Isle of Wight Academy was losing the statistics battle during Saturday's Virginia Independent Schools Division III title game against Blessed Sacrament Huguenot in the first half, but winning on the scoreboard. The Chargers didn't score in the third quarter but dominated on the field defensively.
But it all caught up in the fourth quarter, when the Knights scored 22 straight points to defeat Isle of Wight 22-16, preventing the Chargers from winning their fourth state title in five years. Meanwhile, the visitors from Powhatan County captured their first since 2004.
The Chargers (10-1) had a 23-game home winning streak dating to Oct. 21, 2005, when they lost to the Knights 28-27. IWA avenged that loss by beating them in that year's state title game. But the Chargers must wait until next year for revenge against their Virginia Commonwealth Conference rivals.
"Blessed Sacrament is a good team, and when you give a good team enough opportunities, they'll beat you," Isle of Wight coach Dale Chapman said.
That opportunity came in the fourth quarter with the Chargers leading 9-0. The quarter started with an Austin Wingfield screen pass to Deon Watts for 42 yards to the Isle of Wight 12-yard line. To that point, Wingfield had completed one pass in 12 attempts.
That opened the floodgates, though. Wingfield completed two more passes on the drive, the last a 10-yard TD strike to Chris Howard, then had two more passes on the next drive that ended in a 1-yard scoring run by John Moore to put the Knights ahead for good.
"We've played from behind a few times this season," Wingfield said. "We know how to win from there."
Added BSH coach Mike Henderson: "He's a three-year starter, so I challenged him a few weeks ago to step it up. He made bad decisions and was struggling for the first three quarters, but he played in the fourth the way he had in the last three weeks (all wins by BSH)."
While Wingfield and the rest of the Knights' offense were soaring, the Chargers were fading fast. Nowhere was this most evident than on the first play after Moore's touchdown run, when Heath Price committed a rare fumble. The Knights recovered, and Watts scored four plays later on a 7-yard run.
"We're not usually that beat down in the fourth quarter," said Chapman, noting that Isle of Wight had to play five days after beating Fuqua in a semifinal Monday.
Isle of Wight had one more chance when Ben Epps hit quarterback Daniel Brown on a 30-yard reverse pass, setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by Zeb Warnick with 1:29 left. But the Knights recovered the onside kick, got a first down and ran out the clock.
Blessed Sacrament Huguenot (10-2) trailed 9-0 at the half despite racking up 258 yards.
Moore finished with 151 rushing yards for the Knights, while Watts had 111. Between running, receiving and passing, Brown had 122 yards.
For Chapman, it's back to the drawing board for next season, and he's not waiting for spring practice. On Monday morning, any underclassmen not in a winter sport will be in the weight room, waiting for another shot at the brass ring — and at least one shot against the Knights.
"We're going to get this program back here," Chapman said.
BLESSED SACRAMENT HUGUENOT 22, ISLE OF WIGHT 16Blessed Sacrament Huguenot
00022 — 22Isle of Wight Academy
0907 — 16IWA: Brown 63 run (kick failed)
IWA: FG Vick 30
BSH: Howard 10 pass from Wingfield (Temple kick)
BSH: Moore 1 run (Howard pass from Wingfield)
BSH: Watts 7 run (Temple kick)
IWA: Warnick 4 run (Vick kick)
TEAM STATSBSHIWAFirst downs175Rushes-yards48-25535-117Passing yards11852Comp-Att-Int6-18-12-8-1Punts-avg.4-27.56-31.5Penalties-yards7-506-55Fumbles-lost2-11-1Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun