EFL Home 2004 Season Week 11
Delaware State Clues, October 25, 2004

Cherries Top Washington for Second Straight Win

by Nonnie Abu’Daba
Charlie Batch’s last second pass went off the finger tips of wide receiver Tim Carter in the end zone enabling the Delaware Cherries (5-6) to escape with a 24-17 win in Washington over the Capitols (5-6). On the previous play Batch had found Carter for a 30-yard pickup to the Cherries’ 14 yard line. With no timeouts left Batch had hustled the Capitols to the line of scimmage for the decisive pass attempt as the seconds that remained ticked away.

The Cherries, who never trailed and won a second game in a row for the first time this season, broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Daniel Graham. The drive featured a 70-yard romp off tackle by LaDainian Tomlinson. After forcing the Capitols to punt, Delaware drove 54 yards in 7 plays for a touchdown on an 18-yard Tomlinson run to go ahead by 14 with 12:21 left in the game.

Including that run Tomlinson finished with 197 yards on the ground on 22 carries, plus 49 though the air on 5 catches. One of those catches, a 2-yarder in the second quarter, was Tomlinson’s first touchdown reception of the season.

Down 24-10, Washington cut the deficit in half with 6:03 remaining on a 9-yard pass from Batch to Todd Pinkston. Then, for the second straight final quarter possession, the Cherries failed to gain a first down — thanks perhaps to unnecessarily conservative play calling. After a Dirk Johnson punt, Washington took over on their own 22 with 3:02 to go for what would be their last drive.

Penalties almost proved to be the Cherries’ undoing. They were flagged 10 times for 79 yards. The most costly penalty was for running into Washington punter Sean Landeta. That penalty nullified a touchdown by Dante Hall on a 77-yard punt return with 1:52 left in the first half.

Had the score counted, it would have put Delaware up 17-0, and Washington might have folded — especially since the Capitols would lose starting signal caller Daunte Culpepper to injury in the third quarter. This game was the first this season in which the Cherries knocked the opposing quarterback out of the game. Culpepper is expected to play for the Capitols next week in Atlantic City.

( Box Score | Chart )