Armstrong strong-arms Colonial Heights
By DAVID BREIDENBACH, Correspondent
Sep 24, 2012, 19:03
Colonial Heights quarterback Brian Gwaltney (7) fires a quick pass to a wide receiver during a 22-19 loss to Armstrong on Friday. The Colonials started strong but faltered down the stretch, falling to 0-3 on the season (photo by David Breidenbach).
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — For the second week in a row, the Colonial Heights High School football team watched a late lead slip into the night as visiting Armstrong scored the final 10 points on its way to a 22-19, come-from-behind victory Friday night.
The Colonials opened a seven-point lead in the first half when Brian Gwaltney found Deonte Jenkins over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown. Jenkins, a 6-3, 200-pound tight end, made an acrobatic catch in the middle of the field.
He came down with the ball and, with a defender draped over his shoulder, made a twisting dive toward the end zone to stick the ball over the line for the score. Kyle Gaskin’s extra point completed the fast start for the home team.
“Whenever we don’t win I am not really happy,” said Colonials coach Remus James. “But you know — the guys, we’ve got to finish. We got the start we needed but we have to finish.”
Armstrong took a 20-19 lead in the third quarter on a drive that was extended due to a Colonials’ personal foul. It appeared as if the Colonials had stopped the Wildcats when they tackled quarterback Kevon Cooley on a third-down play. But yellow flags rained down on the field after a Colonials player dove on top of the pile well after the whistle had blown the play dead.
“We’ve got to play smart. We’re at the point now where we’ve got to grow,” James said. “If you’ve watched us over the past three games, we’ve been growing every game. And I understand that we will have mistakes, so we’ve got to grow past that, too.”
The miscue gave Armstrong 15 yards and a first down, and Cooley sauntered in with the touchdown on a six-yard run shortly thereafter. Nigel Chavis scored on the conversion run to give the Wildcats a one-point edge. Armstrong stretched the lead to three points when Gwaltney was caught in the end zone while trying to make a play. The sophomore signal caller was unable to get the pass off and was sacked for a safety.
“Brian was trying to make a play and I know he’s going to go down fighting,” James said. “I’ll live and die with some of the decisions we make on the field, others I’d rather leave on the field.”
For the Colonials, it was another agonizing defeat made tougher to swallow by the fact that they played well enough to win. Against Park View – a 14-13 loss last week – and again in this contest, the game was decided by one or two plays.
Special teams play has been at the center of most of the Colonials’ problems. Park View was able to take advantage of a pair of long kick returns to set up both of its touchdowns. Armstrong scored on a kick return in the second quarter to keep the game close.
The Colonials hurt themselves with the untimely penalty that kept the game-winning drive alive, but they also struggled on offense in the second half.
They had a prime scoring opportunity when Jenkins snagged a hurried punt at the Armstrong 35-yard line and bobbed and weaved his way to the 19. From there, it seemed the Colonials had a great chance to score and extend the lead.
But Armstrong stopped two run attempts and two pass attempts failed. The Wildcats held and took over on downs.
“We moved the ball and missed a play in the drive. We can’t do that,” James said. “Offensively, I felt like we came out and did what we had to do in the first half and sort of fell off in the second half, so we have to fix that, too.”
Kevin Loftus led the home team defense by contributing to 17 tackles – 10 solo – forcing a fumble and registering a sack.
Robert Dubberly also hit double-digits with 11 tackles while Trevor Schoot and Hayden Zinn each finished with nine.
The offense gained 170 total yards, 86 through the air and 84 on the ground. Tyriq Anderson led the unit with eight carries for 22 yards, Gwaltney had eight totes for 21 and Zinn rushed three times for 29.
Gwaltney connected on four of 10 passes for 84 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Dubberly caught two balls for 34 yards and Nicholas Keene had a 30-yard touchdown reception.
The Colonials donned orange socks in support of Anderson’s father, Steve, who is battling leukemia. Fittingly, Anderson was able to score in honor of his father.