Nick Pierce, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – After dropping two close games in a row, the Chiles Timberwolves got back in rhythm Friday night, beating the Santa Fe Raiders 17-6.
“This was pretty much a must-win for us,” said Chiles coach Garrett Jahn. “Just from the standpoint of getting positive in the field house. If you were to lose this one, you go 1-5, and then you might start losing your locker room.”
The Timberwolves (2-4, 0-1) dominated defensively through four quarters. They held the run-oriented Raiders (2-4, 1-1) to only 99 yards of offense, holding them scoreless in the process. Santa Fe’s only points of the night came from a 56-yard interception return by Julien Cromwell for a touchdown.
“Our defense has stopped the run all year, so we knew we could do it tonight,” said Jahn. “This was our first Wing-T team we played, so we had to play really good assignment football, and we did that. We knew that if we were able to shut down the run game and try to make them do some gimmicky passes and stuff like that, we felt pretty good defensively.”
The first half was slow for both teams. The only score came from Chiles kicker Jack Meyer, who made a chip shot field goal with 2:14 to play in the second quarter.
The Timberwolves were able to create more separation in the second half. On Santa Fe’s first drive of the half, Nicholas Simmons picked off Raider quarterback Julien Cromwell. The defensive lineman returned it 56-yards for the first touchdown of the night.
Chiles’ offense also had more success in the second half. Quarterback Avery Thomas connected with Kamari Brown on a deep post-route for 42-yards. The play set up the Timberwolves at the Santa Fe 14 yard-line.
“Kamari Brown is a pretty fast kid,” said Jahn. “He can jump pretty high and has good height. He dropped a touchdown earlier tonight, but he redeemed himself and caught a great ball in the second half.”
Four plays later, on 4th down from the 10, Thomas threw a fade to the left corner of the end zone. Kris Reed came down with the ball to extend the Timberwolves lead to 17-0. Reed, who splits reps as a running back and wide receiver, had 95 total yards on the night.
“We knew offensively that we were going up against hard-hitting, fast guys, so we knew it was going to be a challenge, but we moved the ball pretty good all night,” said Jahn. “We had one deflected pass that got picked off, but other than that, I thought we had a pretty good overall football game.”
Chiles travels to Panama City next Friday to play Rutherford before taking on Leon the following week for their final district game of the season.