Arawaks need big win over CAHS

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ST. THOMAS - The Charlotte Amalie High School football team can guarantee a spot in the territory championship with a win tonight.

If the Chickenhawks (5-0) beat the St. Thomas-St. John Private Schools Arawaks (3-1), they take the IAA St. Thomas-St. John division outright. The game is set for 7 p.m. at Lionel Roberts Stadium.

The Arawaks have a different idea. If they win tonight and beat St. Croix Educational Complex (1-2) next week, the Private Schools and CAHS will both finish the regular season at 5-1. (A Complex upset of Arawaks is unlikely based on the way the two teams have fared against common opponents.)

In the event of a tie in the standings between two teams that split a two-game series, point differential through both games breaks the tie, according to IAA president Mark Daniel.

CAHS holds the advantage. The Chickenhawks beat Arawaks 22-8 in October, so the Private Schools need to win by 17 in order to own the tiebreaker.

That's easier said than done. The Arawaks scored their lone touchdown against CAHS in the last minutes.

"We held them to zero up until like two minutes or a minute and change in the fourth quarter," CAHS coach Francisco Jarvis said, "so we can hold them scoreless. We just can't miss any tackles like we did last game. That's the only way they scored."

Arawaks coach Luke Neely is not going to change much schematically.

"I wouldn't necessarily say it's something they did," Neely said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. We weren't able to execute correctly, had false start penalties. We had a great week of practice so we're looking forward to the game."

The Arawaks have the ability to score big, as evidenced by their 44-0 rout of Ivanna Eudora Kean to start the season. Last week's rematch with Kean started similarly, when Arawaks posted 16 in the first quarter. They failed to score again and held on for a 16-12 win.

CAHS will face a much stiffer challenge than St. Croix Central gave it Saturday in a 52-0 blowout that ended in the second quarter. Jarvis expects his defense to meet the Arawaks' senior backfield tandem - Chris Cilliers and David McDonald - at the line of scrimmage.

"We need to physically dominate teams and a team like the Arawaks we have to physically get out there and ground pound," Jarvis said. "We have to control the clock with the run game and limit reps for their offense on the field, so that's our game plan - keep their offense off the field."

In three games, CAHS senior quarterback Elisha Arnold has made it easy for opposing offenses to get back on the field. It is not that he doesn't want the ball in his hands, Arnold just finds quick ways to get the Chickenhawks in the end zone.

Arnold was serving a suspension for a non-football related issue in the first game against Arawaks. Since then, he has accounted for 12 touchdowns - nine rushing, three passing - as CAHS has rolled through three teams by a combined score of 136-10.

Neely doesn't plan on having a linebacker spy Arnold, who is comfortable in the pocket but will not hesitate to take off.

"Anytime you've got a dual threat like that, it's gonna be tough, but yeah I'm confident in our guys," Neely said. "We pretty much try to stay within out scheme. We don't try to deviate from it. We have plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball."

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or

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