James Wood’s Skid Continues In Loss To Spring Mills

Posted: October 31, 2015
Special to The Winchester Star

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. — The James Wood Colonels didn’t appear to be the same team that started the season 4-1 when they fell to the Spring Mills Cardinals 35-21 on Friday night in Martinsburg.

Despite forcing a punt on the Cardinals first possession, and taking advantage of two 15-yard penalties to get on the board first with an Asa Brewer 19-yard touchdown rush, the Colonels (4-5) could not contain the big-play ability of the Cardinals for 48 minutes and came up short for their fourth straight loss. The defeat ends James Wood’s hopes for postseason play.

Colonels head coach Mark McHale has preached all year that a single injury at any position could ultimately put James Wood in a difficult situation to compete with the upper echelon of teams in the area. Four games ago those injuries started to hit the then 4-1 Colonels and haven’t let up since.

“We lost a heartbreaker to Sherando and then we lost in overtime to Skyline,” McHale said. “That’s two emotional losses. We have a lot of injuries and we are a different ball club right now. We are not a good team right now, our depth is not very strong. One person hurt and we are a different ball club at any position.”

James Wood did go into the game with a positive note. Standout running back and linebacker Tyler Bishop did make his return to the field after suffering an injury against Skyline and missing last week’s loss to Millbrook. Bishop made an impact on both sides of the ball, recording 151 yards rushing and two touchdowns to go along with his five tackles on defense.

“It was good to have Tyler [Bishop] back but he was still a little rusty out there,” McHale said. “It wasn’t just great to have him back running the ball but it was great to have him out there quarterbacking our defense.”

“I feel fine. It would feel a lot better if we would have won but we made some big mistakes,” Bishop said. “We allowed big plays. The man coverage wasn’t there. Sometimes I wasn’t following the hole.

“These were mistakes that could have been fixed. They were simple mistakes. It was a lot of mental stuff for us. I thought we handled things well in the first half and in the second half we just stunk it up at times. During the week of practice we are concentrating and doing what needs to be done. We are just a little banged up right now. We are going to come back next week and get back to normal.”

The Cardinals were not sure if they’d face Bishop, but were aware of his impact and prepared for the senior ball carrier nonetheless.

“We anticipated that [Bishop] might actually be out for this game. We weren’t sure if we were going to see him in this contest,” said Spring Mills coach Derek Munson. “We had seen him in a scrimmage against Musselman and we knew he was a formidable running back. He’s got a great future with the game of football. He’s tough to contain. He runs hard. It was just a matter of time before we started to wear them down and bottle him up a little bit to negate some of those big runs he was getting in the first half.”

Spring Mills took the lead on a fourth-and-1 from the James Wood 34 that opened up for a Demetreus Jalepes touchdown run early in the second quarter. The score was one of three Cardinal touchdowns that went for more than 30 yards.

The big one was a 77-yard touchdown reception by Nate Monroe from Logan McCulley late in the third quarter to break a 21-21 stalemate.

“We kind of had them set up for a play-action pass there,” Munson said. “Their safety had been coming up in the box and was coming down hill really hard. We hadn’t been extremely successful in the passing game but we had an opportunity to take advantage of them playing aggressive downhill so we took a shot on first down. It was a great ball by the quarterback and great play-action by the backs. Nate [Monroe] came up big and made a big catch and run.”

“We had two things,” McHale said. “We had a boy who didn’t catch a ball on a high kick and let it go to the ground. We lost a whole possession there. And they hit that pass and struck quickly on first down with a 77-yard touchdown. When you have two teams that I thought were pretty evenly matched those were two big plays that changed the whole game.”

Spring Mills used the spark they got from Monroe’s long touchdown to springboard their defense into forcing a three-and-out.

When the Cardinals got the ball back in the fourth quarter they managed a drive that accumulated five first downs and drained most of the remaining clock, giving the Colonels little hope for a comeback.

What little hope was left for James Wood was extinguished when the Cardinals capped off their clock-control drive with a five-yard touchdown run from Colton Henson.

“I think the biggest thing for this team that shows up from week to week is that we put in a lot of time in the offseason and a lot of hard work and conditioning,” Munson said. “That is showing up in the second half of football games this year.” In its finale, James Wood does have a chance to finish 5-5 as it faces rival Handley on Saturday afternoon.

“We just have to win our last game,” McHale said. “We only have one more game left that’s it. And it’s against our biggest rival in Handley. All we can do is really concentrate on that.”