James Wood looks to build on momentum in quest for first win

Momentum is a funny thing in sports.
Two weeks ago, the James Wood football team hit the lowest of lows in a 42-0 loss at Brentsville.
But last Friday, the Colonels rebounded against unbeaten Kettle Run, a team that had beaten Brentsville 28-7, and gave the Cougars a big scare before falling 56-28.
James Wood coach Ryan Morgan hopes that his team can build from that contest, which they led after one quarter and trailed by just a touchdown late in the third quarter, and get its first win of the season on Saturday as the Colonels (0-4) travel to North Hagerstown (Md.) at 1 p.m.
“There were some good things we did,” Morgan said of scoring a season-high against a Kettle Run defense that had given up 34 total points in the Cougars’ previous four games. “Obviously, there were too many mistakes, but I think the atmosphere was a little bit different on Saturday and early this week because we found some success in things. We had done some things successfully earlier in the year, but coming off a 42-0 loss to Brentsville there was not a whole you can say that’s great and positive.
“We scored more points than we had all year and we were neck-and-neck with [Kettle Run] for the better part of three quarters and they are a good football team. …. If you’re 0-4 and can play pretty well against a now 5-0 team, hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Colonels got a big lift in the running game from a pair of relatively new faces. Lane Overbaugh and Elijah Richards both rushed for more than 100 yards in the contest.
Overbaugh, who had a 69-yard touchdown run, saw his first extended action in the backfield.
“He missed basically all of last year with an injury. He had one carry,” Morgan said of Overbaugh, a 5-foot-9, 164-pound junior. “We kind of wanted him to take a bigger role, but he was still kind of recovering from the injury. “He didn’t really play in the scrimmages or the 7-on-7 in the offseason. We weren’t trying to hide him. We just wanted to make sure he was 100 percent healthy before he got back out there.
“He’s a good athlete. He might be our fastest guy, at least one of the top two or three.”
Richards too has gotten some carries, but had seen most of his action on defense.
“He has been one of our more consistent guys,” Morgan said of Richards. “He’s playing a lot of outside linebacker and doing a good job, so we trying to save him a little bit for defense.”
Hurt by the loss of Blake Corbin early, maybe the Colonels have found a good rotation to balance an offense in which quarterback Jared Neal has had to shoulder much of the load. Neal threw two TD passes to Andrew Link last week to brink his season total to five.
“Nobody has really stepped up and seized the job,” Morgan said of the running back spot. “We’re trying to spread out carries and keep some guys fresh. We knew [Overbaugh and Richards] could run. Hopefully they can continue some of that success and Zach Smith, who had one carry and one touchdown on Friday, is a good option, too. We’re trying to balance offensive and defensive snaps.”
The Colonels pounded North Hagerstown (2-2) 52-0 last season, but James Wood no longer has Jaden Ashby, who scored five touchdowns in that contest.
Morgan says the Colonels have to be very wary of the Hubs’ massive Ta’Quan Lloyd, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive and defensive lineman who can also play tight end.
“He’s big. He’s a force,” Morgan said of Lloyd. “He can move. He’s athletic and strong. He’s one of the guys who pops on film the most.”
Running back Zach Moore is averaging 95.8 yards rushing per game and has rushed for five touchdowns. Ryder Johnston is the favorite receiver for quarterback Luke Kercheval.
The Hubs (2-2) are coming off a 42-6 loss against Jefferson (W.Va.).
Morgan said North Hagerstown will run some Wing-T on offense and a 3-3-5 stack defense, both of which the Colonels don’t see often.
To break through for a win, Morgan said his team needs to build.
“We need to keep the momentum that we had last Friday,” he said. “We did some good things on special teams. … We’d like to run the ball and cut down on the turnovers. We just need to read our keys on defense and get lined up correctly. I don’t think there’s going to be one key for Friday other than taking that momentum and confidence from last Friday and carrying it over.”
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