Colonials End Skid With Huge Win
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Aug 31, 2014, 09:29
Colonials Coach Remus James gets the high school football version of the ice bucket challenge in the waning seconds of the Colonials well earned victory.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—It had been so long since the Colonials have had a significant victory on the football field that the team nearly couldn’t remember how to run the water cooler drill. As the players attempted to douse Coach Remus James with a cooler full of Gatorade, the cooler slipped and emptied itself onto the ground. Undaunted, the players scooped up the ice and dumped it on their coach.
To be sure, Coach James probably never felt the Colonials’ version of the ice bucket challenge as he watched the clock tick off the final seconds in the game that iced the Colonials 27-game losing streak. With ice cubes bouncing off his shoulders, the coach was surrounded by his players who were elated to start the 2014 season with a 20-0 win over Thomas Jefferson.
“You know what? This is a team. We had some good players last year, but this is 31 guys playing together. After 27 games I felt like I was dying, but we had a great off season. I told our guys it’s only one win, so we have to be humble,” Coach James said.
Last season’s team had great leaders in Kevin Loftus and Lamier Thomas, but the team really wasn’t ready. This year, with Brian Gwaltney at quarterback and defensive back, Keon Graves and Tyriq Anderson in the backfield, and Ramon Ares and Deqwan Pyer brigning pressure from the defensive line it looks like Coach James may be right.
Certainly, to look at Friday’s game, the defense completely controlled Thomas Jefferson from start to finish. Five defenders led the way: Gwaltney with six tackles, Pyer with five tackles and a pair of sacks; Brian Mabl with five tackles and two assists, Morgan with five tackles and one assist, and Ares with four tackles and two for loss.
The defense left TJ with little room to run and even less for pass plays. Pyer was a force by himself but when Ares got loose the gummed up the Vikings backfield. And the effort was just what the doctor ordered, because the offense was taking a little time getting on their feet.
“Brian was so anxious. He’s a senior and had never won a varsity football game. A lot of time he doesn’t get the credit in the district that he deserves; he’s a great athlete but an even better kid. He has a 3.9 GPA,” James said.
Initially, it looked like the Colonials would be able to run the ball. Gwaltney had 89 yards on 15 carries, including a 35-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw. Anderson managed 60 yards on 16 totes with one touchdown. But all of the scoring took place in the second half.
If not for the stifling play of the defense things could have turned out differently. Gwaltney had problems getting a good snap all night. As they took over on downs deep in their own territory the worst of the high snaps sailed over his head. Both Gwaltney and Anderson tried to grab the ball, but it squirted to the two, where it was recovered by the Vikings.
Less than a minute to play, and it looked like TJ would score for sure. But Jared Morgan and Ethan Carr made sure it didn’t happen. On the first snap, Vikings quarterback Zach Smith pulled the snap down and headed to his left, where Morgan was waiting. As Morgan wrapped up Smith, Carr came in from the other side and finished the quarterback off for a one-yard loss. Smith would fumble the snap on the next play, and the Colonials recovered with 31 seconds left in the half.
The Colonials offense behind Gwaltney picked up the play in the second half, scoring twice in the second quarter. They capped the victory with Anderson’s one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Senior quarterback Brian Gwaltney scored two touchdowns in leading the Colonials to their first victory after 27-straight losses. For the seniors, the win represents the first time they have notched a victory for the Colonials.
“I’ve been playing since I was a freshman and to finally get the W in my senior year it’s a dream. We have to rectify things; we are going to change things around at Colonial Heights,” Gwaltney said “I give all the credit to the offensive line. We couldn’t have done what we did without them doing their jobs. Keon’s run sparked our offense. Everything just clicked when he got that run and we never looked back.”
Thomas Jefferson 0 0 0 0 – 0 Colonial Heights 0 0 14 6 – 20
CH – Gwaltney 1 run (Ragland kick)
CH – Gwaltney 35 run (Ragland kick)
CH – Anderson 1 run (kick failed)