Justices Run Rampant, Give Royals First Loss
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Sep 24, 2012, 19:18
Led by senior Jerrod Reed (11), junior Kameron Smith (16) and junior Treyon Patterson (7), the Prince George High School football team takes the field for a game against John Marshall on Friday. The Justices won 18-0 (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
PRINCE GEORGE – Friday’s non-district football game between Prince George and visiting John Marshall pitted eerily similar teams against one another. Both steamrolled their way to 2-0 records by coupling a hard-nosed defense with a relentless running game.
In the end, the deciding factor in the contest was a well-calculated dosage of “Zoom and Boom.”
That is the phrase John Marshall coach Marvin Bridges coined to describe the backfield tandem of speedster John Thompson and bruiser Zyon Brown. The dynamic duo racked up a combined 235 yards on 47 carries to lead the Justices to an 18-0 victory over the Royals.
“That’s our formula,” Bridges said of the two-running back approach. “They are the basic part of our offense. We pass the ball as well, but we like to pound the ball.”
Thompson did the heavy lifting with 31 rushes for 157 yards and two touchdowns, one on either side of halftime. The senior eclipsed the 100-yard mark before the end of the second quarter. On defense, the Justices forced three turnovers and limited the Royals to 116 yards of total offense.
“We were a little flat in the beginning,” Bridges said. “But in the second half, we started getting it together and the defense started playing a whole lot better. Then we started getting the ball to Brown and Thompson and doing what we do best.”
The visitors took a 6-0 lead with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter when Thompson scurried down the left sideline and dove inside the pylon to cap a 30-yard touchdown run. The scoring drive spanned 92 yards and featured 11 straight rushing plays, eight from Thompson and three from Brown.
The Royals managed to contain the Justices’ one-two punch for the remainder of the half and threatened to get on the board themselves early in the second quarter. Senior running back Chris Henry, who started the game averaging 87.5 rushing yards per outing, led the charge as Prince George made it as far as the visitors’ 15-yard line.
Prince George senior Chris Henry (22) sidesteps a John Marshall tackler in a non-district game on Friday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
The progress dwindled, however, and the drive ended with a missed field goal. The theme of missed opportunities was a prevalent one for Prince George. Several drives were stymied by dropped passes and the Royals failed to cash in on two trips inside the Justices’ 20-yard line.
“They always come here and play extremely tough,” said Prince George coach Bruce Carroll. “Our kids dug their heels in and put themselves in a position to make plays and give us a chance. We didn’t make all the plays when we had the opportunity, and I think that was the difference in the game.”
Sputtering on offense, Prince George relied on its defense to keep the game within reach. The Justices matriculated deep into Royals territory on the final series of the first half, converting four fourth downs along the way.
But the Royals’ goal-line personnel pulled together to thwart three plays from inside the three-yard line, the last of which occurred as the first half ended.
“That was huge,” Carroll said. “Then we came out in the second half, played defense and put ourselves in position. We just didn’t quite capitalize.”
Any momentum gained by the goal-line stand was lost on the home team’s first offensive play of the third quarter. A John Marshall defensive lineman hit Prince George quarterback Kameron Smith as he released a pitch to a running back. Defensive back Dejeron Chatman recovered the wayward lateral and sauntered his way 40 yards down the sideline for a touchdown that made the score 12-0.
Thompson delivered the final blow with 6:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. The diminutive back stayed in Brown’s shadow for eight yards as the lead blocker paved the way to pay dirt by clearing a gaping hole up the middle.
“I have to give it up to my line first of all,” Thompson said. “They were working the whole game and when I saw the hole, I was just hitting it.”
Smith completed four of 16 passes for 41 yards while Henry accrued 28 yards on the ground in the losing effort. Senior linebacker Caleb Johnson paced the Royals defense with six solo tackles, one for a five-yard loss.
For John Marshall, Brown complimented Thompson’s production with 78 rushing yards and quarterback Jerelle Pringle racked up 66 yards in a 4-for-11 passing performance.
Now 3-0, the Justices have conceded just 12 points this season.
The loss drops Prince George to 2-1 on the season, but Carroll said he is confident the Royals will be able to put the result behind them.
“As a coaching staff we’ll make the adjustments,” Carroll said. “But as for the kids, they have to move on past every game and take them one at a time. I think our guys are resilient. They’ll do that.”
Prince George opens its Central District campaign on Friday against Dinwiddie, a 28-26 loser to Highland Springs in Week 3.
Prince George 0 0 0 0 – 0
John Marshall 6 0 6 6 – 18