Colchester edges Essex

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Robbie Meslin, of the Essex Chargers, runs the ball during a game against the Colchester Catamounts Saturday at Bayside Park, where Essex fell 19-18. GEORGE HENRY

Robbie Meslin, of the Essex Chargers, runs the ball during a game against the Colchester Catamounts Saturday at Bayside Park, where Essex fell 19-18.
GEORGE HENRY

The Colchester Catamounts came from behind to defeat the Essex Chargers, 19-18, at Bayside Park on Saturday.

The Charger defense came out strong, stuffing the Catamounts on three straight plays and forcing a punt on fourth down. But the Catamounts intercepted the ball right back. The Charger defense, led by Alex Rizvanov and Noah Beckage, once again forced Colchester to punt the ball after three plays. On the ensuing possession, the Chargers fumbled the ball on their 15-yard line. The Catamounts took advantage and six plays later scored on a 2-yard run for a 6-0 lead.

On their next possession, the Chargers moved the ball to the Catamounts’ 26-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. This time it took Colchester only one play to score when Alex Murray got outside and went 54 yards for a 12-0 lead. The Chargers responded on their next drive when quarterback Cam Quinn (226 yards passing and two touchdown passes) connected with Edgar Koval on a 34-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 12-6, which remained the score until halftime.

Edgar Koval, of the Essex Chargers, tries to run through a tackle during a game against the Colchester Catamounts Saturday at Bayside Park, where Essex fell 19-18. GEORGE HENRY

Edgar Koval, of the Essex Chargers, tries to run through a tackle during a game against the Colchester Catamounts Saturday at Bayside Park, where Essex fell 19-18.
GEORGE HENRY

Early in the third quarter, Charger Robbie Meslin tied the score, 12-12, when he got outside the Colchester defense and broke several tackles from 19 yards out. Late in the third quarter, Essex took its first lead of the game when Quinn hit Isaac Johnson on a 23-yard touchdown pass to go ahead 18-12. But the Catamounts regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown and extra point to bring the score to 19-18.

While Colchester’s one-point lead held until the end of the game, the Chargers did not go down quietly. With 1:22 on the clock, Essex drove the ball down to the Colchester 8 before turning the ball over on fourth down. The Catamounts took a knee to end the game and preserve the 19-18 victory.

Defensive standouts in the game were Rizvanov, Beckage, Quinn, Maverick King, Brendan McCormack, Colby Garrett, Steve Seaver, Jared Almeida and Waylon Almeida. After the game, Offensive Coordinator Tom Downs and Defensive Coordinator Fred Dufresne told the team they were proud of their effort.

“We have lost two weeks in a row to two of the toughest teams in the league by one point,” Downs said. “We are showing that we can play with any team in the league.”

With the loss, the Chargers drop their record to 3-3.

This week, the Chargers will play the undefeated Burlington Seahorses in the Essex Bowl, the Chargers version of homecoming, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Maple Street Park.

Samuel Foster, of the Essex Chargers, runs the ball during a game against the Colchester Catamounts Saturday at Bayside Park, where Essex fell 19-18. GEORGE HENRY

Samuel Foster, of the Essex Chargers, runs the ball during a game against the Colchester Catamounts Saturday at Bayside Park, where Essex fell 19-18.
GEORGE HENRY