Hedgesville knocks off Colonels

By JERRY HOLSWORTH Special to The Winchester Star
Sep 22, 2018
HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — The Hedgesville (W.Va.) football team scored scored early and maintained control the rest of the game in a 45-20 win over James Wood on Friday night at Mumaw Stadium.
“This was a really rough game,” Colonels coach Ryan Morgan said. “We were able to hang with them for a few quarters but they have some really great athletes. We just need to keep pushing and work on not having mental breakdowns. We also need to tackle a lot better.”
James Wood dropped to 2-3 and Hedgesville improved to 4-1 Friday.
“I thought our team played great,” Eagles coach Joey Yurish said. “I thought it was great to get a big win like this on Homecoming too. We did what we were supposed to do on both sides of the ball. I thought we blocked really well. That made a big difference.”
The Eagles took the ball on the opening drive of the game and marched 64 yards in 11 plays to go up 7-0 on a four-yard run by Hedgesville quarterback Owie Ash.
The Eagle sophomore proved to be Hedgesville’s primary offensive weapon both on the ground and through the air, scoring five of the Eagles’ six touchdowns, three on the ground and two through the air.
He finished the night with 82 yards on 12 carries and was 12 of 18 through the air for 165 yards.
“We’re real balanced this year, and I think that starts up front,” Yurish said. “We also have a real athletic kid at quarterback this year, too. He can really run well but also gives us a real weapon as a passer, too.”
Wood wasn’t able to respond on its first possession and was forced to punt, setting up the Eagles on their own 36-yard line. It took Hedgesville just seven plays to get its second score of the game. This time it was a passing score as Ash hit Malakai Brown for 29 yards to put the Eagles up 14-0 with 3:32 still left in the first quarter.
“I thought our offense played really well,” Brown said. “We had some breakdowns on defense but we were still able to pull off the win. We thought we had a mismatch at the wide receiver position and I thought we really took advantage of that tonight.”
The Colonels finally responded early in the second quarter, and they did so in spectacular fashion. Just 14 seconds into the second quarter, William Crowder took the ball around right end 80 yards for a touchdown.
With Wood now very much in the game, Ash and the Eagles answered with a 19 yard touchdown pass to N’iyjere Smith that put Hedgesville back up 21-7 with 9:43 left in the first half.
Wood, however, was still determined to keep the game close and the two schools exchanged touchdowns before the end of the half.
The Colonels scored on a two-yard run by Jackson Turner, and the Eagles finished the scoring for the half with a two-yard run by Brown with just 36 seconds left on the clock.
Neither side was able to move the ball effectively through most of the third quarter, but the Colonels got another long run, this time a 60-yard touchdown run by Sam Adkins to narrow Hedgesville’s lead to 28-20 with four minutes left in the period.
Adkins’ score proved to be Wood’s last big play of the game. The Eagles scored three times late in the third quarter and final quarter to seal the win.
Ash scored on runs of 35 and 3 yards, and Eagle kicker Finnegan Hall hit a 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.
Although he never crossed the end zone, Keenan Smoot played a big role in the Eagles victory, rushing for 141 yards on 20 carries. Brown finished the night with six catches for 91 yards.
The Colonels were led by Crowder, who finished the night with 132 yards on seven carries. Adkins had 69 yards on seven carries for Wood.