On a cold and blustery night in Isle of Wight, on a wet and muddy field, the season ended for a Broadwater football team that, over the course of a long season, was defined by speed, tenacity, grit and many times, just pure heart. Despite what can only be considered a great year, the Chargers of Isle of Wight Academy proved to be just a little too much for the Broadwater squad. The final score was Isle of Wight 47, Broadwater 18. The score, however, was not indicative of the game, which was much more contested. In the end, it was just a few plays, and the Charger’s power running behind Will Morningstar, and the clutch passing of Bryce Casey that made the difference.
The opening kickoff set the tone, as Morningstar broke free from the pack, and darted to the outside. It was only a saving tackle by Joey Creed that kept the Chargers from scoring within the first few seconds of the game. That did not last long, as the Chargers punched it in to take a 7 – 0. Broadwater attempted to keep pace, scoring on the next drive to cut the lead to 7 – 6. The rest of the half was defined by tough running, solid line play, and stout defense. With time running out in the half, and the Chargers leading 21 – 6, Tyler Major broke free for a 60-yard romp to the Isle of Wight 15. With just under a minute left, Austin Murphy connected with Major Morgan, who made a spectacular, diving catch in the end zone. The Vikings missed the extra point, but went into halftime cutting the lead to 21 – 12.
In the third quarter, senior Will Morningstar established the ground game, and Bryce Casey came through with clutch passing, one time completing a pass to get the Chargers out of a 4th and 14. With five minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Isle of Wight held a commanding 34 – 18 lead. We tend not to criticize the referees, but there were two questionable calls that severely hurt the Vikings chances. Driving late in the third quarter, with a fourth and two from the Isle of Wight 15, Taylor Major took the snap out of the wildcat and rushed into the heart of the Charger defense. Standing at the line marker, it was apparent the ball went well past the line, and even after the ensuing scrum, the ball rested will past the first down marker. Oddly, the referee picked the ball up and moved it back almost a yard. Then picked it up, moved it back, and then forward again, finally resting it a half yard shy, thus ending the Broadwater drive. On the next possession, with Isle of Wight threatening again, Bryce Casey tossed a blooper into the end zone, where Thomas Scott was set to intercept. It was apparent that the Isle of Wight receiver interfered, mugged Scott, and took the ball away for a score. Having played myself against big, rural central Virginia teams like Windsor myself, one could only shake their head and mumble something about Smithfield referees.
In the end, it was not the referees that cost Broadwater, but the inability to stop a very powerful, talented, and extremely athletic Isle of Wight team. Broadwater should be proud of the effort, and Coach Palmer should be proud of the fine job he did coaching these boys this season – this team really bought in, and fought hard every play for this coach. Congratulations to the seniors, for finishing with such class and grace.