Colonels win second straight by taming Wildcats

By WALT MOODY The Winchester Star  
Sep 14, 2018
WINCHESTER — Luke Roy wore the dirtiest uniform in James Wood's postgame huddle.
Having battled in the muddy trenches against Warren County on Thursday night at Kelican Stadium, the Colonels' two-way lineman looked at his his grimy, sweat-stained uniform as a badge of honor.
“It is definitely an honor especially because you had to play hard,” said Roy. “It's not an honor for my mom who has to clean this. I'm going to have to help her anyways, because she doesn't like to touch it. Playing hard and you look like this, you can't be mad with that.”
Roy blocked a punt and helped the Colonels control Warren County standout running back Ronnie Dodson in a 27-14 victory.
Jackson Turner contributed a pair of short touchdown runs and quarterback Carson Hoberg tossed a 38-yard TD strike to Treyven Mandel as the Colonels (2-2) avenged a 35-8 drubbing from the Wildcats (0-3) last season.
Quarterback Bryce Post rushed for a score and threw for another, but the Wildcats failed to convert on a couple of deep forays into James Wood territory.
The triumph was the second in six days for the Colonels, who beat Skyline 20-14 on Saturday.
“This is huge for us actually,” said Hoberg, “We didn't have very much time to practice and they had a bye week to get to us. We just practiced hard.”
Warren County couldn't have gotten off to a much better start. The Wildcats recovered a pooched opening kickoff at the James Wood 35. Five plays later, Post (20 of 37 for 192 yards) found a wide-open Logan DeHaven down the right sideline for a 28-yard scoring pass and a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
But the momentum shifted on the Wildcats' second possession. On fourth down from the 14, Roy barreled up the middle on Joseph Kilgallen's punt attempt. He made a leap and got a piece of the ball, which the Colonels recovered at the 14.
“I went up and I didn't expect to get it,” Roy said. “I felt it my arm and I was like, 'Hey we just blocked a punt.' I didn't know whether it went this way or that way. I was hoping it went [toward the end zone] so we could scoop and score, but it felt great.”
“Luke is just one of those guys who will run through a brick wall to play football,” James Wood coach Ryan Morgan said. “We sent him after the kick and he did a good job of just launching himself in there. … Normally you're not expecting a lineman to be a punt-block guy, but he's athletic enough and savvy enough to get in there.”
The Colonels needed just two plays to get even as Jackson Turner ran 10 yards to set up Sam Adkins' four-yard TD. Chris Garcia Ortega's extra point made it 7-7 with a little more than five minutes left in the period.
The Colonels would take the lead on their next possession, a 77-yard drive keyed by Hoberg's arm. On third-and-5 from the 50, Hoberg completed a 12-yard pass to Luke Esparza.
On the next play, he faked a handoff to Turner and hit Mandel streaking to the right sideline for a 38-yard TD.
“I saw him wide open and no one was covering him,” said Hoberg, who was 6 of 9 for 109 yards for the game. “I just threw it up.”
Hoberg returned last week after missing a game after suffering an injury early in the season opener.
Morgan thought Hoberg was a little rusty last week, but thanks to improved pass blocking Morgan said the junior had an excellent night
“He stood tall and proud in the pocket,” Morgan said. “On his first touchdown pass, it was a nice clean pocket and it was a beautiful throw to Treyven. There were some other plays where he put the ball right on the money. He's a really accurate quarterback when he has time to throw.”
It would be Hoberg's feet that set up the next score, but the Colonels needed a defensive stand first.
Warren County went on a 16-play drive that lasted more than six minutes.
The Wildcats had second-and-goal at the James Wood 5 and fourth-and-goal at the 4, but came up empty. Joey Vitola dropped Thomas Cantrell for a five-yard loss on fourth down.
Getting the ball back with a little more than two minutes left in the half, the Colonels benefited from a personal foul penalty before Hoberg made the key play. From the 38, Hoberg dropped back and saw no one open and took off. He scampered up the middle, then cut right on a 57-yard jaunt to the 5.
“I have a little timer in my head and it just ticked,” Hoberg said. “I just saw an opening in the line and took off.”
“He can run,” Morgan said. “In practice, he makes some people miss, but he's never had the room or it hasn't worked out for him to scramble like that. He makes some of our guys look silly in practice because he's shifty and pretty quick.”
Turner bulled in from four yards out with 18.9 seconds on the clock to give the Colonels a 21-7 halftime lead.
Warren County wasn't done by any means and the Wildcats used up nearly all of the third quarter with a 20-play, 73-yard drive.
Ronnie Dodson had 10 carries for 28 yards in the meticulous drive, that was also aided by a fourth-down pass interference call against the Colonels. Post bulled in from the 3 to make it 21-14 with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
“We were on top of our game plan again,” said Warren County coach Brian Bush. “We didn't allow little things to hurt us and we fought hard.”
James Wood would make only one first down in the second half, but it was a big one.
Warren County pushed the ball back into the Colonels' territory, but faced a fourth-and-14 at their own 48 with about 8½ minutes left. Bush decided to go for it, but Post couldn't connect with Ethan Patterson.
“Our defense was playing well and our offense wasn't,” Bush said of the decision. “I gave our guys a chance that if we could have made a play and gotten the momentum back in our direction that we could have gotten on top. We just couldn't execute.”
On Wood's first play after the stop, the Colonels sneaked speedy William Crowder out of the backfield on a pass route that put him a good eight yards behind the Wildcats defensive backs. Hoberg slipped and underthrew Crowder, who still made the catch and took it to the 9. On third down, Turner rumbled in from the 2. A botched snap on the extra point made 27-14 with 7:53 left.
Warren County later would mount one more final drive, but Esparza picked off a Post pass in the end zone with 57 seconds left.
The only turnover game capped a satisfying night for the Colonels defense, which gave up 211 yards and three scores to Dodson last season. Dodson rushed for 79 yards on 31 carries, with no carry longer than seven yards.
“To be honest with you, there were some times tonight where he was running up inside where I had visions of him from last year popping through and getting into our secondary and breaking some long runs,” Morgan said. “When he slammed it into the middle I was like, 'Please, don't pop out the other side.' Our defensive coaches did a good job with a game plan and coaching those guys.”
Bush said the Wildcats lost the contest in the trenches. The Colonels rushed for 144 yards on 31 carries.
“We fell away from our game plan and we allowed them to control the line of scrimmage,” Bush said. “There were some times where we'd fight back and get a good push, but you can't score a lot of points if you allow the other team to control the line of scrimmage more than you.”
Roy said it was a battle inside. “It's always going to be tough. But we played hard up front and we got our jobs done.”
Roy and his teammates have a full week to get cleaned up before they travel to Hedgesville (W.Va.) on Sept. 21.