By Marty O'Brien, firstname.lastname@example.org
3:29 PM EDT, October 7, 2013
If Friday's game was a gut-check as advertised for the Tabb High football team, suffice it to say the Tigers passed with flying colors in their 42-7 Bay Rivers District victory at New Kent. The Tigers put to rest any notion that the 49-point loss to Lafayette a week earlier would derail the program's most promising season in five years.
"They did a nice job after being embarrassed by Lafayette," Tabb coach Matt Lawson said. "They rebounded and practiced well and played hard."
The Tigers (3-2, 3-1 district) scored at will against a resurgent New Kent defense that had given up just eight points total in its two victories over the past three weeks. Brent Hinson ran for 211 yards and five touchdowns, marking the fifth consecutive game he's rushed for triple digits.
The Tigers did not turn the ball over and displayed offensive balance as sophomore quarterback Nick Hunter threw for 95 yards. Hunter had a big play defensively, intercepting a halfback pass by the Trojans (2-3, 2-2) at his own 1.
Tabb followed by going 99 yards in 20 plays for a touchdown. Safeties Tahj Lake and Lucas Beissner led a first team defense that did not allow a score.
"You never know how kids are going to react," Lawson said of this week. "They did a nice job in practice and did not give up after the Lafayette game. I'm real pleased."
Lafayette defense strong
The 42-11 win over Jamestown was another strong offensive outing for Lafayette (5-0, 4-0), which is averaging 46 points per game in district play. Running back Jahlil Green continues to shine, running for 131 yards and a touchdown in addition to catching a 45-yard touchdown pass.
Leading receiver Brandon Villanueva-Pernell went down early with a shoulder injury — X-rays were negative and he's expected to be back in uniform this Friday or the following one — but Connor McGinty found other targets: throwing the TD pass to Green and another for 24 yards to Darren Patton.
"It was a good thing to get others involved in the passing game," Lafayette coach Andy Linn said.
For all of the offense, Linn gave the Rams' defense much of the credit. After quarterback Tyler Doane led Jamestown (2-3, 2-2) to a field goal and an early 3-0 lead, Linn felt the Eagles contained him the rest of the way.
"Doane is a good quarterback, so our goal was to pressure him and I thought we did a really good job of that," Linn said. "Blake Guminsky (a linebacker) had three sacks alone."
Schekel Wallace, who ran for 57 yards, had a key interception. And with Joey Kraegenbrink filling in for Villanueva-Pernell with a couple of long punt returns, the Rams won going away with another good all-around effort.
Pass lifts Packers
Smithfield coach Clark Harrell said that Grafton was bound and determined to stop freshman running back Donald King and the Packers' running game, and used a 3-3 stack defense to fill the box. Harrell felt the Clippers (1-4, 0-4) succeeded, despite two short King touchdown runs, of slowing the run, but added the Packers' improving passing game was key in their 20-16 victory.
Sophomore Devin Williams completed 9 of 15 passes for 100 yards, his second consecutive week with at least 100 yards passing. That included key completions to James Green in a late field-goal drive that helped the Packers (3-2, 2-2) clinch their second victory in a row.
"We threw effectively," Harrell said. "I feel we have four good receivers (Green, Jamarie Wrenn, Bruce Cypress and Chris Pierce) and Devin is getting the ball to them.
"His timing and footwork are getting better, and we're spending more time in practice on the passing game so we're getting better at it. We're slowly getting better across the board."
Islanders run wild
Devonte Dedmon's 339-yard rushing performance didn't really come as a surprise to Poquoson coach Elliott Duty in his team's 49-27 win over Warhill (1-4, 1-3). Dedmon burned Poquoson for about as many yards rushing and passing a year ago in a 32-14 Warhill victory.
The difference between this year and last is that Poquoson (3-2, 2-2) is vastly improved offensively. The Islanders were able to outshoot the Lions in large part because of a rushing game that netted 427 yards: 162 and a touchdown from Grayson Boyce and 116 and a touchdown (plus a TD reception) from Austin Turner.
The pair benefited from a solid effort by the line. Guard Riley Howell made several crunching downfield blocks, while tackle Will Leary was steady throughout.
"We knew coming in Dedmon would make a few big plays, and I'd like us to be a little more consistent defensively," Duty said. "But I thought Boyce and Turner ran the ball hard and we controlled the line of scrimmage."
Bruton's defense improving
Three or four years ago, winning defensive battles was Bruton's signature. And while effort over the past two seasons has never been a problem with the Panthers, they usually haven't been big or strong or experienced enough to stop some of their best opponents.
The 20-11 win over York on Friday is another piece of evidence that this season could be different. York used its option attack to move the ball for big yardage against the Panthers (3-2, 2-2) in victories the past two seasons.
While York quarterback Garrett Gatz did break one option run for a 46-yard touchdown, his other nine rushes netted just 19 yards. Forced to pass more than usual, the Falcons (2-3, 2-2) were just 3 of 16 for 40 yards, with Daniel Jones and Deandre Kissoon producing drive-killing interceptions for the Panthers. Linebackers Ian Gruver and Kapri Doucet, and end Kyle Mackem continue to star as run-stoppers.
"The kids have always played hard on defense, but we've been so young the past two seasons," Bruton coach Tracy Harrod said. "It's been a maturing process, and now they are growing up and making plays."
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963
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