Chargers speed to win over Bulldogs

Mindy Carls
Chargers Josh Hutton, left, and Brandon Larson, right, sandwich Carmi-White County Bulldog Ethan Healy on a sweep in the second quarter of the varsity game on Friday, Sept. 19, at McKendree University, Lebanon. Healy gained only three yards on the play, and the Bulldogs had to punt.

Here’s one of the consequences of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity:

A four-hour bus ride home seems shorter with a victory to celebrate. The bigger the victory, the shorter the ride.

After their 46-6 win over Carmi-White County on Friday, Sept. 19, the Orion varsity raced home at the speed of light.

The game was played at McKendree University in Lebanon, located at approximately equal distances from both Orion and Carmi, which is at the point where Illinois touches both Indiana and Kentucky.

Charger coach Jason VanHoutte had been hoping his squad would bounce back strong after a disappointing loss at Macomb the week before.

“You never know how they’ll respond to a loss,” he said. “We hadn’t lost a regular-season game in two years.”

On Friday night, the Chargers showed him a great attitude as they took a team that finished 8-2 last year.

Orion had the ball first, only to give it up on an interception. Carmi-White County marched 59 yards in six plays to go up 6-0 at 7:15 in the first quarter, but a bad snap cost the Bulldogs a chance to kick the extra point.

The Chargers needed only 12 seconds to tie the score. Back deep to receive, Kennen Hutchison did not hear a coach telling to back up even more.

Hutchison turned out to be in the right place. He broke through the Bulldogs for an 87-yard touchdown.

That was the first of Hutchison’s five touchdowns. He scored on rushes of four, seven and 32 yards, and he caught a pass from Josh Hutton for 13 yards.

Oh, and he also intercepted a pass in the end zone to prevent a Carmi-White County score in the third quarter.

The Chargers hit paydirt on seven of their nine possessions. They turned the ball over once and punted once.

Also scoring were Matt Knoll, who bulled into the end zone from the 1, and Kaleb Hougland, who dashed over the goal line from 10 yards out.

The Chargers rolled up 349 yards of total offense, 266 on 35 rushing attempts and 83 on nine pass completions.

Hutchison paced the Chargers with 77 yards on 12 rushes, but Knoll was right behind with 74 yards on eight attempts.

Hutton had 35 yards on four plays; Matt Markezich, 33 on three runs; Brad Walker, 21 on three snaps; Jordan Adkins, 18 on three tries; and Hougland, eight on two rushes.

The Bulldogs gained 166 yards on 50 runs.

Hutton completed nine of 12 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

He found Ian Cooper twice for 23 yards, Hutchison three times for 22 yards, Brandon Larson twice for 21 yards and Knoll twice for 17 yards.

Carmi-White County completed one of three passes for 37 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Chargers racked up 26 first downs to 11 for the Bulldogs.

Each team had one interception.

The Chargers were at midfield when the Bulldogs picked off Hutton.

“Josh took a chance on first down,” VanHoutte said. “He knows not to do that. After that, he made good reads and good throws.”

Carmi-White County ran sweeps and used double handoffs during the first touchdown drive, which culminated in a 37-yard pass to Brian Watts six points.

After Hutchison’s kickoff return put and Hutton’s extra-point kick put Orion in the lead, the Charger defense stopped the Bulldogs on downs at the Orion 30. Adkins and Hutton made the stop on a sweep to the left.

Taking over 70 yards from paydirt, the Chargers had to overcome a 10-yard holding penalty to reach midfield. On third-and-inches at the Orion 40, the offensive line pushed Carmi-White County back far enough for Hutton to gain three yards on a quarterback sneak.

As the second quarter began, Cooper dove for a 14-yard pass that put the ball in Bulldog territory.

Knoll gained seven yards, Huthcison nine and Adkins 11.

A flag for encroachment gave Orion five yards. With the ball at the 9, Hutton passed to Knoll. He was knocked down at the 1, but on the next play he blasted up the middle for six points.

Hutton kicked the extra point with just over nine minutes to go in the second period.

The Charger defense forced the Bulldogs to go three-and-out on their next possession. A sweep to the left failed to advance the ball, and a counter ended with Tyler DeDecker dropping the runner a yard behind the line of scrimmage. On a sweep to the right, the ballcarrier found himself lifted off the ground by Hutton and Larson.

After making Carmi-White County punt from its own 31, Orion had the ball at midfield. Hutton passed to Larson for 14 yards, and three plays later Hutton gained 21 yards on the left side to the 13.

He passed to Hutchison for the touchdown and then kicked the extra point that put Orion up 21-6.

The Bulldogs again went three-and-out, punting to the Chargers with 1:56 to go in the first half.

Knoll took off for 12 yards on a run, but then Hutton treated Charger fans to an aerial show. He completed five passes in a row to set up the final

touchdown of the half.

The first pass went to Larson, who gained seven yards before getting out of bounds to stop the clock.

Hutton zipped two balls to Hutchison, one for four yards and one for five to the Carmi-White County 22.

The next pass was good for nine yards to Knoll, and the pass after that was completed for nine yards to Cooper.

Getting out of bounds at the 4-yard line, Cooper stopped the clock with 55 seconds to go in the half.

Hutchison then went off tackle to the left and zipped untouched into the end zone.

The extra-point attempt failed, but the Chargers still had a 27-6 lead to take into intermission.

When the second half began, the Bulldogs marched from their own 26 to the Charger 16 on nine plays.

On fourth-and-3, Carmi-White County put the ball in the air only to have it come down in Hutchison’s hands in the end zone.

The Chargers had to punt on their next possession, but then the defense stopped the Bulldogs near midfield.

On the last two plays before the Bulldogs punted, Chargers Cody Williams and DeDecker each had a tackle for a two-yard loss.

Carmi-White County launched a short punt, giving Orion possession at its own 45.

After the Chargers picked up a first down, Knoll gained 25 yards on a counter to the right side. Walker ripped off 13 yards up the middle, and Hutchison raced seven yards on the left for a touchdown to boost the Orion lead to 33-6.

Bulldog Ethan Healy blocked the extra-point kick.

On the next Carmi-White County possession, Orion’s John Taylor got into the backfield and dropped the runner three yards behind the line of scrimmage on third down. The Bulldogs had to punt for the fourth time.

The Chargers needed only three snaps for their next score. Knoll reeled off 15 yards on the right side, and a penalty for facemasking added another 15 yards to the Bulldog 38.

Markezich gained six yards, and Hutchison got loose on the left side for a 32-yard touchdown run.

After forcing their opponents to punt one more time, the Charger reserves had a chance to show what they could do on offense.

Markezich gained 13 yards and Walker, seven.

After a two-yard loss, the Chargers gave the ball to Markezich again. He ground out 14 yards on the right.

Walker picked up nine yards to the Bulldog 10, and from there Hougland went off the left side for the touchdown.

Hutton’s kick was good to close out the scoring.