Devils Storm Past Colonials
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Oct 14, 2013, 08:09
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
HOPEWELL — The Blue Devils faced the most ideal circumstance: playing Colonial Heights with a chance to snap a two-game slide during homecoming week.
However, the game against the Colonials represented the clear trap game. Overconfidence sometimes leads to surprise results in between the white lines and when Colonial Heights’ quarterback Isaiah Desima threw a 60-yard strike to open up play, there were some shivers going down the Hopewell sideline.
But in just 1:26 of elapsed game-action, Hopewell’s Bruce Allen intercepted Desima and Tabyus Taylor took off on an 85-yard run on the team’s first offensive drive of the game, setting the physical tone which would foreshadow the way the game finished.
“It’s a great feeling,” Hopewell coach Ricky Irby said after his team’s 58-16 dismantling of the Colonials. “Anytime you work as hard as we do, practice as hard as we do, to get a win, it makes it that much sweeter.”
In truth, the game was won well before the opening whistle blew.
Hopewell’s (2-4) struggles have been a result of their tough schedule while the Colonials (0-6) faced a tall task to stop the athletic ability of the Blue Devils. It was a mismatch which essentially had a knockout prior to kick-off as the Colonials arrived late, having just 27 minutes to warm-up before game-time.
While Colonial Heights was not likely to put up much of a fight, the lack of preparation before the game clearly did not help matters. Hopewell battered the Colonials in the trenches tallying 22 points in just 5:58 of elapsed time in the first quarter.
And perhaps it’s the explosiveness the Blue Devils showed on offense which was most impressive.
Following Taylor’s touchdown run, Hopewell stuffed a 4th and 3 attempt by the Colonials, taking over possession. Just two plays later, Gabe Dupree found himself prancing into the end zone with five-yard run, untouched.
But that was just the beginning.
After a dominating defensive possession, Colonial Heights set up for a punt, but the snap sailed over Kevin Loftus’ head into the end zone where he was tackled for a safety. On the next offensive play, Taylor handed the ball off to Dupree again, off-tackle before Dupree stopped and fired a pass back to
Taylor across field for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
“We just focused a lot on ourselves and getting better,” Irby said of his team’s preparation. “We wanted to make sure we finish teams and our offensive line did an outstanding job tonight. We latched onto guys ... we were aggressive and got down field and finished off those blocks.”
With rainy and wet conditions causing havoc on the field, this game had to be won in the trenches. Irby correctly recognized it and the offensive line delivered by opening up holes for whoever lined up behind them.
Hopewell’s final rushing totals told the real story: 249 yard rushing on just 18 carries. The Blue Devils averaged 13.8 yards per carry and had no rushing attempts in the entire fourth quarter of play.
But the offense is just part of the story.
The defense also dominated their own trenches, but the standout is a player who previously suited up for the Junior Varsity squad as recently as last week. Hopewell’s defense has struggled to create turnovers in recent games, leaving
Irby to look at other places for a spark.
He found Ronnie Monroe and he turned in a two-interception performance, providing a ball-hawking presence in the secondary to reward the relentless rush of the defensive line.
“After last week, we struggled at corner and defending the pass so I wanted to give Ronnie a shot over there,” Irby said about his team which surrendered 243 yards passing in the first half against Meadowbrook last week. “That kid made plays and all he does is make plays. Very impressed with him tonight and he’s only a sophomore.”
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
While younger players like Monroe and Cameron Hill provided some highlights — including Hill’s first varsity touchdown pass late in the third quarter — it was No. 5 who shined brightest on a day the Blue Devils looked like an undefeated squad.
Taylor tallied six total touchdowns — five in the first half alone — in four different categories, filling up the stat sheet. Taylor accumulated two passing, two receiving, one rushing and one punt return for a touchdown.
Perhaps it was the punt return which represented the highlight of a special night. Taylor recovered a bouncing squib kick off of a safety while backtracking, planted his right foot and turned upfield. He quickly sidestepped one defender, broke one tackle and once in the open field no one could catch him for a 60-yard return.
“He’s incredible. He’s one of the best football players I’ve ever been around,” Irby gushed of Taylor. “It’s a joy to watch him play and we have some talent around him and those guys stepped up to help him out tonight.”
And while nights like Friday won’t happen often, if Taylor can be half as explosive as he was against the Colonials the rest of the season, Hopewell will have themselves a playoff spot in four weeks.