The James Kenan varsity football team traveled to Midway and came away with a victory on homecoming night, 47-34.
What appeared to be a defensive battle after the first quarter quickly turned into an explosive offensive display from both teams featuring sparse displays of strong defensive effort.
After punts from both teams to begin the game, Midway found themselves deep in Tiger territory halfway through the first quarter. A laser pass from Raiders quarterback Carson Calcutt bounced off his receiver’s hands and was picked off by Carlton Peterson and returned 77 yards to the house. A missed point-after attempt made the score 6-0.
Midway quickly responded with a solid drive on the ensuing possession. Running back Deantae Byrd ran like a man on a mission, often making at least one defender miss and breaking tackles every time he touched the ball. The run-heavy drive was capped off with Calcutt extending through the offensive line to cross the goal line. Another missed PAT left the score tied at 6 with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter.
James Kenan returned on offense ready to make plays. Starting from their own 38-yard line, they strung together three consecutive first downs into Midway territory before ending the quarter on a strange display of trickery. Tiger quarterback John Thomas Avent stepped away from under-center and walked toward the sideline as if calling a timeout. As the rest of the offense began to do the same, he quickly ran back toward the line to snap the ball, almost catching the defense by surprise. The play turned into an Avent run for no gain.
After switching sides to begin the second, Tiger running back Tuquwan Henry cashed in from 1 yard out. At the 11:21 mark, the scoreboard read 13-6 in favor of James Kenan.
Midway’s Dante Blue took the next kickoff 60 yards to set Calcutt and the offense up at the Tiger 30-yard line. On first down, he connected with receiver Carsse Lucas for 29 yards to give them first and goal at the 1. The explosive plays turn out to be for nought, as somehow they let the play clock run down to zero and suffered a delay of game penalty. Then, a block in the back penalty on Midway backed them up even further. First and goal quickly turned into a turnover on downs after the offense sputtered.
James Kenan continued the offensive efficiency on the next drive with several strong runs. After a lengthy injury delay that saw Tiger running back TaJuan Savage leave the game, Tuquwan Henry picked up where he left off in the first quarter and found the endzone from 21 yards out with 4:56 left until halftime.
After a strong drive from Midway and a Calcutt 13-yard touchdown run, Kenan answered with Peterson running in from 3 yards out to end the first half. The Tigers lead 27-12 with two quarters remaining.
James Kenan received the first kickoff of the third quarter and scored yet again, this time with a 4-yard pass to receiver Jalen Faison.
A trade of long drives ending in punts took most of the quarter. With just over three minutes left, Midway found themselves with the ball at their own 20-yard line. A Byrd run for 7 yards had them eyeing a first down, but Calcutt decided he wanted more. He found Blue on a beautiful pass over the middle, and his receiver did the rest on a 73-yard catch and run to bring the score to 34-20 with 3:32 remaining in the third.
Not even 20 seconds later, the Tigers answered on the first play from scrimmage on the next drive with a 71-yard Henry run.
After fumbling the next kickoff and facing second and goal from 3 yards out, Midway’s Carsse Lucas made an explosive defensive play, picking off Avent in the endzone and running it back 100 yards to bring the Raiders back in the game. Calcutt then hit receiver Cameron Barefoot for the 2-point conversion to bring the score to 41-28.
However, the Tigers put up the first points of the fourth, as Peterson scored his third overall touchdown of the game, this time on a 14-yard run.
Calcutt and company proved they wouldn’t go down easily after finding Lucas again on a 45-yard bomb down the sideline to the 14 of the Tigers. Byrd finally had his night of hard running rewarded with a 14-yard scamper up the middle to bring Midway within 13. Consecutive punts from both offenses end up closing out the game, however, leaving the final tally at 47-34.
Midway put up an impressive 454 yards of total offense. Carson Calcutt ended the game completing 15 of 38 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. He also ran for 60 yards and two scores. Deantae Byrd led the Raiders with 15 touches for 118 yards and a touchdown. Carsse Lucas lead the team in receiving with 4 catches for 149 yards. He also added a 100-yard interception return.
Midway returns to action next Friday at Wallace-Rose Hill at 7 p.m.