VIRGINIA BEACH - Another slow start for the Chambersburg Cardinals had them down in the first quarter Saturday night, but true to form, the Cardinals rallied to win.
Chambersburg advanced to the third round of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) playoffs after beating the Hampton Roads Redskins 27-12 at the DLH Sports Complex.
The Cardinals will face the Central Penn Piranha at Trojan Stadium on Saturday in the Sweet 16 of the GDFL playoffs. The Piranha and the Cardinals have met once before this season - in week one - and the Piranha earned a narrow 24-17 victory.
"I felt good about it considering some of the guys we were missing and the injuries we were battling," Chambersburg coach Chad Fauson said, according to the team's website. "We played well in all three phases of the game. Our defense struggled a little bit, but that had mostly to do with injuries."
The Redskins (9-2) were the first to score when they blocked a punt and returned it for a 22-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. An unsuccessful two-point conversion gave Hampton Road just a six-point lead. The Cardinals' defense showed its strength when Louis Corum returned an interception to the Redskin 3. D'Andre Webb took advantage on the next play, rushing into the end zone, and Stephen Link put Chambersburg up 7-6 with the point-after.
But the lead lasted for less than 30 seconds. Redskins' receiver Bricson Gorum caught a pass on the next play and ran it all the way for a 70-yard score. Hampton Road attempted an unsuccessful two-point conversion, but it led 12-7 after one quarter.
"I wasn't worried about being behind," Fauson said. "I could tell with the demeanor of the team. Nobody believed that we weren't going to do it."
In the next three quarters, wide receiver Jerell Jones and Link were the stars of the show. Quarterback Bill Ashburn quickly found Jones on a 37-yard touchdown pass just three minutes into the second quarter, and Chambersburg claimed a 14-12 lead.
Link continued to add upon that lead, scoring two field goals, from the 16 and 21 yard lines.
With only an eight-point lead, Jones gave the Cardinals some insurance when Ashburn found him in the end zone with 2:54 left in the game.
"J.J. (Jerell Jones) had a great game and made some big plays," Fauson said. "We ran the ball pretty well. I think Bill played a fantastic game and did a good job of reading their defensive coverage."
In the remaining time, the Cardinals' defense dominated, earning three sacks and solidifying the win.
Information used in this story was provided by the Chambersburg Cardinals. Video used in this story is courtesy of www.ProArtsMedia.com.