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The Chiefland High School football team defeated Bronson 14-12 at Wayne Pridgeon Stadium on May 25 in the school's annual spring game. Chiefland controlled much of the game with a strong running attack. The time-consuming ground game, along with the team's hard-nosed defensive play, kept an aggressive Bronson team from pulling away after it took an early lead. It also allowed Chiefland to come out on top.
Trailing 12-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Indians executed an eight-play drive that ended in a bulldozing five-yard touchdown-run by Keith Smith. The Indian's first lead since the second quarter would not be threatened again. Chiefland's defense forced a four-and-out by the Eagles on the ensuing possession. The Indians then held the ball for the rest of the game. In its final possesion, CHS ran the ball on 11-straight plays, running out the remainder of the game clock in the process.
With the Indians poised to pull away in the second half, three fumbles in the third quarter kept the game close. The team was visibly disappointed after each miscue. Still, Chiefland never let it take away their control of the game
"We stayed together as a team," said rising senior lineman Jeremy McClellan. "Coach (Richardson) told us 'don't blink' when something happens. We just need to stay focused on our assignments."
Richardson said fatigue played a roll in the turnovers. The warm weather for the spring game combined with an admitted lack of conditioning caused players to be loose with the ball. The team had spent much of the spring installing its new offensive and defensive systems under its first-year had coach and learning "x's and o's" of the game, Richardson said. He also said there will be a lot of opportunities for the players to build up their conditioning over the summer. During the game several players had to be taken out for cramps or fatigue. One player threw up multiple times while on the field. Besides that, there were no serious injuries or incidents because of the heat.
Following the second turnover of the third quarter, Bronson began picking up yards with powerful running from tailbacks Tyler Sistrunk and Vernon Gay. Brock Bower then broke a long run out of Bronson territory all the way to the Chiefland end zone. Although Gay was stuffed on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, Bower's big play had put the Eagles up five with just under a minute left in the third quarter.
That also wasn't enough to stop the Indians. They dominated the fourth quarter. Chiefland was on offense for 19 of the game's final 25 plays.
"Our confidence stayed up the whole game," said rising junior Thurman Bailey.
Richardson has stressed hard-hitting, run-oriented football as the team's hallmark since he got to Chiefland earlier in the spring. His team showed it off against the Eagles. Along with a bulldozing look from Smith, Alphonso Timmons took much of the load from the backfield. He put the Indians on the board in the second quarter with six-yard plunge. Jesus Hernandez hit the first of his two extra points in the game after the touchdown, putting his team up 7-6. His kicks after each touchdown proved the decisive scoring margin in the victory.
Deshawn Roland was also impressive on the ground. With Shaquille Patterson forced to miss the game because of academics, Roland made the most of his opportunities to run with the ball, particularly on outside runs. While Timmons and Smith dominated on the inside, Roland had several dazzling runs of tosses and sweeps that showcased his explosive speed.
Bronson scored the game's first touchdown while many fans were still finding their seats. Eagles quarterback Tyler Beauchamp ran an option on the game's second play. After picking up several yards on the keep, he pitched it to Bower who ran 58 yards to the Chiefland 22-yard line. Four players later, Beauchamp kept the ball on a quarterback sneak and made it into the CHS end zone with less than three minutes gone in the game. Beauchamp tried to keep the ball on the ensuing two-point conversion but was stuffed short. The Eagles almost scored again moments before half time. After Chiefland fumbled the ball in its own red zone in the second quarter, the Eagles began a drive down the field. A long pass from Beauchamp was deflected by Roland into a Bronson receiver's hands. Bronson then got inside the Chiefland 10-yard line with a few seconds left before half time but passes on third and fourth down went incomplete.