James Wood holds off Fauquier to clinch winning season

WARRENTON — After nearly a decade of mostly losing seasons it took an interception from a defensive tackle to ensure the James Wood football program a winner again.
Scmitt's interception deep in Colonels territory with time winding down preserved a 21-18 Class 4 Northwestern victory over Fauquier on Thursday and guaranteed the Colonels (6-2, 3-2) their first winning season since 2010.
Hustle was the key to Schmitt's big play. The interior lineman rolled to his left to follow Fauquier quarterback J.T. Diehl’s rollout. When Diehl threw into traffic, the ball was deflected into the hands of the hustling Schmitt who snagged it before falling to the ground on the Colonels 10 with 30 seconds left.
“We needed to make a play however possible," said Schmitt after James Wood ran out the clock. [Diehl] rolled out to the right so I went to chase after him down the line. My teammate Jackson Turner deflected it and I was able to pick it off. I can’t even explain that feeling. You just have to be in that position to understand the feeling.”
Thanks to a pair of touchdown runs by Sam Adkins and another by William Crowder, the Colonels led 21-5 early in the final period. But after Adkins' second TD, Fauquier came alive.
But moments after enjoying their largest lead of the game, the Colonels gave up a 38-yard-touchdown pass from Diehl to Evan Jackson with 10:16 remaining. The failed two-point conversion made the score 21-11.
“Evan [Jackson] is our starting free safety and he is also our backup quarterback to go along with being a wide receiver,” said Fauquier head coach Karl Buckwalter. "He is a really great athlete. We stuck him in there and got him reps this past week. He got out there and made some plays.”
With just under four minutes remaining, Diehl and Jackson struck again, this time from 30 yards out. Diehl knocked through the extra point to bring Fauquier within a field goal and 3:41 remaining.
Fauquier’s Jack Gilliam came up with a sack on the ensuing drive to put the Colonels defense on the field protecting just a three-point lead with 1:55 to play and the ball on the James Wood 44-yard line.
Diehl and the Falcons opened the drive up with a 24-yard pass to Jackson followed by two runs before the Colonels flushed Diehl out of the pocket on a third down for Schmitt’s heroic play.
“With the pace they were playing with we thought they might be trying to play for a field goal but then they came out throwing the ball,” James Wood coach Ryan Morgan said. “We were a little surprised by that but we had guys flying to the football. Austin [Schmitt] hustled over there and caught the deflection. We were a little surprised he was the guy who made the pick, it is not often defensive tackles get interceptions but that is what happens when you hustle to the football.
“[Schmitt] is senior," Morgan added. W"e have a lot of good senior leaders and he is one of them. He is a 4.0 student and he has worked really hard in the weight room. He is our strongest player. That hard work and determination has paid off for him.”
The Colonels started strong with a 34-yard run from Adkins to open the game. James Wood was able to bulldoze its way into the red zone, but a botched snap was recovered by Fauquier’s Robert Slater on a goal-to-go situation.
Both teams remained scoreless throughout the first quarter, trading defensive stands.
Early in the second quarter the James Wood ground attack got rolling.
dkins took a handoff moving to his left and blew through Fauquier defenders as if they were standing in quicksand for a 47-yard touchdown. William Crowder's conversion run made it 8-0.
“We have been watching film and we knew we could get some runs on them," Adkins said. "It was up to our offensive line and our offensive line showed up today I took it slow in the backfield and found the hole. When I got into the secondary I saw one of our receivers blocking and I cut it for the touchdown. That was a big block.”
Adkins would top 100 yards in the first half and finish with 179.
“Overall we ran the ball really well,” Morgan said. “We were just committing too many penalties and that was frustrating. We knew that they were going to fire off the ball and we knew that they were very physical. They gave Kettle Run issues up front and Kettle run probably outweighs them by 100 pounds a man across the front. Our kids came out firing we just need to play more mistake free.”
The Falcons sliced the deficit after a drive set up Diehl's 26-yard field goal to make it 8-3.
Moments later, the Colonels made an error on the kickoff that pinned them inside their own 1. Falcons’ senior linebacker Darryl Mayfield broke through the line and tackled Adkins in end zone for a safety that made the score 8-5.
James Wood finally answered late in the half as speedster William Crowder broke free for a 29-yard-touchdown run. After the conversion failed, the Colonels went into the break with a 14-5 lead.
Much like the first quarter, neither team could muster up much offense in the third.
Finally, the Colonels broke through a minute into the fourth quarter as Adksins scored from 10 yards out. Chris Garcia botted the extra point to make it 21-5.
“I had to fight off some tackles but all together the offensive line really showed up today," Adkins said. "It feels so good, our team feels good. Our school is definitely going to be different tomorrow."
The Colonels now close the season against a pair of rivals who are ahead of them in the district chase. They face Millbrook (5-2, 3-1) on Nov. 1 and close at Handley (6-1, 3-1) on Nov. 9.
“Our program is going in the right direction but we have to keep climbing,” Morgan said. “It is exciting that we are on the upward climb but as soon as that final whistle blew I was thinking about Millbrook. There is always another mountain to climb.”
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