- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Chopticon football goes out with a win over La Plata
By TAMMY SHOWALTER
Chopticon Braves football fans won’t forget number 22 this winter.
That number belongs to senior running back Kyle Barber, who added four more touchdowns to his tally on Friday night in Chopticon’s last game of the season, as the Braves knocked off La Plata, 42-28.
Chopticon head coach Tony Lisanti said he wanted to send his seniors out in winning fashion and, with Barber’s help, did just that to wrap up the season at 2-8 overall (2-6 SMAC).
Barber finished the night with 24 carries for 265 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
“The seniors really wanted to go out with a win,” Lisanti said. “They’ve had a rough year. We’ve had some setbacks, both with injuries and performance-wise. I told them that what’s important is their last game and I thought that they played with a lot of heart. I’m proud of the effort they put out this week. I’m not going to look back and say, ‘Coulda, shoulda, woulda.’”
Chopticon jumped out to a 22-6 lead after La Plata scored the opening points of the contest, but the Warriors scored back-to-back touchdowns to tighten the score before halftime.
La Plata senior Jacob Fitch made the most of a third down and four when he carried the ball 34 yards to set up a La Plata first down at midfield. A pass interference call on Chopticon set up another first down for the Warriors at Chopticon’s 35-yard line.
On third down and seven, La Plata’s junior quarterback Alex Calvert connected with Dylan Turner for a 32-yard touchdown and Fitch handled the two-point conversion.
Turner finished the game with eight receptions for 131 yards.
On La Plata’s next drive, Calvert teamed up with sophomore Jack Pilkerton for 29 yards and Jvon Simmons for a 21-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Warriors to within two points at halftime, 22-20.
Chopticon starting quarterback Kevin McVerry made all the difference to his team, especially in the third quarter when he and Barber set up a touchdown with a 46-yard carry on third down and nine at the 50 yard line. Barber later scored on a three-yard carry, putting the hosts up 28-20.
“I just wish we could have done a little bit better this season and played as hard as we did tonight,” Barber said. “It’s too late now. We had to overcome some attitude problems and team work. I think we were all on different pages honestly. I think everyone realized it was the last time we’d all play together. We’re not going to playoffs, so we put it all on the line.”
McVerry shared quarterback duties with sophomore Donvyn Jordan.
“I just wanted to go out with a bang for my senior year and make it memorable,” McVerry said. “It’s been a long, tough season, but to go out like this on senior night means a lot. I just hope the team next year holds it down, don’t lighten up and play every game like it’s their last. I think tonight La Plata played their hearts out, but the turnovers killed them and we took advantage of them.”
Though the contest was won by Chopticon, La Plata had some fight left in it by charging down the field with just 1 minute 5 seconds remaining in the game.
Calvert connected with Pilkerton for 18 yards and Alex Hall for 14 yards to set up a first down at the Braves’ 34 yard line. Fitch caught a 17-yard pass for another first down and Calvert fired to Turner for a 17-yard touchdown. Fitch scored on a two-point conversion with four seconds remaining.
Fitch led with 20 carries for 119 yards, while Calvert was 17 of 42 passing for 291 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Chopticon’s defense also recovered La Plata fumbles.
La Plata head coach Patrick Hoiler said his team started the season talking about how to measure success.
“It’s a tricky question,” Hoiler said. “Players are the only ones who can actually know if they were successful or not regardless of wins and losses, I hope my seniors had a successful 2012. I am extremely proud of the way Dylan Turner ended his career [against Chopticon]. His best game of his career was his last and he earned it.”
The Warriors finish 1-9, 0-8 on the season. The lone victory came in a 42-2 victory over J.M. Bennett of Wicomico County in Week 2.