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Home turf again not kind, Webb falls to Ensworth


The Webb Spartans suffered its first division loss this season Friday, Sept. 21, at their own Faust Field as the Ensworth Tigers won handily 57-21.

The Tigers in this, their inaugural varsity season, strolled into Knoxville with a 3-0 record and having not scored less than 35 points per game all season.

Spartans head coach Dave Meske was not fooled by the Tigers’ inexperience.

“Ensworth is going to be good in a hurry,” he said. “They have put a lot into their football program and they have exceptional coaches. They are going to be a powerhouse and I think everyone know it.”

The Spartans struck first when, in the first drive of the game, senior running back Derek Boyce scored on a 48-yard run that came after only two plays and 42 seconds of possession.

Ensworth answered with a 13-yard run with 7:11 left in the first quarter to tie the score 7-7.

The Tigers pulled away quickly led by their two running backs, sophomore Orleans Opoku-Darkwa and junior Tavarres Jefferson.

“They are exceptional running backs,” Meske said. “We have played some very good teams with exceptional players and those are the two best backs we’ve seen all year.”

With 3:50 left in the first half, Spartan quarterback Parker Wormsley’s pass intended for senior running back Brandt Campbell was intercepted.

Ensworth quickly capitalized on the Spartan turnover, taking only three plays to score. On the extra point attempt, Webb jumped off-sides which placed the ball half the distance to the goal setting Ensworth up for its successful attempt at a two-point conversion, making the score 22-7 with 2:44 left in the first half.

Webb, which ended the game with 295 yards rushing and 109 yards passing, stepped up their game with an 11-play drive ending with a 16-yard TD pass from Wormsley to senior tight end Matt Mitchell. A successful extra point kick by senior Meade Edmunds shortened the gap to 22-14.

The Tigers’ Opoku-Darkwa received Spartan sophomore Cisco Carter’s kick and returned it 72 yards to be stopped on the 8-yard line. A Webb penalty resulted in the ball being placed on the four-yard line. With 2.3 seconds left in half the Tigers’ quarterback handed the ball to Opoku-Darkwa, who ran for the four-yard touchdown as the clock ticked down to zero.

“We had momentum going in, but then, even before the half, we just could not make stops when it was crucial. Then with 20 seconds left on the clock they run the ball for 70 yards. That took away all the momentum we built up,” Meske said.

The first play of the second half resulted in an Ensworth fumble recovered by Spartans senior defensive end Jeffery Johnson. After 12 plays, the Spartans went for the first down on fourth-and-four only to be stopped short.

Webb was down but not out yet. With 4:43 left in the third quarter Boyce, who finished the game with 19 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a 39-yard run, making the score 36-21.

Ensworth was able to score three times in the fourth quarter while holding Webb to their 21 points.

Early in the fourth quarter Wormsley completed a pass to Boyce, who fumbled the ball on the Spartan one-yard line. Ensworth recovered and scored after five plays.

“[Boyce] played hard the whole game, he fought for every yard he got. He had that fumble, but I’ll take that. He was trying to take over the game and make plays on his own, he’s a very talented player,” Meske said.

Next Friday, Sept 28, Webb travels to Christian Academy of Knoxville for a neighborhood showdown starting at 7:30 p.m.

 

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