CHARLESTON -- Charleston's defense came up big when it mattered Friday night.
The Tigers stopped a two-point conversion with 20 seconds remaining to hold on to a 36-34 victory over the previously unbeaten Cedarville Pirates in a 3A-1 Conference game at Alumni Field.
"We have been playing well in the second half, but I'd like for us to play well in the first half, too," Charleston Coach Ricky May said. "I don't know what it is, but we have had a second-half mentality all year. The kids have responded at halftime and we were able to come away with a win."
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Scott completed 11 of 15 passes for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Tigers (3-2, 2-0). He also rushed 57 yards and a score on 17 carries. Dalton Curtis was on the receiving end of both scoring passes and finished with three receptions for 61 yards.
Cedarville (4-1, 1-1) was guided by junior Darryl Kattich. He had 25 carries for 196 yards and a touchdown. Hayden Partain also rushed 13 times for 81 yards and two scores. Bruce Turney also had a rushing touchdown and caught four passes for 55 yards and another score for the Pirates.
Cedarville started its final drive at its own 27 with 5:27 left to play. Kattich scored from the 4 with 20 seconds left, but on the ensuing two-point attempt, Kattich was caught in the backfield.
"It was a heartbreaker," Cedarville Coach Max Washausen said. "I loved the fight I saw from the team. We got down and we tied it back up. We drove down and scored and it came down to the two-point conversion. It wasn't just that one play though it was plays throughout the game. We just didn't finish the game overall."
It came down to one play for Cedarville to tie the game in the final moments of Friday night's game, but it was the Charleston defense that came up big one final time.
Cedarville scored a touchdown with 20 seconds left but couldn't convert a game-tying two-point conversion. That allowed Charleston to hold on for a 36-34 victory in a Class 3A-1 Conference matchup at Alumni Field.
Cedarville trailed 28-14 early in the fourth quarter before rallying to tie the game at 28-28. Partain scored on a 4-yard run with a two-point conversion by Kattich to get within 28-22.
Charleston fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which then set up a 28-yard touchdown run from Partain to tie the game at 28-28 with eight minutes left to play.
The Tigers took the lead for good when Scott hit Curtis for a 31-yard scoring pass on a fourth-and-19 play. Breckon Ketter converted the two-point conversion.
"I don't know what changed for him in the second half, but I'm glad he figured it out," May said of Scott. "The staff was able to put him into positive situations and he settled down a little bit after he was running the ball. He isn't playing like a sophomore."
May was impressed with Curtis, who had all of his production on offense in the second half.
"He had a really good game for us," May said of Curtis. "He started the year at the quarterback position. He had to miss a game early and has jumped in to be a wide receiver and defensive back where we really needed him the worst. He is a winner and unselfish."
Charleston then was able to push its lead all the way to 28-14 with the 34-yard fumble return from Ketter with 10 minutes left in the game.
Cedarville was looking to make history on Friday trying to go 5-0 for the first time in program history and to beat Charleston for the first time since 1985.
"We've put everything we have into this program building it back up and this was a big game," Washausen said. "We had a chance. It's a tough one, but we got a lot of football left to play this season. We felt like this was a second-round playoff game, so this was good experience in a big game."
Charleston 36, Cedarville 34
Cedar — Turney 18 pass from Dickens (run failed), 7:05
Charl — Bre. Ketter 18 run (Taggart kick), 10:38
Cedar — Turney 28 run (Kattich pass from Dickens), 3:42
Charl — Scott 11 run (Taggart kick), 7:52
Charl — Curtis 23 pass from Scott (Taggart kick), 10:54
Charl — Brec. Ketter 34 fumble return (Taggart kick), 10:00
Cedar — Partain 4 run (Kattich run), 8:34
Cedar — Partain 28 (run failed), 8:12
Charl — Curtis 31 pass from Scott (Brec. Ketter run), 5:35
Cedar — Kattich 4 run (run failed), :20