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Chargers get late defensive stop for win at Western

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Sep 14, 2019 at 4:21 PM

COLLINS — Down and distance.

Once the ball was in the air, Edison defensive back Justin Hosley didn't make things harder than it had to be.

Western Reserve trailed, 34-27, and faced with a fourth-and-4 at the Edison 25-yard line with 1:19 left. Western quarterback Jude Muenz took three steps back from the shotgun position, and immediately threw the ball toward the end zone and receiver Cory Hipp.

But Hosley was with Hipp every step of the way, and was able to get in front of the Roughriders' receiver and break up the play in the end zone. Hipp wasn't going to come down with the ball inbounds — but Hosley didn't leave it to chance.

As a result, the Chargers (2-1) closed out a 34-27 win on Saturday in a game that was suspended Friday because of lightning with 4:19 left in the second quarter.

"We were getting beat deep, so we were trying to stay back and not let them get a big play," Hosley said. "It was fourth down, so I was just going for the knock down. No need to go up and make a play on it — I was just going for the deflection. It was a unique game, but we came back and battled."

When action resumed on Saturday, Western trailed 26-20 and had the ball at midfield.

Running back Cody Benesh capped a scoring drive with a 1-yard TD on fourth-and-goal, as the standout scored all four Western touchdowns. Dalton Webb's extra point gave the 'Riders (2-1) a 27-26 lead.

Edison looked to quickly respond with the opening possession of the second half, but fumbled at the Western 22 with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

The 'Riders were able to their own 47, but were forced to punt. However, the punt was out of bounds and went just 13 yards to give Edison the ball at its own 40 with 5:40 left in the third.

The Chargers and their triple option offense took advantage. On the first play, quarterback Thomas Simon picked up 29 yards; then Aiden Heyward followed with 12 more yards to the Western 19. Three plays later, it was fourth-and-1 at the Western 10, and Heyward picked up the yard for first-and-goal.

Simon was stopped for no gain, but the next play, Noah Staley was able to cut to his right and find running room on a 9-yard TD run with 2;29 left in the third quarter. Staley then got the call on the 2-point conversion run and put Edison ahead 34-27.

"The punt was short, and you have to be able to come back and get a defensive stop and fight through adversity," Western Reserve coach Ty Stevenson said. "I think our kids did that, we just missed a couple plays here or there we'd like to have back on both sides of the ball.

"But give credit to Edison," he added. "They have a physical team with three or four very good backs and they are well-coached and have been doing it for a long time."

Western responded with another lengthy drive and a heavy dose of Benesh, who finished with more than 250 yards rushing for a third straight week. The 'Riders had the ball for 14 plays, but on a fourth-and-7 play from the Edison 31, Staley intercepted Muenz at the 18 and returned it 31 yards to the Edison 49 with 8:10 left in the game.

After forcing a three-and-out, Western got the ball back at its own 22 with 6:06 left in the game. Muenz connected with Benesh for an 18-yard pass play on a third-and-17 to get the ball near midfield. Five plays later, Benesh ran for five yards on a third-and-2 to put the ball at the Edison 30 with under two minutes left.

The 'Riders had no timeouts, and four plays later, the incomplete pass in the end zone turned the ball over on downs and allowed Edison to kneel out the last 1:12 from victory formation.

The return trip on Saturday was a big improvement for the Edison defense. On Friday, Benesh had scored on runs of 85 and 75 yards. While he rushed for plenty again in the final two-plus quarters, there were no big runs of that length.

"What I'm most proud of is how our defense responded," Edison coach Jim Hall said. "{Friday) night, we were giving up big yardage plays and weren't tackling well. Today, we made a couple adjustments and our kids really responded well.

"But we tackled better, and that is a heck of a running back there in Benesh ... he's a great runner and they've got big kids up front. So it was tough, but we responded well under unique circumstances coming back the next day."

Hall felt his offense did enough, but the defense ultimately won the game with the two key stops late.

"Our offense had some nice drives like we thought we could do, but defensively, crazy enough, we finally limited their big plays and it gave us a chance to win the game.

"Offensively we were able to control what we could control and ran what we wanted to run, but we turned it over again at a critical time," he added. "Those are things we have to get better at doing."

Stevenson said it was obviously a tough loss, but felt his team gave everything it had.

"That's a great high school football game," he said. "The delay makes things tough, and they came back here today and really were able to refocus and followed the plan. It's tough to lose a game like this, but the kids did everything they could to win a game. And sometimes, just like life, it doesn't happen the way you want it to."

 

Edison       12 14 8 0 — 34

W. Reserve 14 6 7 0 — 27

Scoring

WR — Cody Benesh 75 run (Dalton Webb kick)

ED — Jacob Brewer 1 run (kick failed)

ED — Joe Stoll 13 run (run failed)

WR — Benesh 85 run (Webb kick)

WR — Benesh 1 run (kick failed)

ED — Noah Staley 60 run (run failed)

ED — Brewer 35 pass from Thomas Simon

WR — Benesh 1 run (Webb kick)

ED — Staley 9 run (Staley run)

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