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