Nightmarish fumbles result in Colonial Heights 20-14 upset of Trojans
“We fumbled the ball eight times tonight. You cannot beat anybody turning the ball over like we did tonight.”
Those were the sentiments expressed by New Kent’s head football coach Clark Harrell after a 20-14 setback to Colonial Heights to open the 2017 season.
After Colonials’ return man Rayquan Rodgers returned the opening kickoff to midfield, the visitors blended a mix of passes and runs as part of a seven minute drive to move the ball down the field. Colonial Heights quarterback Hunter Spence pushed the ball down inside the 10-yard line. Fortune favored the guests, as Spence fumbled the ball at the one-yard line but had teammate Andrew Daisey pounce on it for a 6-0 Colonials advantage.
New Kent wasted little time responding. On the first place from scrimmage, running back Evan Branch scampered for 36 yards. Moments later, fullback Kyle Coles toted the ball from five yards out, knotting the game at six apiece heading into quarter two.
But the second stanza for the host Trojans felt like a bad dream that they couldn’t wake up from. On two of their drives, Colonial Heights Jacen Fowlkes literally ripped the ball from the hands of New Kent backs Branch and Wyatt Terry. Even when regaining possession, penalties set the hosts back. When the hosts did manage to break into the red zone, an errant snap to quarterback Ryan Curle resulted in a Colonials’ recovery, the first of four in the red zone on the night by the visitors. Despite four first half fumbles by New Kent, both teams remained deadlocked at six heading into intermission.
Fumble number five by the Trojans would be the momentum Colonial Heights needed. A drop by Branch on a quick pitch resulted in position inside the 30 for the visitors. Back-to-back runs by Maurice Sykes Jr., including the last one for 16 yards, bestowed a 14-6 lead.
It would take some time, but New Kent’s strong offensive line play and touch running paid off as Branch scored on a 19-yard burst. Terry’s carry off the left side tied the game once again (14-14).
The next Colonials’ drive took advantage of New Kent’s fatigued defense. A Spence down the seams to Daisey followed by a 16-yard screen to Tyron Porter returned the lead to the visitors at the end of the third quarter (20-14).
As time ticked down, New Kent started on its own 34-yard line with just under six minutes to go. The Trojans moved the ball down to Colonial Heights’ nine-yard line, facing fourth and two. But a sack by the visitors on New Kent’s quarterback Ryan Curle halted the drive. Colonial Heights created breathing room, sealing the game by converting a third and 17 with Spence nudging the ball over the line to gain.
Harrell reference that his team won the game stat wise, but failed to take care of the fundamentals.
“We had nearly 300 yards rushing tonight,” the head coach said after the game. “We never punted tonight and that meant they couldn’t stop us.
“We messed up four red zone drives because we couldn’t hold onto the ball,” Harrell continued. “Our turnovers prevented us from getting any momentum tonight.”
The win for the visiting Colonials marks their first since Nov. 6, 2015. New Kent begins the season 0-1.
CH- Spence, 8/11/92 yards, 1 TD, 1 int.
NK- Curle 4/5/55 yards.
CH- Sykes 9/89, 1 TD; Lilly 10/40, Spence 13/34, Rodgers 2/6, Teliaferro 1/6.
NK- Branch 18/145, 1 TD; Coles 14/113, 1 TD; Terry 1/14.
CH- Daisey 2/44, Rodgers 3/17, Porter 1/16, 1 TD; Ramsey 1/15.
NK- Gammon 4/55.