James Wood Tumbles Against Hedgesville

Posted: September 24, 2016
By MARK SAWYER Special to the Star
HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Following two disappointing losses, the James Wood High School football team was hoping for a little good news and some consistency in their final road game before the start of Northwestern District play.
Things could not have gone better early for the Colonels as they played arguably their best half of a quarter of the season, but in the end the story was one they have heard too often this season. Inconsistent offense and big plays against the defense did the Colonels in as they lost their third straight 39-14 at Hedgesville (W.Va.) Friday night.

"We had a great start, we started off good on defense. We looked like a completely different team," James Wood coach Mark McHale said. "Then all of the sudden ‘bam.’ We had two snaps that killed us, field position, we gave them a safety, and we didn’t cover a kick. "We just find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot. They played hard but we can’t give up big plays. We were prepared for them. We just didn’t execute. It doesn’t get any easier with our schedule either." James Wood (1-4) took the opening kick and on the second play from scrimmage got exactly the spark they’ve been looking for. Freshman William Crowder took an inside handoff, came near side towards the Colonels bench, then turned upfield and raced virtually untouched 81 yards for a touchdown and the first lead Wood has enjoyed in three weeks. Crowder’s score inspired the defense as well. The Colonels held Hedgesville (3-2) to two three-and-outs on their first two possessions forcing the Eagles to punt both times. Following the second Eagles punt with 7:31 left in the first, Wood took over on its own 41 yard line with great field position and a golden opportunity to add to the lead. But for the Colonels, it was all downhill from there. Wood was unable to take advantage of the field position and after three plays and eight yards had to punt back to the Eagles. A great punt put Hedgesville at its own 10 yard line with 5:35 left in the first. That’s where the Eagles offense went to work and work they did. Hedgesville put together a 10-play, 90-yard drive and pulled to within 7-6 when Tayveance Foster broke loose from 39 yards out for a score. The Colonels blocked the extra point for a 7-6 lead with 1:28 on the clock.

Things tuned bad the for the Colonels in a blink of an eye. Their next possession was another quick three-and-out that ended the first quarter. Wood opened the second with a punt and 12 seconds later Hedgesville took the lead for good. On the first play from scrimmage in the quarter, Eagles’ running back Galvin Smoot broke through the line for a 66-yard touchdown making it 13-7. The Colonels struggled on offense but the defense kept it close for awhile. After the Eagles got the ball Wood 46, the Colonels picked up a pair of sacks and forced a punt. But after the punt was downed at the 13, a bad snap went through the end zone for a safety that gave the Eagles a 15-7 lead. With 3:26 left in the half, Wood took over at its 20 and put together a nine-play drive that netted just ten yards, but it ate up most of the clock. Then the bizarre happened. Hedgesville took over at their own 26 with 15 seconds left and only one timeout. Quarterback Jacob Plotner hit Foster for a 19-yard gain out to the 45 with eight seconds left. After the timeout Plotner heaved a Hail Mary that receiver Jonathan Garver caught at the 3 and was able to scramble into the endzone with two seconds on the clock. The extra point made it 22-7, but the Eagles were not done. Hedgesville caught the Colonels off guard with an onside kick that appeared to run out the clock and both teams were leaving the field. After a short discussion the referees decided that there was a second left and Foster booted a 42-yard field goal as time expired to make it 25-7 at the break.

Two forth quarter touchdowns for the Eagles made it 39-7 but the Colonels continued to fight. With 4:30 left in the game, Wood drove 66 yards in six plays and cut the deficit to 39-14 on a nine-yard by Tyler Arnold with 2:05 left. Hedgesville outgained the Colonels 396-170 in total yardage and had a 225-175 advantage on the ground. Crowder led the way for the Colonels with a game high 97 yards. Plotner completed 6 of 16 passes for 171 yards and a score for Hedgesville. Wood’s lone pass completion lost five yards. Things only get tougher for the Colonels next week as they open up Northwestern District play at Sherando.