Colonials Fight On
By David Breidenbach
Sep 23, 2013, 07:52
David Breidenbach/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—As the sirens wailed in the background, a few small groups of Colonials kneeled and prayed as the emergency crew encircled junior Brian Gwaltney, who lay at the 10 yard line.
Despite the scoreboard showing that Armstrong outscored the Colonials 48-20, the players had bigger concerns than wins, losses, and final scores. Gwaltney, a wide receiver/cornerback, was down on the field and they all feared the worst.
Colonials Coach Remus James calmed their fears. He told his troops that Brian was OK and was being taken to Chippenham Hospital as a precaution. He then told the team to take the feeling of solidarity the incident brought them and use it to build team unity. Then he led them in the Lord’s Prayer.
“He’s fine. He passed all the tests, all his extremities were moving. Everything is moving,” Colonials Coach Remus James said. “He said he went for the ball and somebody undercut him. I think it scared him more than anything.”
As it turned out, Gwaltney strained his lower back. The wide receiver was hit off balance going after another potential touchdown pass from Isaiah Desima, who had already connected on two long bombs. Gwaltney ended up hitting the ground on his back and the pass was intercepted, putting the finishing touches on Armstrong’s victory.
For the Colonials it ended their early season record at 0-3 and leads to the harder part of their schedule. From next week forward, the Colonials will face former Central District foes.
Most of those teams, Thomas Dale, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Prince George, and Dinwiddie are no longer in the same Virginia High School League (VHSL) grouping as the Colonials due to changes enacted by the VHSL this year. They will continue to play those teams through this season, but those matchups will change dramatically next year for the new groupings.
Meanwhile, the Colonials suffered their third straight loss of the season against Armstrong. The Wildcats scored on a five-yard run by Andre Mack, who also tacked on the two-point conversion run to make the score 8-0. But the Colonials came right back with a scoring drive of their own. Colonials’ quarterback Isaiah Desima scored on a two yard run, but the Colonials attempt to pass for the conversion failed.
A 9-yard run by Mack and two-point conversion bolt by Malik Wallace gave the Wildcats a 16-6 lead. Neither team managed to score in the second quarter.
On defense, Kevin Loftus had 16 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He also picked off a Wallace dump off pass to the flat. Loftus sat back watching the receiver sit inside the zone and waited for the check down pass.
The Wildcats had the ball deep in Colonials territory when Loftus made the interception. When Wallace threw the outlet pass, Loftus stepped in front of the receiver grabbed the ball.
“We turned the ball over three times in the first half and were only down 16-6. We clean that up and it’s a different ball game,’ Coach James said.
The Wildcats struck twice in the third quarter on a pair of Wallace to Kevon Cooley touchdown passes or 20 and 26 yards, effectively putting the game away. Wallace ran for both conversions pushing the score to 32-6.
Had it not been for a couple mistakes and a bevy of dropped passes, things could have been much different for the Colonials. The Colonials were moving the ball through the air, and twice had a receiver open across the middle. But both times the ball slipped out of the players hands. That ended the drive, and set up the Wildcats for a score.
Down by 26 points, it looked like the Colonials might be in for even worse luck. Desima had trouble corralling a high snap, ran back and picked up the ball, then turned and heaved a pass down the left sideline to Brandon Dye who had worked free behind the Wildcat defense. Dye reeled in the pass and bolted for the 44-yard TD. This time, Tyriq Anderson was able to plow in for the two point conversion and the Colonials had closed the gap to 32-14.
But the Colonials’ defense hadn’t figured out how to stop Mack, as he rumbled for a two-yard TD. This time Nigel Chavis tossed the conversion pass to Wallce to push the score to 40-14.
The Colonials got on the scoreboard again when Desima found Gwaltney open down the right sideline. Gwaltney outraced the Wildcat defenders to the end zone, but when the run failed the Colonials trailed 40-20.
Desima finished the night 4-for-19 for 162 yards, two touchdowns and to INTs. He also ran 13 times for 61 yards. Loftus ran four times for 47 yards. Gwaltney caught two balls for 96 yards and a touchdown; he also had seven tackles. Lamier Thomas added 8 tackles, and Jared Morgan had seven tackles. Dye caught one ball for a 44-yard TD.
“The last two games we played well the first half. We have to clean up the third quarter. They guys are growing mentally and we just have to get tougher,” Coach James said.