected that and it proved costly in a 15-7 loss to Abbeville, the defending Class A Division I champion at a Newberry College's Setzler Field on Friday.
The Cyclones did have their share of highlights, including a first-quarter goalline stance and later a 11-yard touchdown pass from freshman Tommy Sanders to Tony Wright.
However, the mistakes were too numerous to overcome.
First, the Cyclones committed 10 penalties for 76 yards. Then, there was a high snap that punter Joey Ford kicked out of the end zone for a safety.
The Chester defense yielded a whopping 308 rushing yards to the Panthers, who did not attempt a pass out of the wishbone formation.
"We made too many mistakes," Chester coach Anthony Sterling told his team at midfield after the contest. "But you know what, we move forward from this and move on. We will keep working hard to get better."
Sterling saw miscues on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
"The penalties that we made killed our drives, and there was a period in the game where we kept making mistake after mistake," he said. "We had offside penalties, dropped balls, missed passes where our screen-pass plays were open, missed tackles.
"What we will do is go back to the drawing board and correct our mistakes."
"But in saying that, Abbeville is a championship team and that showed in the second half."
Panthers coach Jamie Nichols, whose team avenged its only loss last season with the win over the Cyclones, said that his offensive line deserves the game ball.
"Chester is a class act who is well coached," Nichols said. "Those guys are taught to go hard just like our players are coached to do. Our offensive line took over this game in the second half. We were worried when we fumbled on the goalline early.
"Both teams started freshman quarterbacks and that is something that is rarely seen in a varsity high school game. We are glad to win, but we still have plenty of work to do and a lot to improve on."
Sanders, starting as the Cyclones quarterback after the graduation of Clemson signee Tony McNeal, completed 8-of-14 pass attempts for 56 yards and a touchdown. His 11-yard pass to Wright gave the Cyclones a 7-0 lead with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter.
ABBEVILLE 15, CHESTER 7
C -- Tommy Sanders 11 pass to Tony Wright (Joey Ford kick)
A -- Safety
A -- Ashton Heard 6 run (pass failed)
A -- Heard 1 run (Luke White kick)
RUSHING -- Abbeville: Ashton Heard 26-148, Josh Coates 8-64, O'Bryan Wilson 9-47, Kelly Bryant 9-38. Chester: Derrell Rambert 5-28, K.J. Dixon 16-84, Tommy Sanders 9-11, Jemarcus Moore 1-(-3).
PASSING -- Chester: Tommy Sanders 8-14-0-56.
RECEIVING -- Chester: Emery Frederick 2-8, Derrell Rambert 2-14, Tony Wright 1-11, Latrone Tolliver 1-15.
RECORDS -- Abbeville 1-0, Chester 0-1.