Story by Rob Calhoun

Photos/Video interviews by Chet Piotrowski

Charleston held off a Taylorville rally to win its first Apollo Conference game of the season over Taylorville, 34-28, on Homecoming at Trojan Hill.

Charleston scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull ahead by two scores. 

First, Nate Shrader scored his third touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run. 

After Jack Nelson’s second interception of the game, Collin Patterson found the end zone on a 4-yard run to give the Trojans a 34-21 lead with 1:52 left in the game.

Taylorville did not give up, though.

The Tornadoes scored in seven plays on a 37-yard pass from Heimsness to Hunter Gerlick to get to within six with 23 seconds left.  Taylorville recovered an onside kick and got the ball to the Charleston 28.  After two incomplete passes, Heimsness scrambled away from heavy pressure and threw the ball to the end zone, but the Trojans knocked it down and held on for the victory.

Charleston had its first 100-yard rusher of the season.  Shrader rushed for 126 yards to go along with his three touchdowns. The offensive line of Alex Stout, Brody Rankin, Owen Gerdes, Eldon Hatfield, and Aiden Archibald opened big holes for the ground attack.

Taylorville had taken the opening kickoff of the game at the Charleston 8-yard line in the first quarter and assembled an impressive, time-consuming drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock and lasted 17 plays.   Quarterback Kamren Heimsness scored on a 1-yard run to give the Tornadoes a 6-0 lead after a missed extra point.

The Trojans did not waste much time in getting their first score.  Charleston mixed the run and pass on their opening drive. Early in the second quarter, the Trojans scored on a Jack Nelson 9-yard run to take a 7-6 lead after the converted extra point.

Taylorville was moving the ball again before committing their first miscue of the game.  On third and four, a bad snap resulted in a seven-yard loss, forcing the Tornadoes to punt.  A 38-yard punt return by Wyatt Strader set Charleston up on the Taylorville 47.  Charleston scored nine plays later on an 11-yard touchdown run.  The drive was kept alive on a fourth-down, 16-yard conversion pass from Jack Nelson to Luke Nelson.

Charleston varsity head coach Jerry Payne celebrates a touchdown Friday night.

The Tornadoes were able to strike quick before the end of the half.  Seven plays and 74 yards later, Karter Ostermeier threw a 23-yard pass to Jaden Mathon on a halfback option.  A reverse on the two-point conversion on a run by Seth Hughes tied the score at the half at 14.

Charleston went three-and-out on their opening second half possession.  Taylorville was moving the ball on the opening drive of the third quarter before Jack Nelson intercepted a pass from Heimsness and returned the ball to the Charleston 33.  It took the Trojans 13 plays to connect on the only touchdown of the quarter with a 1-yard run from Shrader to make it 21-14.

The Tornadoes struck back to begin the final quarter of play.  Taylorville drove 80 yards in just nine plays as Heimsness scored his second rushing touchdown of the game.  This time it was from six yards out to tie the game at 21.

Taylorville saw Heimsness throw for 213 yards and rush for 78 on the ground.  The Tornadoes were excellent on third down conversions, going 11-15.

Charleston is 2-4 on the year and 1-3 in the Apollo.  Taylorville is also 2-4 and 1-3 in conference.  The Trojans will face Mattoon on Friday at EIU’s O’Brien Field at 7 p.m.

Listen to Rob Calhoun for every Charleston High football game on Victory 103.9

13:01OPPKamren Heimsness1RunKick Missed06
210:06CHSJack Nelson9RunConnor Woodley76
 22:13CHSNate Shrader11RunConnor Woodley146
 20:25OPPJaden Mathon23Pass From Karter OstermeierSeth Hughes Run1414
32:03CHSNate Shrader1RunConnor Woodley2114
411:00OPPKamren Heimsness6RunKamren Heimsness2121
4 7:15CHSNate Shrader6RunConnor Woodley2821
4 1:52CHSCollin Patterson4RunKick Missed3421
4 0:23OPPHunter Gerlick37Pass Kamren HeimsnessKamren Heimsness3428


Charleston: Nate Shrader 22-126 3 TD’s; Jeremiah Hayes 7-27; Jack Nelson 10-8 1 TD; Hunter White 1-7; Collin Patterson 1-4 1 TD; Connor Woodley 1-(-9)

Taylorville: Kamren Heimsness 25-78 2 TD’s; Karter Ostermeier 11-24; Seth Hughes 2-5


Charleston: Jack Nelson 9-13 125

Taylorville: Kamren Heimsness 16-28 213 1 TD 2 INT; Karter Ostermeier 1-1 23 1 TD


Charleston: Luke Nelson 5-76; Wyatt Strader 3-32; Nate Shrader 1-17

Taylorville: Jaden Mathon 6-111 1 TD; Seth Hughes 4-62; Hunter Gerlick 2-43 1 TD; Gage Rusher 2-8; Karter Ostermeier 1-6; Myles Clayton 1-6