Park View Rallies to Edge Colonial Heights
By DAVID BREIDENBACH, Correspondent
Sep 17, 2012, 14:32
Colonial Heights quarterback Brian Gwaltney (7) looks to pass as Park View’s Kori Coleman (54) closes in during the first half of a non-district game on Friday in Colonial Heights (photo by David Breidenbach).
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — When the Colonials review film from their 14-13 loss at the hands of Park View (South Hill) Friday night, they will be pleased with many things. But they will be not so happy with the missed opportunities that led to defeat.
They will be very happy with the defensive play, which was head and shoulders better than it was in a loss to Thomas Jefferson two weeks ago.
Led by Kevin Loftus’ 18 tackles, the unit consistently stopped the Dragons' main ball carrier, Jason Baskerville, and forced them to turn the ball over on downs several times.
“We didn’t get to stretch in the beginning and they weren’t able to get their momentum up until the second half,” Baskerville said. “We had a lot of team work. I have to credit my blockers, Geo Feggins, Devin Chinault and Austin Pond.”
The Colonials’ biggest stop came in the third quarter with the Dragons facing a fourth and three from inside the Colonials’ 20-yard line. Park View lined up to attempt a field goal, but Robert Dubberly crashed in from the left side and blocked the kick.
The Colonials took over deep in their own territory. It looked as if Park View’s defense was going to continue to thwart the Colonials and get the ball back with great field position, but somehow quarterback Brian Gwaltney managed to turn the tables.
Gwaltney took off running to his right on a broken play and a Dragon defender stepped up to make the tackle on what appeared to be a short gain. As it turned out, Gwaltney was never taken down and there was no whistle.
Wasting no time to figure things out, Gwaltney took off on an 84-yard romp. Stunned by the series of events, Park View’s secondary pursued him, but the time it took them to react was just what the sophomore needed to reach the end zone.
Colonial Heights sophomore Tyriq Anderson (24) follows the block of senior Hayden Zinn (44) in a 14-13 loss to Park View (South Hill) on Friday in Colonial Heights (photo by David Breidenbach).
The sign of good teams is often how they react to adversity. For the Dragons, now down by seven points in a game that didn’t have a lot of offense, the chips were on the table. They got a great runback on the ensuing kickoff and set the wheels in motion to try to tie the game.
“The sloppy play was not indicative of us. We overcame a very good Colonial Heights team, but we also had to overcome some mental lapses as well,” said Park View coach Doug Allison. “But that’s high school football.”
After several plays, the Colonials had the Dragons pinned at the 50, but James Brown broke free on a sweep to the left, cut back against the grain and managed to weave his way in for the tying score.
Jacob Newton’s kick was true and the score was tied at seven points apiece.
The Colonials managed to get another scoring charge early in the fourth quarter. Gwaltney led the way again, this time with his arm. The big play was hitting tight end Deonte Jenkins, a 6-3 200-pound senior, in the right flat for about 20 yards.
With the ball on the Dragons’ 21-yard line, Colonial Heights coach Remus James dialed in a changeup at running back. On fourth and one, James sent Riley Morgan in to carry the ball up the middle.
“He is quick and strong,” James said. “I told him once he hit the hole to just keep running.”
Morgan hit the hole hard and was 10 yards downfield when he broke loose from the last Park View player holding onto his shoe laces. He made it to the end zone before being tackled.
The Colonials were unable to convert the extra point attempt, but still had a 13-6 lead with just over nine minutes to play. Park View was cited for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the touchdown play, which was assessed on the kickoff.
“Special teams win games and lose games,” James said. “You start and end the game with special teams. We started to move the ball with the offense in the second half, and defensively we played well. They didn’t drive the ball on us.”
Park View, however, was resilient. Brown fielded the kickoff near the goal line and took off running. The Colonials’ special teams unit finally corralled him, but not before he reached the home team’s 35-yard line.
With the ball on the 31, Brett Clyburn dropped back and faked a handoff to Baskerville, a split wide right. He was looking for wide out George Feggins who was wide open on a deep route.
Feggins hauled in the pass and scooted into the end zone to tie the score. The extra point gave the Dragons a one-point lead that they managed to hold onto for the win.
“Those two returns on both kickoffs really set us up field position wise,” Allison said. “And that was especially evident on the last touchdown.”
The Colonials had one more opportunity to score with just over five minutes to play, but were unable to move the ball. Park View got the ball back and ran out the clock for the win.
“The kids have done a good job of listening to the coaches and understanding the adjustments we are trying to make,” Allison said. “I told coach James after the game, ‘You’ve got some fight in your players.’ Those losses are hard. I have been on the other side of games like this.”
Gwaltney finished the night with 202 yards of total offense; 127 yards rushing and 75 in the air. He hit on 10 of 17 passes but had two interceptions and two fumbles.
In addition to Loftus’ stellar night, the Colonials got 10 tackles from Dubberly while six other defenders had at least six.
“Of course I am unhappy because we didn’t win,” James said. “But my guys — you can see them transforming day to day. I won’t smile until we get that win, but I can tell you I’m proud of my guys.”