Wednesday, December 4, 2013
There was a lot of disappointment on Friday when Carvers Bay lost 28-21 to Christ Church in the Class A state championship.
But the disappointment was “for” the players, not “in” the players.
“This team, they summed themselves up as family,” said head coach James “Nate’ Thompson. “That’s the difference. It’s not all the talent. We’ve got one or two kids with great talent. The rest are just ordinary kids that came out and worked hard since Aug. 1.”
After the game, coaches took turns consoling the distraught players, expressing love and admiration, and reminding the young men not to hang their heads. This team will forever be remembered as Lower State champions, one of the top teams in the state.
“Who are we?” Thompson asked.
“Bears,” was resounding answer.
Carvers Bay was the 40th straight team to lose to Christ Church, and the third straight to lose in a state championship.
The Bears won the coin toss but deferred, and the defense held the Cavaliers to a three-and-out.
Devin Cuttino then got Carvers Bay on the board first with a 31-yard touchdown run with 8:41 left in the first quarter.
Christ Church struck right back with a 65-yard touchdown pass on the next play from scrimmage to take a 7-6 lead.
Hikeem Hampton gave Carvers Bay great field position by returning the ensuing kickoff back to the 44-yard-line. The Bears offense looked like it was going to stall, but quarterback Israel Davis converted a fourth-and-one and Chris Carter then scored a touchdown to give Carvers Bay a 14-7 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
But as with the Bears’ first touchdown, Christ Church needed only one play from scrimmage to tie the score, this time on a 60-yard run.
“We just had to slow it down,” Thompson said. “A lot of times we were just overrunning the guy. We were running by them.”
The Cavaliers extended their lead on their next drive when quarterback Demetrius Anthony recovered his own fumble and ran it in.
Less than a minute later Cuttino raced 81 yards to tie the score at 21-21.
Carvers Bay had two more scoring opportunities when Oneil Johnson forced a fumble on a crushing sack, and Tyrell Richard grabbed an interception, but both drives stalled.
Christ Church then ate up the rest of the second quarter on a long scoring drive to take a 28-21 lead with 58.6 seconds left in the half.
Neither team found the end zone in the second half. The Cavaliers missed two field goals and the Bears had a fumble, an interception and a failed fake punt that stopped drives.
“We both made changes,” Thompson said. “We both started throwing haymakers at each other and it became a defensive battle.”
Cuttino led the Carvers Bay offense with 143 rushing yards. Carter had 65 yards, Terry Bromell had 37, Davis had 30 and Hampton had 20.
“Both of us wanted to win,” Cuttino said. “They were just the better team tonight.”
“It was a war, it wasn’t just a game,” Johnson said. Both teams had to keep fighting.”
Davis completed one pass for 15 yards to Brandon Young.
Davis, a junior, will bring a year at starting quarterback with him for his senior season. He said the loss will motivate the junior class to work hard to get back to the title game next year.
Raheem Dease and Johnson led the Bears’ defense. Dease had 10 tackles and Johnson had nine tackles and two sacks.
Richard and Naquez Pringle had five tackles each; Carter, Marquiese Goss and Darius Carr had three tackles each; and Lewis Morant had a sack.
Carvers Bay finished the season 12-2.
“The challenge we put before ourselves is that next year we want to back here again,” Thompson said. “And I’ve got a feeling this group is gonna work hard. I don’t know where we’re going to end up but it’s going to be something good.”
People shouldn’t ever overlook Carvers Bay, Thompson added.
“We have to earn everything. We’re that little school out in the country. We’re not Myrtle Beach. We’re not Conway. We’re not the big schools. We’re that little 1A school in the woods.”