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By Mike Capshaw
Before Friday’s game, a few Chiefland fans polled were hoping the Indians could at least compete against Newberry, with more than one hopeful for “any victory,” even by a single point.
In the closing minutes of Chiefland’s 34-0 win, shouts of “Shut ‘em out!” and “We want a shutout!” rained down on C. Doyle McCall Field from the packed stands at Wayne Pridgeon Stadium.
What a difference a couple of hours makes.
Even Chiefland coach Aaron Richardson admitted he did not see a blowout coming against such a talented Newberry team.
“Absolutely not,” Richardson said. “Watching them on film, they’re a good football team. I think we got that one TD before the half to go up 21-0 and then it just kind of rolled on them.
“But I thought it was going to be a dogfight.”
Newberry’s coaching staff may have sensed the Panthers’ were overmatched by gambling on an onsides kick to open the game. The gamble paid off with a Newberry recovery at midfield, but it didn’t pay off as the quick drive ended in a 44-yard field goal attempt that went wide left of the posts.
Chiefland took over on its own 20-yard line and quickly began moving the ball behind Deshawn Roland, Alphonso Timmons and Shaq Patterson, who was impressive as a two-way leader, doubling at quarterback and cornerback.
Newberry quickly saw it couldn’t contain the speed of Roland, who had 39 yards on the opening drive that he capped off with a 32-yard touchdown run, even pointing to the WCJB TV-20 camera on his way to the end zone.
Roland, still playing extra inspired in the wake of the death of his mother, Tammy Jenkins, touched the ball 12 times and finished with 187 yards and three touchdowns. He ran nine times for 131 yards, a touchdown and caught three passes for 56 yards and two more scores. He also had a 55-yard touchdown nullified due to a holding penalty.
While Roland ran by Newberry, Timmons ran through them 27 times for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The 1-2 punch mixed with a stingy defense that pitched its third shutout in four games added up to a dominating overall performance.
“(Alphonso) didn’t get many carries in the first two games, so he had some polishing to do,” Richardson said. He’s such a durable dude that can take a pounding and give one. His running is what helps Deshawn. Defenses seeing Deshawn’s speed right after Alphonso’s power, it’s tough to stop.”
After such a convincing win, Richardson wisely warned his players about not getting over confident heading into this Friday’s non-conference tilt against West Nassau at home. The Indians will follow with a bye week before heading into a three-game gauntlet against the rest of its district.
“We talked about that in the post-game huddle,” Richardson said. “I said, ‘You’ve got the monkey off of your back, but now you’ve got a bull’s eye on you. Now, people will think that you are a great team so they’re all going to come out and hit you in the mouth
“We can either be satisfied with one district win, or we can stay after it in the weight room and in practice and keep moving forward just as hungry as ever.”
On the field after the game, hundreds of CHS fans wore wide smiles after watching the Indians win their first district game under Richardson. The show how a winning football team can bring a community together.
“In Chiefland, we love our football,” Richardson said. “Our fans are great, the support is great. It’s great to see them all excited. If you polled the males in the crowd, I bet at least 50 percent of them played football here. It’s important to them, and it’s important to us to play hard for them.”
While the offense was impressive in piling up 368 yards, the defense made the difference and staked its claim as one of the best units in the league and beyond.
CHS defensive coordinator Cody Montgomery was heated after a couple of late penalties had Newberry, which still had its starters in despite the game being out of reach, threatening to break up the shutout in the final minute.
On first and goal from the 6-yard line, Montgomery’s defense tightened up with the help of two stops behind the line of scrimmage ? including the sixth sack of the season ? by ball-of-muscle defensive end Peyton Parnell.
“Parnell is a heckuva end and right now has been our defensive MVP,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery was happy to see it after telling his defense to “bow your necks” during a timeout. He also was happy to get a post-game Mohawk, courtesy of his players.
“I shaved Thurman (Bailey’s) Mohawk and said I would get one if we got three shutouts and our first district win,” Montgomery said. He often wears a cap on the sidelines but doesn’t sound like he’ll be hiding his new do under one any time soon. “I’ll rock it and show it because I’m so proud of them.”
Newberry didn’t go over the 100-yard mark until the final drive thanks to big plays from Parnell, Bailey, Quan Coffee, Willie Brannon, Brandon Stewart, Billy Hammond, Grayson Gerhardt, TJ Donald, Patterson and rising star GiGi McClendon, who intercepted his fourth pass in as many games.