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IEKHS Suffers First Loss While CAHS Secures First IAA Varsity Flag Football Win

The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Rays (4-0) and Antilles School Hurricanes (3-1) locked in a defensive struggle for all four quarters of their Varsity flag football face-off Friday, while the Gifft Hill School Barracudas (1-3) and Charlotte Amalie High School Chickenhawks’ (0-4) game on Saturday was an old-fashioned shootout with both teams scoring a combined 62 points, the highest joint total of any game this season.

Antilles Hurricanes 7 – Ivanna Eudora Kean High School 0

This was a highly anticipated game as the first-place IEKHS Rays brought their undefeated record to the campus of Antilles School to take on the second-place Hurricanes. The offense for both teams found it tough to move the ball. When they did, both defenses came up with crucial interceptions, pass deflections, and sacks to keep the score knotted 0-0 all the way into the fourth quarter.

Averad Penn, in blue, from Antilles School runs ball in game against Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. (Photo by Mark J Daniel)

The Rays got the ball midway through the final frame and started driving the ball down the field. Antilles free safety Matthew Meyers intercepted a pass deep in Hurricanes territory and returned the ball just past midfield. A few plays later, Hurricanes running back Averad Penn caught a simple flare pass at the 20-yard line, and then he used some flair to elude the initial defenders, reverse field and scampered into the end zone for the game’s only touchdown. Penn’s number was called one more time as he caught the one-point conversion to make the score 7-0 Hurricanes with less than two minutes remaining in the game. The Rays tried to mount a comeback but ran out of time.

“We offer no excuses. Antilles committed less penalties than we did,” said IEKHS Offensive Coach Francisco Jarvis. “You can’t get penalties inside the red zone and you can’t turn the ball over twice in the red zone and expect anything good to happen. I put that loss all on me.”

Steve Lewis, Antilles head coach, said about the game, “The new age rivalry between IEKHS and ourselves was nothing short of a classic. A defensive showcase that had both sidelines and fans on their toes. In the end, our defense stayed true to our motto, ‘bend but never break!’ and was able to shut out the Rays.”

Charlotte Amalie High School 34 – Gifft Hill School 28 

CAHS and Gifft Hill School played a game that mirrored an EA Sports Madden video game.  The Chickenhawks got on the board first when Amoi Braithwaite caught a 40-yard touchdown from quarterback Damarion Jeter in the first quarter. Gifft Hill quickly responded when their Quarterback Denis Biggrigg found Justin Richards in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown. CAHS running back Malakai Henley then took over the game with some big runs. One run covered 40 yards as he coasted into the end zone for a score. Braithwaite caught the two-point conversion, giving the Hawks a 14-6 halftime lead.

Gifft Hill School Thomas Nicholas scores during game against Charlotte Amalie High School. (Submitted Photo)

Henley continued where he left off in the third, as he scored again on a 25-yard run, making the score 20-6 CAHS. The first major shift in the game started. Richards of the Barracudas picked off Jeter and returned it for a touchdown. The extra point made the score 20-13. The Barracudas scored on a 3-yard run, a safety, and another pick-six by Jaden Pascal, giving Gifft Hill a seemingly safe 28-20 lead with under five minutes to go in the game.

But then the second major shift of this game happened. Pascal picked off the CAHS quarterback one final time, giving the Barracudas the ball inside the Chickenhawks’ ten-yard line. GHS’ running back, Nicholas took the handoff and proceeded to the goal line and reached the ball out to the goal line. At some point, the ball was knocked out of Nicholas’s hands into the grasp of CAHS defender Gabriel Elcock, who raced from his end zone all the way to the other end of the field as the Barracudas watched a little bewildered as they thought Nicholas got the ball successfully across the line for the touchdown. But instead, the officials were signaling a touchdown for the Hawks.

CAHS’ defense held and got the ball back with under two minutes to go in the game.  After a pass interference call kept the Hawks’ late drive alive, Braithwaite was able to end the game similar to how it started by catching a 40-yard pass and taking the ball to the house for the game-winning score.

“My boys played a good game. There is nothing I can ask of them when I give the orders and they just do it. As a coach I am grateful for that,” said Gifft Hill Head Coach Demoy Thomas. “We played hard. We didn’t like the outcome however we played hard and we are not done yet.”

“I think it was a well-fought ball game by both teams, a thriller that came down to the final possession, where either team could have won, said CAHS Head Coach Shaquille Richardson.

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