Charlestown's Antonyo Gaddie ran for 104 of his 124 yards in the second half to boost the Pirates.
The Charlestown High School football team may well live by the motto “it ain’t over til it’s over.”
Charlestown needed a fourth-quarter rally for the second straight week, slipping past host North Harrison 18-7 Friday night in the Class 3-A Sectional 31 final.
Charlestown (10-2), winners of its second sectionals in the last three seasons, will play host to next week’s regional against the Heritage Hills-Gibson Southern winner.
Just as they did last week against Brownstown, the Pirates trailed midway through the final quarter.
“They were the better team for the first three quarters, quite honestly,” Charlestown coach Darin Ward said. “The main thing is we definitely played 48 minutes. We’re going to play the game all the way to the end. I think it says a lot about our seniors and their desire and fortitude to compete and go win.”
With North Harrison (4-7) leading 7-6 and driving deep into Charlestown territory, Eli Daniel came up with an interception at the 10.
“Pass is always my first read,” Daniel said. “I dropped back and caught the ball.”
After Daniel’s interception, the Pirates got their running game in gear.
During the drive, Antonyo Gaddie ran 10 times for 80 yards but the Pirates faced a third-and-5 at the 6.
Quarterback Tristan Chester then ran a bootleg to the right and while approaching the sideline threw across his body to Eli Daniel in the end zone with 7:42 left.
“He booted right,” Daniel said. “I don’t know how he saw me but he did and he made one heck of a throw. I’m just so glad I caught that thing. I was wide open.”
The Pirates went ahead 12-7.
“That was a big third-down scramble,” Ward said. “We were kicking around the idea of going for the field goal (on fourth down), just to take the lead.”
Then, just as they did a week ago, the Pirates followed the go-ahead TD with an interception.
This time, sophomore Bradley Laffoon intercepted a pass at the North Harrison 22-yard line with 3:40 left.
Charlestown pushed the ball down to the 4, where Chester went in on a sneak with 1:56 left.
Ward complimented North Harrison.
“I have to commend North Harrison,” Ward said. “They’re a much improved team than when we played them in Week 4. They were very physical and brought their A game.”
The Pirates took advantage of a first-quarter blocked punt and scored on a 6-yard run by Gaddie.
But Charlestown couldn’t muster must more offense until the fourth quarter.
North Harrison went ahead in the second quarter on a 4-yard run by Sam Best.
North Harrison coach Mark Williamson said he was proud of his team and its effort.
“We played toe to toe with them,” Williamson said. “That (Charlestown) team is the best team we’ve played since I’ve been here.”
Although they finished 4-7, Williamson they were so close to a winning season, considering they lost three games on the final play.
“We overcame a lot of adversity,” he said.
Charlestown – Antonyo Gaddie 7 run (pass failed); NH – Sam Best 4 run (Jack Phelps kick); Charlestown- Eli Daniel 6 pass from Tristan Chester (run failed); Charlestown – Chester 4 run (run failed)