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After a brief grappling period to size up the visitors, Chiefland football seized the upper hand in Friday's spring matchup against Ft. White. The visiting Indians were limited both in ground and air corps; the host Indians were not, and the 12-0 Chiefland final showed it. The first score came in the second quarter with a four-yard run to the goal line by Jamantye Thompson, set up first by a 25-yard run and then a 30-yard run on the keeper by starting QB Eugene Carter.
Carter dazzled the spectators, completing two passes for 50 yards and a touchdown, and rushing 69 yards. He played three quarters of the game, then returned in the fourth to spell backup quarterback Deric Allen, who played very well but suffered a probable broken collarbone on one hard hit.
Playing in a steady downpour, on a field already softened by rain, Chiefland nevertheless maintained good control of the ball, with no fumbles lost and three defensive picks, the last leading to a score. Marquis Greene pulled down one first quarter interception, late in the first quarter, and Allen, in the secondary, grabbed another in the second quarter, just minutes after Thompson's score.
Bo Beauchamp grabbed the third pick with 30 seconds to go in the first half, setting up the play of the game for Chiefland. From 35 yards out, with the clock racing, Carter hit receiver Marquis Greene in stride three steps from the right corner of the end zone and Green crashed over the pylon, giving Chiefland a solid 12-0 lead.
Carter led all rushers on the game, but Chiefland running backs Thompson, Allen and Jakarr White carried the ball heavily, especially in the first half, with Thompson tearing up 44 ground yards, White 42 and Allen 41. Robby McCabe was the go-to ballcarrier in the second half, with 30 yards. The blue Indians dominated the visitors on the ground, with 228 yards to Ft. White's 166. Passing yards were close, but, Chiefland's pressure on Ft. White's QB and receivers made all the difference.
On a sloppy field, control was essential and Chiefland got all the stops they needed. Head Coach Ajay Ulmer said the defensive line as a unit stepped up to assure that Ft. White never seriously threatened. The visitors only intruded inside Chiefland's 30 yard line three times on the night, and only breached the red zone one time, with some yardage courtesy of a Chiefland penalty. Each time Ft. White approached, the Chiefland defense stiffened, standing up ballcarriers at the line of scrimmage.
“Our defensive line did a marvelous job,” Ulmer said.
“Cason Nessmith, Parrish Parnell, Alex English, Bo Beauchamp, Donnell Sanders and Kendon Wasson – they were playing both ways, but we were able to rotate them so they were fresh on both sides of the ball. They got us the stops we needed.”
Ulmer said in addition to spring practices, the winter's work made the difference for Chiefland.
“We made a lot of gains in the weight room this year. Everybody wondered what it would be like for us to lose our seniors, and we did lose some athletes,” he said.
“But the kids wanted to make up for that loss, and they worked really hard to get stronger.”
QB performance was outstanding, Ulmer said.
“Eugene Carter just gives us a whole new dimension out there,” he said.
“And Deric Allen, I hope we have him back soon – he did a great job.”
The Chiefland community was one of the biggest successes in this spring game, Ulmer concluded.
“The community support is awesome; it always is,” he said, pointing at the bleachers, full, despite the rain.
Ulmer said the Quarterback Club luncheon was an overwhelming success, with about 400 lunches sold; Ft. White also bought their post-game meals from the Quarterback Club.
“We certainly thank them,” he said.
CH 0 12 0 0 12
FW 0 0 0 0 0
2Q Thompson 4 yd run
2Q Carter 35 yd pass to Greene