Wood gets another tough Nokesville foe in Kettle Run

The James Wood football team opened the season with a home win over a team from Front Royal (Warren County) and a road loss to a squad from Nokesville (Brentsville).
After beating another Front Royal team (Skyline) at home, the Colonels (2-1) will hope for more success against another Nokesville team when they travel to 2-0 Kettle Run at 7 p.m. on Friday.
A matchup against last year’s Class 4 state finalists is about as tough as it gets, but the Colonels have definitely shown signs of growth. After falling behind 34-0 at the half to Brentsville, the Colonels played to a 7-7 score in the second half, and last week they routed Skyline 41-13 in a game that started on Friday and concluded on Saturday.
Behind the blocking of offensive lineman Kquinse Robinson (left tackle), Colton Lanham (left guard), Jack Thompson (center), Tyler Walter (right guard) and Shaun Johnson (right tackle), Elijah Richards ran for 232 yards and one TD on 30 carries, Kobe Mason picked up 33 yards and a TD on six carries and Dominik Ramirez had two TD runs inside the 5 against the Hawks.
“That’s what we kind of look for out of Elijah,” James Wood coach Todd Wilson said. “We know he’s a good running back and he did a great job running the ball Friday and Saturday. Our offensive line made some mistakes but did a good enough job to get him in the open field and let him do what he needed to do to make some guys miss and turn some of those smaller gains into bigger gains.
“[Ramirez] is one of the guys we had try out at quarterback, and he’e the quarterback we go with when we go with kind of a heavier package. Ramirez is a sophomore but he’s probably one of the top five strongest guys in our program.”
Wilson said James Wood will have to do better with penalties after committing 14 for 157 yards in the Saturday portion of the game with Skyline.
“Holding calls, things like that happen in the course of a game, and we understand those penalties are going to take place,” Wilson said. “But we had way too many selfish, undisciplined penalties. We had multiple after-the-whistle penalties, and that’s uncharacteristic of some of the guys who were doing it.
“Football’s an emotional sport, and they were playing with a lot of emotion Saturday. We’ve been talking to them about playing with a lot of emotion and energy, but there’s a fine line between what you can and can’t do. People weren’t trying to disrespect anybody or hurt somebody, but they’ve just got to do a better job of understanding what we expect and the standard that we’re setting around here, and we’ve had that discussion with the whole team.”
James Wood’s defense will take on a Kettle Run squad with a lot of weapons. In a 50-25 win over Handley on Saturday, the Cougars were led by Jacob Mulhern, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 283 yards and three TDs and also ran for a two-yard score as Kettle Run gained 546 yards. Samuel Rodgers (seven catches, 170 yards, 59-yard receiving TD) and Zach Roth (eight catches, 74 yards, two TDs) aided the air attack and Colton Quaker (16 carries, 111 yards, two TDs) and Haydynn Bell (14 carries, 94 yards, TD) helped Kettle Run produce 241 yards on the ground on 42 rushing attempts.
James Wood’s defense is led by linebackers Zach Smith (31 tackles, two interceptions) and Vincent Salvati (15 tackles).
“Our game is to try and do the best we can to eliminate the big run plays,” Wilson said. “We feel like if we can make teams have to actually put a long drive together, in high school football you can get a negative play or penalty here or there that backs the offense up and they have to do something they typically don’t like to do, which sometimes turns into turnovers.
“We’ll do the best we can against them. The quarterback looked really good throwing the ball against Handley, so we know they can run and throw it. But when things get down to it we know they’re going to put it on their linemens’ backs and try to run the ball down the field.”
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