For the first quarter Thursday night, Victor Floyd’s Chester team looked to be the Cyclones that worried Keenan, more than the impending Hurricane Hermine that forced the rescheduling of the contest from Friday night.
Almost as soon as the horn sounded to end that quarter, though, a possible preview of what might hit the region on Friday came. The storm authored an hour-plus lightning delay that changed the complexion of the contest. Chester defeated Keenan 36-14 in a game where the final three quarters were played with a running clock, but Floyd – understandably – wanted to focus on that first quarter.
“I think it was more or less our guys came ready to play in the beginning, and came out fired up,” he said as the rain continued to fall. “I think the little layover idled them down a little bit.”
He came back to that first quarter fairly quickly.
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“The first quarter might have been our best football this year…offense, defense, special teams, the whole nine,” Floyd said.
Chester (2-1) forced punts on each of Keenan’s first three possessions, and secured great field position after three short kicks. That field position turned into three quick touchdown strikes, allowing the Cyclones to establish early control of the contest.
Touchdown carries by Jalyn Reid and Pha’Leak Brown book-ended a nifty 28-yard strike from Malik Williams to a wide-open NiQuavian Coleman that pushed the Cyclones’ advantage to 22-0 just over nine minutes into the game.
The suffocating Cyclones defense largely forced the visiting Raiders into being a one-dimensional club. Keenan quarterback Alajuwan Robinson went 4-for-6 through the air, but totaled just one passing yard. The Raiders enjoyed some late success on the ground, including a bruising 12-yard touchdown jaunt by Dimetrius Kershaw, but the clock – and Chester’s defense – proved too much to overcome.
Williams again proved his worth under center for Chester. He completed three of his six throws – mostly before the rains came – including the touchdown to Coleman. The Appalachian State commit has made a name for himself with his running ability, too, and he carried 11 times for 127 times. Perhaps his most electrifying gallop came as he splashed his way to “pay mud” from 31 yards away, notching his team’s final score on the evening. Reid added touchdown runs of 23 and 12 yards.
Kershaw carried nine times for 75 yards for Keenan, displaying a powerful running style that seemed to gain steam as the game progressed. Sophomore Chris Reed was an effective weapon in Keenan’s return game, cruising 72 yards to the house on a kickoff return on which he was barely touched.
Floyd spoke after the game of the effect the extended delay had on his club.
“We were there (in the locker room) for a while, so I think a lot of the excitement and enthusiasm had kind of died down. I thought Keenan came out and played with a lot more intensity coming out of the break than we did.”
Chester hosts Lancaster on Friday. This will be the first meeting of the former Region 3-3A foes since the SCHSL realigned their classifications for the 2016-18 seasons.
Chester 36, Keenan 14
Keenan 0;6;0;8- 14
Chester 22;7;0;7- 36
CHS – Jalyn Reid 12 run (conversion failed) 9:37
CHS – Malik Williams 28 pass to NiQuavian Coleman (Williams pass to Quay Hardin) 7:56
CHS – Pha’Leak Brown 14 run (Williams pass to Coleman) 2:55
CHS – Reid 23 run (John Irby kick) 5:02
KHS – Dimetrius Kershaw 12 run (conversion failed) 1:00
CHS – Williams 31 run (Irby kick) 6:00
KHS – Chris Reed 72 kickoff return (Josh Heatley run) 3:28
RUSHING Keenan: Thomas Smalls 2-4, Myles Adams 5-8, Alajuwan Robinson 4-(-6), Dimetrius Kershaw 9-75; Carlos Mickens 1-(-1); Eric Troutman 1-(-1). Chester: Malik Williams 11-127; Jalyn Reid 7-39; Pha’Leak Brown 3-17.
PASSING Keenan: Robinson 4-6-0, 1 yard. Chester: Williams 3-6-0, 40 yards.
RECEIVING Keenan: Kenyan Williams 1-(-2); Wadell Rembert 1-(-4); Adams 1-4; Mickens 1-3. Chester: NiQuavian Coleman 1-28; Brown 1-0; John Irby 1-12.
RECORDS Keenan 0-3, Chester 2-1.