William Chrisman faced a dire situation in the final minute of the first half on Friday night. The Bears saw their 14-point lead in the first quarter turn into a five-point deficit and Staley was looking to tack on another touchdown just before halftime.
But three times near the 1-yard line, William Chrisman stuffed the Falcons as time ran out to end the half.
Pumped up from those defensive stops, William Chrisman came out in the third quarter and took its game to another level.
The Bears stopped Staley and unleashed two long touchdown plays that propelled William Chrisman to a 43-39 victory Friday evening at William Chrisman.
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“I am proud of my defense, proud of my offense, proud of everything we do,” said William Chrisman coach Scorpio Horn. “These guys deserve it. Our fans are terrific. Our administration is terrific. Everybody did a good job tonight.
“Staley is a good football team. They are well coached. They are hard to beat. We did it tonight.”
The Bears improved to 6-0, which guarantees William Chrisman’s first winning season since 1981. Staley dropped to 4-2.
“1981 was the year I was born,” Horn said. “It is special. I don’t know what to say.”
William Chrisman got a big play with 6:27 left in the third quarter. The Bears trailed 19-14 when senior quarterback James Bailey Jr. tossed a 57-yard touchdown strike to sophomore Tre’Vaughn Sisco that gave William Chrisman a 21-19 lead.
“It was really big,” said Bailey, who rushed for four touchdowns and threw for another score. “We were struggling for a while. Coach called the play. We have been working on it all week in practice, and fortunately I was able to dial it up and help our team.”
The backbreaker for Staley came about four minutes later. A couple of penalties by the Bears pinned them back on their own 1-yard line. Bailey rolled to his left, got free down the sidelines. He made one Staley tackler miss 60 yards into the run, and he kept going for a 99-touchdown run. The extra point by senior Ethan Freiley gave William Chrisman a 28-19 lead with 2:45 left in the third quarter.
With a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, William Chrisman continued to play gritty defense, particularly on Staley senior running back Julian Ross, who had three touchdowns and a 147 yards rushing in the first half.
“When adversity hit, we had to come together and not break down,” said William Chrisman junior defensive end Daniel Carson. “It was very important to get a stop just before halftime so we could capitalize in the third quarter.”
In the end, it was too much Bailey. When Staley scored on a 40-yard reception by Zach Elam to make it 36-26 with 4 minutes left, Bailey broke off a 42-yard run that put the ball at Staley’s 12. Five plays later, the Bears were back in the end zone on a 1-yard run by Bailey for a 43-26 lead with just over two minutes left in the game.
Staley concluded the game by scoring two touchdowns on pass receptions by Ross in the final two minutes.