Unable to stop Warhill, New Kent falls 44-33 in finale
For lack of a defensive stop, New Kent’s Trojans found themselves on the short end of an early third quarter score, down 31-7 to Warhill’s visiting Lions. And the deficit proved insurmountable despite a second half rally.
The Trojans closed within five at 38-33 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Lions consumed most of the remaining time to put the game away with a late touchdown and secure a 44-33 win.
Last Friday’s outcome closed the book on a disappointing football season for the hosts. Only a 21-0 shutout of Jamestown two weeks earlier prevented a winless campaign as the Trojans finished 1-8 in Bay Rivers District play and 1-9 overall.
“We came out pretty flat tonight. I think our attention was somewhere else,” said Trojan head coach Dan Rounds.
“We had five senior defensive starters injured on the sidelines and that didn’t help,” he added.
Warhill scored touchdowns on its first four possessions. And only time running out in the first half with the Lions on the Trojan two-yard line stopped a string of five straight scores.
New Kent answered Warhill’s initial TD with quarterback Koree Reed’s six-yard burst capping a six-play, 42-yard march following Cody Simmons’ 45-yard kickoff return on the Trojans’ first series.
But Warhill stopped two of New Kent’s ensuing drives on downs and forced a punt on another on the way to a 28-7 halftime lead. Ryan Ristanio’s 23-yard field goal early in quarter three created a 31-7 bulge, the Lions’ largest advantage of the night.
The Trojan comeback began three plays into New Kent’s next series when running back Storm Parker (26 carries, 147 yards) bolted 60 yards to the end zone. The defense then got its first stop as linebacker Carnell Nixon covered a fumble near midfield, setting up a drive ending on Devontae Fitzgerald’s two-yard run to narrow the gap to 31-20.
Warhill appeared to have the outcome sealed on a touchdown with just over eight minutes left, but Reed found Parker open in the flat on the next play from scrimmage. The running back did the rest, avoiding and outrunning defenders on a 65-yard scoring jaunt.
Four plays into Warhill’s next series, defensive lineman Phillip McPherson gathered a Lion fumble in midair and raced 50 yards to the end zone. Jacob Kothe’s placement made it a 38-33 contest with 6:33 remaining.
But Warhill erased the next five minutes on a 12-play, 56-yard TD drive to seal the win. Quarterback Shaun Cvengros followed his line on 10 of the plays for 53 yards, including the final one-yard sneak.
“We did a good job coming back in the second half and made some plays,” Rounds said.
“In the three seasons since I’ve been head coach, this was the most hard fought where we were more competitive, especially from the middle of the season on,” he said.
“We were in most games, but we just didn’t finish. But I felt we went out and competed better than the last two years,” he said.
The coach also had a response for critics who look at New Kent’s JV football success in recent years and expect more of the same on the varsity level.
“Our guys have to realize they’ve got to work harder and do that for the other nine months of the year,” he said. “This isn’t JV anymore. It’s an entirely different level.”