RADNOR — It's never easy to keep a great player in check.
Sometimes, you can prevent him from doing damage for a half. Sometimes, it might be even three quarters, or, as Chichester did Friday night to Radnor standout slot receiver Jack Wilson, about 46 minutes of play.
Those great players, though, earn that title because no matter what, they seem to find a way to make big things happen. Take Wilson, for example. His early damage was limited to a 1-yard touchdown run and a 27-yard field goal, which had to feel good for the Eagles.
With 1:46 to go, they felt fine. With 10.5 seconds to go, they felt sick as they watched Wilson and the Raiders celebrate a game-tying touchdown that culminated a made-for-TV drive. One extra point later — courtesy of, well, you can guess by now — and Radnor cemented a 16-15 nonleague home win.
"We played our hearts out, and at the end of the day, we stuck together. They just made one more play than us,' Chichester dominant two-way lineman Colin McAllister said.
The Raiders (3-1) did that by going to the man they seemed to ignore after a sluggish first half. Wilson was limited to five yards on four carries — including a six-yard loss on a backward pass — and one catch for four yards. When push came to shove, though, Raiders quarterback Chris Leighton knew where to go.
Radnor's defense forced a three-and-out and burned all of its timeouts to get the ball back with 1:46. Leighton dropped back and found a wide-open Wilson right up the seam for a diving 43-yard catch to set up shop at the Eagles' 19. Three plays later, Wilson kept the drive alive on fourth down by somehow snaring a pass thrown behind him on a wheel route right at the first-down marker.
Wilson wasn't done there, though. Two plays later, he drew a horse-collar penalty on a sweep and with 10.5 ticks to go, broke free from man coverage on a pick play for a six-yard TD to set himself up for the extra point.
All in a day's work for the future Maryland lacrosse midfielder.
"(Leighton) just threw it to me and I just wanted the ball in my hands to find the end zone,' said Wilson, who finished with four catches for 63 yards and all 16 Radnor points. "I knew they lost me (on the 43-yard catch). I didn't see the safety and he got a nice shot on me, but I pulled it in and didn't drop it. I knew they were keying on me, but I had to find a way to make a play. It's a new team, new chemistry. We love to fight and we love to win. That's it.
Wilson's heroics prevented a phenomenal Radnor defensive effort from going to waste. The Raiders limited the Eagles (2-2) to a scant 102 total yards of offense, led by middle linebacker Dario Falcone's three tackles for loss. Chichester got a 30-yard touchdown from Kevin Miller to pull ahead 15-9 with 10:23 to go, but other than that, the Eagles had little room for anything.
"No one has a perfect game,' Falcone said in reference to Miller's touchdown. "They're going to have plays where they get up on you, but I think it's a testament to our defense that we were able to get back up, get on the horse and keep pounding on them and just hold them after that.'
And on the other side, it was McAllister and Chichester with dejected looks, but already moving on with an eye toward their league schedule.
"We came out as a team with one goal in mind and that's to win,' McAllister said. "We didn't win one (Friday), but we've got (the) Del Val (schedule) coming up and that's our main goal.'