Beasley, Vik­ings rush past Eas­ton

Dorchester Star - - SPORTS - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — He is fast and quick, shifty and elu­sive.

And at times, Kha­lik Beasley can just be down­right de­flat­ing. Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High’s ju­nior run­ning back car­ried 20 times for 256 yards and three long touch­down runs that an­swered Eas­ton scores Fri­day night, as the Vik­ings ce­mented the No. 2 seed in the Class 1A East Re­gion play­offs with a 47-28 vic­tory over their long­time ri­val.

“The kid’s a phe­nom­e­nal ath­lete,” Cam­bridge-SD head coach Gaven Parker said of Beasley, who paced the Vik­ings’ 421-yard rush­ing per­for­mance. “He’s built for this. He’s built dif­fer­ent. He’s on the field 98 per­cent of the time. He never comes off; never com­plains. He just does a phe­nom­e­nal job. When we need it, we give him the ball and he takes care of the rest.”

Down 6-0, Beasley helped the Vik­ings (7-3) take a lead they never re­lin­quished with 3 min­utes, 50 sec­onds re­main­ing in the first quar­ter, when he took a dive up the mid­dle, broke left, then busted loose for a 69-yard touch­down dash. Drew Warfield’s point-af­ter kick nudged Cam­bridge-SD to a 7-6 lead.

But it was in the sec­ond half, when the War­riors (46) were try­ing to sus­tain mo­men­tum, that Beasley re­ally gave the Vik­ings what they needed, an­swer­ing two Eas­ton touch­downs.

Cam­bridge-SD scored twice in the fi­nal 2:27 of the first half to carry a 20-6 lead into the locker room. A short Eas­ton punt set up a six-play, 43-yard drive capped by Cam­ren Lake’s 10-yard touch­down run for a 13-6 lead.

Just three plays later, Eas­ton quar­ter­back Ryan O’Con­nor, while scram­bling out of trou­ble, flicked a pass that was

in­ter­cepted by Don­ald Banks at the Eas­ton 40. The Vik­ings cap­i­tal­ized, quar­ter­back Jyquan Far­rare (3 of 4, 31 yards) hit­ting Lo­gan Mid­dle­ton with a 27-yard touch­down pass with 28 sec­onds left in the half.

But Eas­ton closed its deficit on its first sec­ond-half pos­ses­sion. O’Con­nor (13 of 36, 212 yards, two touch­downs) con­nected with Grant Cop­per (five re­cep­tions, 106 yards) for a 39-yard pickup that ig­nited a seven-play, 62-yard march,

punc­tu­ated by O’Con­nor’s 7-yard scor­ing strike to Mar­quii Thomp­son on fourth-and­six 1:50 into the third quar­ter. Alex Stecher-Scott’s ex­tra point made it 20-12.

The War­riors con­tin­ued build­ing mo­men­tum as the Vik­ings took pos­ses­sion at their 19-yard line. Eas­ton’s Thatcher Knox dropped Dario Belizaire for a 9-yard loss on first down. Beasley ran for 15, but then was tack­led for a 5-yard loss, set­ting up fourth-and-9 at the 20. For a brief mo­ment it ap­peared the War­riors might get a short field when the snap to punter Ma­lik En­nals sailed high. But En­nals snagged the high snap

and broke 18 yards down the left side for a first down. Beasley did the rest, veer­ing left and rac­ing 54 yards for a touch­down on the next play. Warfield’s PAT made it 27-13.

“Once I hit the hole, it’s al­ways op­tions,” Beasley said. “You ei­ther got to cut back or I could just fol­low one of my block­ers. Most of the time I like to cut back. I find the hole and I hit it as hard as I can, keep driv­ing un­til it breaks and then I get loose.

“It’s all vi­sion,” added Beasley, who ap­peared to be penned in on a num­ber of car­ries through­out the game, only to slip through a crease for big yards or big points. “I

use my pe­riph­eral (vi­sion) real well. Once I see them com­ing, I don’t want to get hit ob­vi­ously, so I just bounce out, make the cut and then run hard.”

Eas­ton looked ready to re­ply, driv­ing from its 49 to the Vik­ing 22. But on first down, O’Con­nor’s pass in­tended for Tahjiere Nixon was picked off by Cam­bridge-SD’s Jay’zon But­ler.

The War­riors forced Cam­bridge-SD to punt and re­gained the ball at their 36 with 3:07 left in the third quar­ter. The O’Con­nor-to-Cop­per con­nec­tion worked for 33 yards. Af­ter an in­com­ple­tion, O’Con­nor ran for 24 yards. Two plays later, Colin Webb scored on a 2-yard run. Cop­per hauled in O’Con­nor’s two-point con­ver­sion toss and Eas­ton was within 27-21 with 1:49 left in the third.

“They had us on a few of those slants,” Parker said. “But Ryan O’Con­nor is good. You give them space and they just fin­ish. And we knew that. But de­fen­sively, when it mat­tered, we beared down and got the stops we needed.”

Both teams traded punts be­fore the Vik­ings took over on their 20. On first down, Beasley slanted left, cut right and hit the jets for an 80-yard touch­down bolt that re­stored Cam­bridge-SD’s two-score lead at 33-21 with 9:29 left.

Eas­ton landed yet an­other coun­ter­punch, when Thomp­son (5 catches, 62 yards) ran a slant, latched onto O’Con­nor’s pass and took off to com­plete a 25-yard scor­ing play. Stecher-Scott’s PAT pulled the War­riors within 33-28.

Eas­ton wouldn’t score again af­ter O’Con­nor threw his 23rd — and fi­nal — touch­down pass of the sea­son.

Lake showed he too had speed, break­ing up the mid­dle for a 22-yard touch­down jaunt with 6:15 left — Far­rare hit Tranell Clan­ton with the two-point con­ver­sion throw — then get­ting sprung up the mid­dle for a 23-yard scor­ing run with 1:41 re­main­ing.

“We had a great week of prac­tice, and I think it showed up of­fen­sively,” Parker said. “The boys up front did a phe­nom­e­nal job, mak­ing sure Kha­lik … Kha­lik don’t need much (space).

“But we’ve got a great cast around him,” Parker added. “We have a lot of un­selfish guys. We’ve got Shamar Young, Ma­lik (En­nals). You’ve got Dario (Belizaire), Cam­ren Lake. There’s just five or six guys, they just grind ev­ery week and they push each other. You can put one in and not lose any­thing. I mean ob­vi­ously you try to get Kha­lik the ball, but the other guys … You know you just can’t play Kha­lik be­cause as soon as you just play Kha­lik, one of the other guys (can break loose).

“Just a great team win,” Parker said. “Hope­fully we can carry that mo­men­tum into the play­offs. I’m re­ally proud of the guys. We just did a great job.”

Cam­bridge-SD will host No. 3 Per­ryville on Fri­day at 6:30 p.m. in a 1A East semi­fi­nal.

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Cam­bridge-SD’s Kha­lik Beasley (1) car­ried 20 times for 256 yards and three touch­downs dur­ing Fri­day’s 47-28 vic­tory over Eas­ton.

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