On the offensive Chargers establish footing in developmental football league

The Chargers’ defense prepares to blitz the Venom quarterback July 19.

Things are going pretty well for the Carolina Chargers football team in their inaugural season.

The Chargers are approaching the end of their debut season in the Gridiron Developmental Football League and have a chance to finish with a 5-5 record. The team fell to 3-5 on the year July 19 with a loss to the Carolina Venom, one of only seven undefeated teams in the 39-team league. The Venom is also one of only three teams that has won a league leading eight games.

The Chargers held their own in the game. In the final five minutes of play the team mounted a strong drive to the Venom 35-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Venom then managed to drain the clock and earn a 16-8 win.

In all, four of the Chargers’ losses this season have been by margins of eight points or less. With a 2-3 mark in the Midway Division, the team is tied for second place in its division. Its remaining two games on the schedule are road contests against a pair of teams the Chargers have already defeated this season, the Rock Hill Scorpions and the South Carolina Bulls.

Even more encouraging for Chargers’ owner Lisa Drake and her coaching staff is the team now has approximately 70 players. The majority of those are from the Charleston Lowcountry but some are relatively new to the area.

The Summerville-based team has many players who once suited up for local high schools including Summerville, Fort Dorchester, Ashley Ridge, Stall, North Charleston, Hanahan, Goose Creek, Stratford, Berkeley, Timberland and Wando.

They play for different reasons.

“I just love football,” running back/receiver Bryan Glover said. “I’ve played since I was little so I just love the sport. It’s a lot of fun and it can help get you ready for other things.”

For many the allure of the Chargers is the team may help them get noticed by a college or professional scout.

“Basically I’m trying to get to the next level,” lineman Rodney Chaplin Jr. said. “I didn’t get as much playing time as I would have liked when I was at Summerville so this is another shot for me to show what I can do. I lost a lot of weight since I first played in high school so I’m hoping if I do well with this team I can get noticed.”

He says playing in the league isn’t always easy, but it’s exciting.

“It’s challenging,” he said. “You face guys who have played in other leagues and who have a lot of experience and some teams have some really big guys.”

Members of the team with ties to Summerville include Glover, Chaplin, Trevon Jackson, EJ Watson, Chris Wilson, Johnathon Jenkins, Reginald Henry, Matt Vincent and Demetrias Sherman.

Players with ties to Ashley Ridge include Devontay Tuffelmire and Jonathon McKnight. Players with ties to Fort Dorchester include Keeyon Dixon, Tim Brown and Brian Williams.