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Charleroi Area closes on big winning note

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Charleroi's Eric Johnson (2) makes an interception off a deflection from Brownsville's Davontae Stafford (21) during the first quarter with the help of Charleroi's Chris Axton (33) on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012.

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By Brian Herman
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 12:43 a.m.

If Friday's 35-7 Class AA Interstate Conference romp over Brownsville at Cougar Stadium in the season finale is any indication, the future looks bright for Charleroi Area High's football team.

All five of Charleroi's touchdowns were scored by underclassmen.

“Losing only four seniors it was a promising night,” said first-year Charleroi coach Ed Jenkins. “This was a peek into the future if we continue to work hard. It should be a stepping stone.”

While the offense was enjoying its best night of the season, the Cougars' defense came close to making some history.

Charleroi came within nine seconds of posting its first shutout since a 35-0 triumph at Burgettstown on Sept. 24, 2004.

Charleroi's last shutout at home was Oct. 25, 2002 in a 14-0 win over Brownsville.

Sharing the spotlight on offense for Charleroi (2-7, 2-6) were juniors Brandon Bowman, Eric Johnson and Alec Long and sophomores Matt Carr, Greg Arnold and Robert Lynn.

Making his second start at quarterback, Carr completed four of 10 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns.

Carr fired touchdown passes of 53 yards to Lynn to open the scoring in the second quarter and teamed with Long on a 59-yarder with 3:57 remaining to make it 34-0 before Matt Woytovich converted his fifth extra point to put the running clock into effect.

Bowman scored the Cougars' other six-pointers on two one-yard runs in the second quarter and a two-yarder in the third quarter.

Johnson finished with a team-high 65 yards on six carries while Arnold tacked on 62 yards on 12 rushes.

Arnold's numbers would have been a lot better if he hadn't had an 80-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter wiped out by a holding penalty.

After a scoreless first quarter, Charleroi got on the board on the first play of the second quarter when Carr hit Lynn for a 53 yard score.

Johnson set up the Cougars' second touchdown with the first of his two interceptions, returning it 44 yards to the Falcons' 18.

Four plays later, Bowman went in from the one.

Bowman recovered a fumble by freshman quarterback Marcellis Grooms to set up Charleroi's third TD.

Despite three penalties, Charleroi drove 50 yards with Carr passes of 42 yards to Jim Diaz and 22 yards to Lynn the big gainer.

The latter put the ball on the Brownsville one where Bowman, a 6-2, 220-pounder, took it in.

Charleroi made it 28-0 in the opening 90 seconds of the second half with Johnson's 34-yard run starting a four-play 38-yard drive with Bowman going the last two.

Brownsville (0-9, 0-8) averted the shutout when Grooms scampered 57 yards on third down with nine seconds remaining.

‘We wanted to start fast and stay fast,” said Jenkins. “Arnold is going to be a good one and Carr was making only his second start.

“This was a learning experience for everyone,” he added. “We laid the foundation and the kids stayed the course. I think we'll be OK next year.”

LEFTOVERS: Charleroi snapped a seven-game home losing streak. The Cougars are 2-7 in their new home. Both wins were over the Falcons. Charleroi was handed a U.S. Army rivalry trophy with the victory after the contest. The Cougars finished with 351 total offense yards, including 175 on the ground. Brownsville had 175 yards with 160 on the ground. Grooms had a game-high 81 yards on six carries. The Falcons' Tyler Brumley had punts of 65 and 61 yards.

Brian Herman is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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