James Wood smothers Fauquier for second shutout

WINCHESTER — When you can accomplish something at James Wood that hasn't been done since Walter Barr was serving as the school's head coach, you've had a pretty good night.
The Colonels defeated Fauquier 23-0 in Class 4 Northwestern District action on Friday at Walter Barr Field at Jerry Kelican Stadium for its second shutout of the year. 
James Wood — which defeated North Hagerstown (Md.) 52-0 on the same field on Oct. 1 — now has two shutouts in one year for the first time since 2007, the final year of Barr's second stint as the Colonels coach. James Wood had four that year, including three straight.
The Colonels (6-2, 3-1 district) scored two touchdowns within the first five minutes and 10 seconds, and that was all the defense needed in a suffocating performance. Fauquier (2-6, 1-3) ran 46 plays from scrimmage and only gained 39 yards. 
Fauquier freshman quarterback Ben Noland completed 5 of 16 passes for 31 yards. He was sacked four times and lost a total of 38 yards on those four plays.
Those sacks contributed to the Falcons gaining eight yards rushing on 30 attempts. James Wood also had six other tackles for loss and limited Fauquier running back Dylan Taylor to 19 yards on 15 carries.
Fauquier had six first downs and punted eight times. 
James Wood's defense even added to the Colonels' scoring total. Ryan King (six catches, 113 yards) returned his area-leading sixth interception of the year 35 yards for a touchdown with 4:53 left in the second quarter. Hunter Barnhart converted the second of his two extra-point attempts to make it 20-0.
"I think it's crazy," said senior defensive end Caleb Keefer of having two shutouts in one season. "It makes us feel great as a defense. We all obviously love not letting the other team score. We were holding them to three-and-out almost every drive."
James Wood could only manage Barnhart's 22-yard field goal in the second half despite some impressive running from Wes Brondos (28 carries for 181 yards and one TD, with 138 of those yards coming on 19 carries after the break). But there was never a sense that the Colonels needed to score again because of the pressure they were creating in pass defense and the reads and pursuit they had in run defense. 
"I think our stunts are really good," said Keefer, who came into Friday with an team-high 6.5 sacks and contributed to James Wood's sack total against the Falcons. "They just couldn't adjust to them. We either make sacks or tackles in the backfield, and they just couldn't keep up [with what we were doing).
"I think our defense, we all just love playing football, and going out and hitting people, and getting to the ball. That's one of the things we work on, is 11 people finding the football on every play."
Fauquier only had one sustained drive. Trailing 13-0 after a four-yard Brondos TD run, the Falcons converted four third downs on a 19-play, 53-yard drive that was aided by a personal foul and a pass interference penalty, with the latter penalty turning a fourth-and-20 situation into a fourth-and-6 at the James Wood 14-yard line.
But Noland — who had two eight-yard completions earlier in the drive — threw high toward his intended receiver near the sticks for an incompletion by the right sideline with 10:41 left in the second quarter, part of a night in which he rarely looked comfortable.
"Early on, they were able to get some sprint out plays before our kids kind of made an adjustment," James Wood coach Ryan Morgan said. "When they see that sprint out, they just need to aim a little bit wider and keep the quarterback inside. 
"I think once we made that adjustment, it made it a little bit more difficult for [Noland] to get out of the pocket. I felt like if we could keep him in the pocket and force him to make some difficult throws, that was going to make the game tougher on a young quarterback." 
Morgan said he was particularly impressed with the play of the defensive ends Keefer and Brendan Cassidy, as well as the blitzing by inside linebacker Zach Smith. Morgan said there were some coverage mistakes in the first half, but he liked what he saw in the second half when Noland only managed to go 2 for 8.
James Wood has two ball hawks in King and Jaden Ashby (four interceptions), and King said the secondary's job is definitely aided by the work James Wood is doing up front.
"Our edge rushers and our D-Linemen, they did a great job forcing the quarterback to make difficult throws," said King, who scored easily after intercepting a pass thrown toward Noland's right five yards past the line of scrimmage in the second quarter. 
Ashby (49 yards from scrimmage) was held out of the end zone for the first time this year, but he returned the opening kickoff 40 yards to the Fauquier 42 to help set up the game's first TD, a three-yard run by Blake Corbin with 9:26 left in the first quarter.
King — who had a 21-yard catch on third-and-13 on the opening drive — set up the Brondos TD after taking a pass from Jared Neal (12 of 21 for 164 yards, two interceptions) in the left flat and running 45 yards to the Fauquier 4. 
At halftime, fans got to see a rare sight from a team up 20-0 — James Wood's entire team doing 10 up-downs.
The reason was because a Colonel player came off the sideline and onto the field after Corbin's 19-yard reception to the Fauquier 45 as James Wood was looking to score in the final minute of the first half. The Colonels were hit with a 15-yard taunting penalty that proved too much to overcome. Neal's throw on the run at the Falcon 40 was picked off two plays later with four seconds left in the half.
James Wood was penalized 11 times for 119 yards on Friday after being penalized 15 times for 127 yards the previous week. The Colonels were called for holding five times (three times in the second half), but the calls that aren't related to actual football play are the ones that are particularly frustrating to Morgan.
"We came up with a plan this week to try and take care [of penalties], and obviously, we didn't take care of all of it," Morgan said. "We're going to try and take care of it next week. The guys are going to have some extra conditioning because of lack of discipline on the field.
"This is brand new to me, because normally, we're pretty disciplined. I think we've probably got more penalties this year than we've ever had before. We're trying to sort through that and get the kids to understand we're hurting ourselves with some of the lack of discipline."  
James Wood will travel to Millbrook next Friday while Fauquier will host Sherando. 
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