(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Things couldn't have went much better for Charleston on Saturday when the Cleveland NJROTC Commanders came to visit for the Bluejays' annual homecoming game.
While their defense held the Commanders to only five yards of total offense, the Bluejays scored on all but one first half drive en route to a 38-0 shutout.
The win moves the Bluejays back over the .500 mark for the season.
"I'm happy with our kids' focus and maturity today," Charleston head coach Brett Blackman said. "Cleveland is a team that hasn't won any games yet, but they have the 4X100, 4X200 and 4X400 meter relay state champions on their team, so they have speed.
"We were really worried about that this week and letting them get loose, but we did a good job of controlling and containing it."
Charleston's defense stood firm all four quarters, forcing the Commanders into three-and-outs or early turnovers on all but Cleveland's last drive before the break.
During that same span, the only time the Bluejays were turned away on a drive was when a fumble ended a Bluejay drive after it's first play.
After starting the afternoon on their own 46-yard line, Charleston took the lead just under two minutes into the game when Mike Hull connected with Robert Bogan on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
On only his second pass of the game, Hull put the Bluejays up 16-0, after the 2-point conversion, when he found Sumner Foster on a 4-yard pass with 1:46 left in the first frame.
Though their first two touchdowns came on passes, Charleston relied heavily on their running game throughout the contest, gaining 266 yards on 50 carries.
It was on runs that the Bluejays' got their final three scores
Bogan found the end zone for a second time on a 3-yard run to put his team up 22-0.
"The offense worked a lot better than it has been recently and we made fewer mistakes than we had been," senior lineman Cole Byford said. "The line was pretty dominant up front and we could run at will. Our running backs made good cuts. It was just a good team effort."
On one last drive before the half Charleston was able to take a commanding 30-0 lead into the break when Delfinko Bogan capped a 41-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Hull went on to find Darrion Carter for the 2-point conversion.
Putting the running clock into effect with 4:45 left in the third quarter, the Bluejays went 78 yards on their first drive of the second half, following a Cleveland punt, to make up the 38-0 final.
Winston finished off the drive with a 1-yard run up the middle before Hull ran in the 2-point conversion, sealing the Charleston victory.
Leading the Bluejays' ground game, Robert Bogan carried for 15 times in the contest for a total of 109 yards and a 7.3 yards per-carry average. Deiontrail Winston had 68 yards on 13 carries while Rontavious Clark rushed eight times for 41 yards.
"We have a lot of running backs," Blackman said. "We want to try and spread that workload out. I think if we do that, we can be successful."
Through the air, Hull completed 3 of 4 passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side, Charleston held the Commanders to negative total yardage until late in the fourth quarter when their final drive pushed them back into the black with five total yards.
Cleveland's only player to finish with positive yardage on the ground was Monteze Latimore, who gained 32 yards on three carries which all came in the second half.
In the passing game Bryant Washington and Juwaun Mister-Smith combined to go 4 of 10 for a total of 10 yards.
"They had a couple mistakes we capitalized on and whenever they were deep we just went after them and put them back in their own territory," Byford said of the Bluejays' defensive effort. "We're just clicking together at the right time and playing real good ball right now."
With the win the Bluejays stand at 3-2 on the season. They'll travel to Kennett to face the Indians on Friday at 7 p.m.
CH -- Robert Bogan 7 pass from Mike Hull (Rontavious Clark run good), 10:10
CH -- Sumner Foster 4 pass from Mike Hull (Rontavious Clark pass from Mike Hull good), 1:46
CH -- Robert Bogan 3 run (run bad), 5:34
CH -- Delfinko Bogan 3 run (Darrion Carter pass from Mike Hull good), 2:26
CH -- Deiontrail Winston 1 run (Mike Hull run good), 4:45
Rushing -- Cleveland, Juwaun Mister-Smith 14-(-24), Devonta Kazee 6-0, Bryant Washington 3-(-13), Monteze Latimore 3-32. Charleston, Delfinko Bogan 7-34, Deiontrail Winston 13-68, Robert Bogan 15-109, Rontavious Clark 8-41, Mike Hull 3-13, Demontrail Clark 1-(-5), Darrion Henderson 1-8, James Wright 1-(-3), Tennarious Ewing 1-1.
Passing -- Cleveland, Bryant Washington 1-3-0 8, Juwaun Mister-Smith 3-7-0 2. Charleston, Mike Hull 2-4-2 55.
Receiving -- Cleveland, Monteze Latimore 1-8, Deonzae Patterson 1-1, Devonta Kazee 1-5, Michael Wells 1-(-4). Charleston, Robert Bogan 1-7, Sumner Foster 2-48.