James Wood to battle Fauquier in search of first district win

The James Wood football team has another hour-long bus ride on Friday to face Class 4 Northwestern District foe Fauquier.
And, that trip worries Colonels coach Ryan Morgan.
Last week, James Wood fell behind 28-0 in the first 14 minutes on the way to a 49-20 loss at Liberty. Earlier in the season, the Colonels fell behind 21-0 in the first half of a 42-0 defeat at Brentsville.
Now comes a trip to Warrenton for James Wood (1-6, 0-3).
“One of the things we’ve talked about is that we have to get off the bus with the proper focus,” Morgan said. “It’s happened a couple of times now where we go down to Brentsville and Liberty on these long bus trips and we’re a little bit out of sorts. Then, we start off not playing well. We have another long bus trip down to Fauquier this Friday and we have to come out more focused and ready to play than our other long trip games.”
Last week, the Colonels found themselves down quickly as Liberty quarterback Austin Mawyer tossed four touchdown passes within those first 14 minutes.
“We were down early big just because we had a lot of glitches in the defensive backfield,” Morgan said. “There were some other issues besides that, but they were just throwing the ball all over the place to start the game.”
The Colonels will face a team that has undergone similar woes this season. Coming off a bye week, the winless Falcons (0-7, 0-3) have been outscored 125-37 in district action. In their previous game, unbeaten Kettle Run rolled 44-14 as Cougars standout receiver Jordan Tapscott had 10 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns. The Falcons’ two TDs came of a kickoff return and a pass off of a reverse from a wide receiver.
The Falcons’ offense is led by quarterback Ben Nowland and running back Mason Hamilton.
“Offensively, they do a lot of things with different formations and motions,” Morgan said. “I think their quarterback does a nice job of getting the ball out and he’s a decent athlete. They’re a lot to prepare for.”
The Colonels will look to move the ball on the ground with Elijah Roberts and Lane Overbaugh, who rushed for two touchdowns last week. Quarterback Jared Neal has thrown eight TD passes and his favorite target is Eli Miller.
“They do a good job scheming things defensively,” Morgan said. “They keep things in front of them and fly to the football. They tackle well. They hit. They’re a physical football team.”
Morgan expects a fight from Fauquier as the two teams look for their first district win. “I know they haven’t won a game, but they’re a tough football team,” he said. “It seems like they fight, scratch and claw for 48 minutes every week.”
Morgan says he’s focusing on a couple of things that could help his club earn that initial district win.
“We need to block better up front,” he said. “They have a couple of good defensive linemen and linebackers.
“Last week, we let up too many plays through the air. We didn’t keep guys in front of us. We have to do a better job. We may not be a big-play defense which can get a lot of sacks and interceptions, but we should be able to keep things in front of us and kind of be a bend-but-don’t-break defense.”
With a win the Colonels still have a shot at earning one of the district’s four regional playoff berths. They’ve opened district play against the top three teams in the current standings (Kettle Run, Sherando, Liberty) and have future games against rivals Millbrook and Handley.
“There’s still mathematically a chance if we do the right things, but we’ve got to play better than we have been,” Morgan said.
— Contact Walt Moody at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow on Twitter @WinStarSports1