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Red Devils end Falcons’ perfect run

September 15, 2012
By BOB ETTINGER - Special to Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

JEFFERSON - The football equivalent of going for the jugular might just be trying to hit the big play immediately after a turnover. Campbell Memorial coach Mickey Sikora did just that on two occasions and both times his Red Devils delivered in a 20-14 victory over Jefferson on Friday night at Falcon Pride Stadium.

"We're getting better every week," Sikora said. "The kids hung tough. It was a great team effort. I couldn't be more proud of them."

Trailing, 14-12, Jayle'll Shorter picked off a Tony Chiacchiero pass with 6:34 remaining in the contest, giving the Red Devils (2-2, 1-0 in All-American Conference, National Division) possession on their own 30. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Brandon Reyes hit D.J. Harrison streaking down the sideline for a 70-yard scoring strike to put Campbell Memorial up, 20-14, with 6:22 to play.

"D.J. does a great job for us," Sikora said. "Brandon made a great throw. We thought we had some good matchups. Brandon made a great throw and (Harrison) was off to the races.

"Those are momentum changers. A lot of people do that after a turnover. We school our kids on that and I'm sure (Jefferson coach Jimmy Henson) does, too. We hit a home run."

The play didn't exactly knock the Falcons (3-1, 1-1) out of the contest, but it did change everything. Jefferson's ensuing possession stalled at its own 46, the Red Devils forcing a punt. Brandon Balascio hit it solid and it was downed at the Campbell Memorial 4.

Adrien Brown then went to work for the Red Devils, toting the pigskin to the Jefferson 19 in just five carries. The Falcons' defense thwarted Reyes on a fourth-and-2 and took over at their own 20 with 47 seconds left.

Chiacchiero hit Jesse Skvarek down the sideline for 31 yards on first down, then did it again for 9 more on the next play. Chiacchiero then ran for three more and a first down. With the clock still running, Chiacchiero got off one final play, but his pass fell incomplete as time expired.

"I'm very proud of the kids," Henson said. "They fought hard all the way to the last snap. That was a heck of a high school football game. It had a little bit of everything. There was physical play, passing and running. It had a little bit of everything."

Campbell Memorial netted it's first touchdown much the same way as it did the go-ahead score. The Red Devils recovered a Chiacchiero fumble at the Jefferson 44 and Reyes connected with Motrel Hughes deep over the middle for a 37-yard gain. Brown carried once for 4 yards then rumbled the final 3 to paydirt. The two-point conversion pass failed and the Falcons led, 7-6, with 8:47 left in the first half.

"They played defense," Henson said. "One kid stripped the ball off Tony and the other kid made a heck of a play for the pick.

"Both times they hit big pass plays, I take responsibility. I'm the secondary coach."

The Red Devils took a 12-7 lead with a 15-play, 74-yard drive that spanned 5:50 to open the second half. Brown scored from the four, but the two-point conversion pass failed.

Jefferson answered with a big play of its own as Ashburn returned the ensuing kick 33 yards to the Campbell Memorial 43. Scott Davidson then carried on the next six plays, capping the drive with a 9-yard ramble for a 14-12 Jefferson advantage with 3:10 to play in the third.

"Give the O-line credit," Henson said. "They were moving people. (Davidson) hit the holes. He ran hard all night. I thought we had good success running the ball tonight.

"I thought that was a good answer by our kids. A good kick return set it up and we finished it off.

"Both scores were set up by good kick returns. Dave Wright is our special-teams coach and he does a good job getting them ready," Henson continued.

The Falcons scored the game's first points on their opening possession.

Skvarek returned the kick 63 yards to the Red Devil 24. On the fifth play from scrimmage, Chiacchiero hit Ashburn for an 11-yard score.

"We practiced it," Sikora said of defending the Falcons' return game. "We knew they were very well coached on special teams. They're very efficient. We over ran them a couple times and we didn't break down (to make the tackle)."

Brown led the Red Devils with 135 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries and Reyes was 11 of 17 passing for 190 yards and a touchdown.

Davidson paced the Falcons with 125 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

Chiacchiero was 11 of 21 passing for 92 yards. He tossed the one touchdown and one interception.