The Charlotte Amalie Chicken Hawks beat the Educational Complex Barracudas, 14-8, Wednesday night at the Barracudas football stadium to win their fifth consecutive IAA high school tackle football championship.
The game was a hard-fought emotional contest with players having to be separated on numerous occasions throughout. However, the ugliest part of the game came at the end when it was time for the players to shake hands and congratulate each other.
Instead the emotions of the game really boiled over as players got into a shoving match, and a couple of coaches actually threw punches at each other.
Luckily, none of those punches appeared to have connected, and the large police contingent at the game was able to eventually restore order.
The game itself was dominated by the Chicken Hawks, especially in the first half; but credit to the Barracudas defense, which was able to hold strong on a few fourth downs, after the Chicken Hawks had driven deep into their territory.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Chicken Hawks junior quarterback Shaquille Richardson, on a third and three, connected with halfback N’kai Colen out of the backfield for the game’s first touchdown a minute into the second quarter. After a failed two-point conversion, the Hawks led 6-0.
The Chicken Hawks defense dominated the Barracudas offense for most of the first half, getting to quarterback William Tutein on numerous occasions. After back-to-back sacks late in the second quarter, Tutein was knocked out of the game only to return later in the second half.
Both teams would have promising drives thwarted by penalties, as the first half came to a close with the Hawks headed into the locker room with the 6-0 advantage.
The Barracudas would come alive late in the third quarter when Tutein connected with Jovan Augustin on a 30-yard bomb to the Chicken Hawks five-yard line. Fullback Jabari Peters would then punch it in for the game-tying touchdown. Bernardius Cruel then converted the two-point try on a run around the right end to give the Barracudas an 8-6 lead, to the jubilation of the hometown crowd.
The score would stay that way until Richardson hit junior wide-out Cursim Hansen for a nine-yard go-ahead touchdown with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter. Richarson would also find Hansen in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 14-8 Hawks lead.
The Chicken Hawks defense would then take over and secured the championship for the fifth time in as many years.
“We came over here confident that we would win. I knew we beat them before, and I did not see them beating us even on their field,” said first-year junior quarterback Peterson.
For Chicken Hawks Athletic Director Myron Corbett it was a bittersweet victory.
“It was a hard-fought game, and it was unfortunate what happened at the end; but we won the championship and we are taking it back to St. Thomas. Congratulations to the Complex for playing so hard,” said Corbett.