Walking into Dutch Reis Field fans knew this game was special. There were added bleachers on both sides of the football field and fans were arriving early to bundle up for the bitterly cold temperatures. The teams were focused and ready for the later kick off and cold temperatures as portable heaters were also found on the sideline. Cheerleaders were lined up to keep the fans pumped up and ready. This was high school football in mid-November. All this could only mean one thing, it was a Regional Championship ballgame.
The Pirates of Charlestown were the hosts of the Class 3A Regional Championship. The Heritage Hills Patriots traveled from Lincoln City, near Santa Claus, to battle for the title.
The Patriots scored twice in the opening quarter and continued to battle the Pirates the entire 48 minutes as Charlestown never gave up. The Pirates fell short on the quest for a Regional title, 28-7.
Heritage Hills junior running back Kenton Crews found the endzone twice in the opening quarter for the Patriots. Crews scored the opening touchdown of the game diving from two yards out to the endzone. The extra point attempt from Colin Curtis split the uprights at the 8:43 mark for the early Patriot lead. Crews then ran the ball in from three yards out at the 1:49 mark before Curtis tacked on the extra point for the 14-0 Heritage Hills advantage.
The Pirates would find the endzone in the second stanza as junior Tate Boley ran a punt back for the 55 yard touchdown. Junior kicker Jose Arredondo added the extra point for the 14-7 Patriot lead at the 4:31 mark of the first half.
The touchdown would prove to be the only score of the night for the home-standing Pirates.
The Patriots would find the scoreboard once in each of the final two periods of play.
Crews recorded his third touchdown of the evening as he bulldozed his way into the endzone from three yards out. Curtis added the extra point for the 21-7 Heritage Hills lead at the 5:16 mark of the third quarter.
The final score of the evening came when senior quarterback Logan Wilkerson hooked up with classmate Sam Collins for a 70 yard catch and run at the 4:48 mark of the ballgame. Curtis nailed the extra point for the 28-7 Heritage Hills victory.
First year Pirate Head Coach Darin Ward was proud of his team after their 10-3 overall, 6-1 Mid Southern Conference and Sectional Championship season.
“Our kids competed all season. I don’t know if anybody thought we would be here playing for a Regional title in June or July,” Ward stated after the game.
He continued, “Heritage Hills is a lot like us. We try capitalize on the mistakes of the other team. The big difference in tonight’s game was our four turnovers. You can’t spot anyone a touchdown as we did tonight. We really battled back when we returned the punt for a touchdown.”
Heritage Hills was led by Keaton Crews with 59 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns.
Patriot senior Logan Wilkerson completed 6-of-9 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown.
Heritage Hills senior Zach Jones caught two passes for 42 yards while classmate Sam Collins added one pass for 70 yards and one touchdown.
The Patriots tallied 107 rushing yards and 123 passing yards for a total of 230 yards.
Charlestown was led by Antonyo Gaddie with 132 yards on 24 carries.
Senior quarterback Tristan Chester completed 8-of-21 passes for 105 yards and three interceptions.
Senior tight end Hunter Crace caught three passes for 44 yards while sophomore Garrett Woods caught three passes for 38 yards.
The Pirates tallied 118 rushing yards and 105 passing yards for a total of 223 yards.
Sixteen seniors laced up their cleats and put on their pads for the last time as a Charlestown Pirate including: Josh Hurley, Eli Daniel, Tristan Chester, Jason Houchens, Cameron Hopson, Jarrett Farmer, Tyler Olsen, Kyle Flowers, Hunter Crace, Brady Christman, Cody Johnson, Kyle Richey, Jacob Wheeler, Andrew Stamper, Austin Keith and Diego del Portillo.
“These seniors are still going out as Champions. And for you underclassmen, we can be a Championship caliber team every year,” Ward explained in post-game community huddle.
According to Pirate Pride Sports Broadcasting, the 2015 senior class is now the winningest group of football players in Charlestown history.