James Wood Tumbles Against Strasburg

Posted: September 17, 2016


Special to the Star

STRASBURG — Looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to Warren County last Friday, the James Wood High School football took to the road to try their luck against another Bull Run District foe in Strasburg.

Unfortunately for the Colonels things were more similar in the two games then they were hoping they would be. Offensive and special teams struggles put the defense in bad situations most of the night and the result was a 35-14 setback at the hands of the Rams on Friday night.

"We started off right off the bat getting in a hole on defense and offensively started the first play of the game with a penalty, a couple of bad snaps and turnovers," James Wood coach Mark McHale said. "We can’t make a game of it with those things, we can’t survive like that. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot and we just started out of the gate bad.

"Their passing game right off the bat got us, we didn’t cover the flats good. If we can just eliminate the errors we can play ball with anybody. They don’t quit, they play hard."

Strasburg (3-1) took the opening kick and drove 70 yards in nine plays and never looked back. Strasburg quarterback Ethan Duckworth hit fullback Josh Pritchett with a short screen pass that Pritchett took 32 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

James Wood (1-3) again had issues executing offensively and it put its defense in bad situations several times early.

The Colonels first two possessions ended in one fumble and a short punt giving the Rams a short field both times and perfect opportunities to add to the lead, and they took advantage.

On the second play after recovering a Colonels’ fumble at midfield, Pritchett broke through the middle of the line and raced 45 yards for another score and a 14-0 lead with 3:48 left in the first quarter.

James Wood went three-and-out on its ensuing possession but the punt only netted nine yards and set the Rams up at the Colonels 40. Again the Rams wasted no time getting on the board, this time going 40 yards in four plays and jumping out to a 21-0 lead on a one-yard run by running back Austin Miller.

After the two teams exchanged punts the Colonels put together their best drive and only chance for first-half points.

Taking over at their own 32, Wood drove down to the Strasburg 17 in eight plays, most of that coming when quarterback Dade Carroll hit Ryan Bearer for a 41-yard pass play down to the Rams 14. However, the drive stalled at the 17 after a couple of negative plays and the Colonels missed a 32-yard field goal.

Strasburg picked up their final score of the first half after an interception near midfield with 1:33 left in the second quarter.

The Rams put together a five-play, 51-yard drive and scored on an outstanding catch in the front corner of the end zone by Trevor Taff for an 11-yard scoring pass and a 28-0 halftime lead.

Another interception early in the second half led to another short field and Strasburg’s final score of the game was a 13-yard pass from Duckworth to Grant Scott that made it 35-0.

"We executed our game plan and took what they were giving us," Strasburg coach Mark Roller said. "Ethan (13 of 16 for 190 yards and three touchdowns) probably played his best game ever. He executed everything and guided us downfield.

"We saw through scouting some of the things they were doing and we weren’t real sure if we could run the ball against them so we were just trying to spread them out a little bit and throw it early on. Short fields always help, we were able to capitalize on their mistakes. That’s one of the things you strive on, taking advantage of their mistakes."

Wood was able to avoid the shutout with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, both rushing scores by Keegan DeHaven.

DeHaven’s first score came from 14 yards out and capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive to get the Colonels on the board with 4:55 left in the game.

Wood’s final possession of the game resulted in a quick three-play, 71-yard drive. Mitchell Morris broke free for a 30-yard run down to the Rams 35 and on the next play DeHaven took it the rest of the way making it 35-14 with less than a minute to play. DeHaven finished the night with 97 yards and two scores on nine carries to lead the Colonels.

The Colonels outgained the Rams 190-76 on the ground but a good bit of that came in the last half of the fourth quarter.

James Wood travels to Hedgesville (W.Va.) next Friday.