Football preview: James Wood at Fauquier

James Wood at Fauquier
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Fauquier High School, Warrenton
Records: James Wood Colonels (2-5, 0-3 Northwestern District); Fauquier Falcons (1-6, 0-3).
Last game: James Wood lost 24-8 to Millbrook; Fauquier lost 44-9 to Courtland
Last year: Did not play.
Players to watch: James Wood — OL/DL Dominic Revetta, OL/DL Luke Roy, QB Carson Hoberg, RB/LB Jackson Turner; Fauquier — RB/CB Kevin Chavis, WR/S Dakari Mullins, QB Jackson Eicher, LB Tommy Schrank
Preview: Last Friday was bittersweet for James Wood. The Colonels did something against Millbrook that no other team has done by holding the high-flying Pioneers under 40 points, but still the end result was a 24-8 loss.
“They gained a little bit of confidence, but at the same time there was a lot of frustration amongst the kids and the coaches that we couldn’t keep it a little bit tighter after they scored their final touchdown,” Colonels coach Ryan Morgan said.
After Millbrook scored to go ahead by 16 points with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter, the Pioneers recovered a squib kick that bounced off a Colonel player on the kickoff.
“That kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit because we’re not a team that has generally been able to throw the ball down the field,” Morgan said.
Defensively, the Colonels held the dangerous Pioneers to 82 yards on 31 carries.
“They might have played their best game of the year,” Morgan said. “It was a tough opponent. When you hold them to 300 yards and 24 points, it doesn’t necessarily sound like a great game, but with the way they have been putting up yards and points, it was a pretty decent effort.”
The Colonels’ defense will get another test from Fauquier. While their record may not indicate it, the Falcons have some weapons. Running back Kevin Chavis has rushed for 777 yards and six touchdowns, while averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
Sophomore quarterback Jackson Eicher is not completing a tremendous percentage of his passes, but his 56 completions have gone for 820 yards and five touchdowns. Dakari Mullins has 24 catches for 320 yards.
Morgan likens the Falcons to Warren County, which beat the Colonels 35-8 earlier this season. Like Warren County, Fauquier has a young quarterback and two playmakers. “There are a lot of similarities and things didn’t turn out for us very well against Warren County so hopefully we can learn a couple of things from that game,” he said.
While his team did have a 76-yard touchdown drive against the Pioneers, Morgan said the evening reaffirmed one problem that he says will be a key in beating Fauquier.
“We have to do a better job of blocking up front,” Morgan said. “ There’s been a lot of times where we do a good job of executing the play, but there’s one block on the play side that we’re not making — whether it’s wide receiver, running back or offensive lineman — and it ends up submarining the play. … Some of the plays you can see are just about to open up and then we miss a block or somebody sneaks through to make a tackle for a 10-yard gain that should go for 50.”
The offense will be full strength at quarterback. Sophomore Carson Hoberg, who left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury last week, is available along with senior Mike Zebarth. Fauquier has gives up 40 or more points four times.
On defense, Morgan said the Colonels don’t have to design a new scheme. “Similar to last week, we have to get guys around their athletes. [Chavis] and [Mullins] are pretty fast and explosive.”
— Compiled by Walt Moody