Preview: Warren County at James Wood
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Jerry L. Kelican Stadium, James Wood High School.
Records: Warren County Wildcats (0-1); James Wood Colonels (1-1).
Last week: Warren County did not play; James Wood defeated Park View 23-6.
Last year: James Wood won 52-34.
Players to watch: QB R.J. Keeney; WR/DB Cameron Ford; RB/LB Ronald Dodson; TE/DL Brendan McMackin; WR/DB Marqwon Haley; OL Will Deavers. James Wood — QB/DB Dade Carroll; RB/DL Isaac Schrantz; TE/LB Noah Sullivan; RB William Crowder.
Preview: Cutting down on mistakes made a big difference for James Wood in Week 2.
The Colonels had four turnovers and eight penalties in a 34-7 season-opening loss to Heritage. They didn’t have one turnover and weren’t hurt by penalties until late in a 23-6 victory against Park View.
"We stayed on schedule," coach Mark McHale said. "That was the big difference, not turning the ball over and not having those silly penalties that make it second-and-20. We executed a lot better, but we’re still not perfect."
Another big difference came at running back. Freshman William Crowder, who ran a kickoff back for a score in Week 1, joined the varsity full-time and racked up 94 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Crowder originally had wanted to play just on the JV this season.
"After he scored that touchdown against Heritage, he came into my office and said, ‘Coach, I want to be on the varsity,’" McHale said. "We taught him three plays and he scored on all three, but one was called back on a holding penalty. ... He can run. We just have to figure out how to get him the ball so he can use that speed."
Quarterback Dade Carroll also was efficient, completing 5 of 6 passes, including a 71-yarder to Noah Sullivan for a score.
While the offense got going, it was the defense that most pleased McHale. The Colonels kept the bigger Patriots scoreless outside of a 46-yard TD run late in the third quarter.
"I thought Coach [Brian] Thomas and the defense did a great job," McHale said.
Warren County had a bye last week to think about its season-opening loss to Handley. The Wildcats had five turnovers in a 29-2 loss to the Judges.
Ronald Dodson’s 65 yards on 20 carries provided well over half of the Wildcats’ offense. Quarterback R.J. Keeney, a 6-foot-3 junior, struggled completing just 4 of 17 attempts with four interceptions.
McHale still is wary of Warren County’s passing. His team was hurt through the air in a season-opening loss to Heritage.
"They’ve got that tall quarterback and will throw it down the field," McHale said. "They throw all verticals. They’re the opposite of what we played [last week]. Park View is power and [Warren County] is a more spread-you-out type of team."
The Wildcats will be glad not to see Tyler Bishop. The Winchester Star Offensive Player of the Year last fall, rushed for a school record 311 yards and scored five touchdowns in Wood’s 52-34 win.
— Compiled by Walt Moody