New Kent blanks Colonial Heights in football season opener
When a new coach comes in and takes over a program, it takes a while for players to get adjusted to the system and scheme. For New Kent’s football team, it took exactly one half.
Capitalizing off third quarter turnovers and a strong ground game in the second half, New Kent blanked Colonial Heights 33-0 Friday morning in Colonial Heights to kick off the 2018-19 season.
The hosting Colonials best drive was their opening one, marching down to New Kent’s 26-yard line. However, the Trojans defense elevated their play on fourth down, as Colonial quarterback Hunter Spence connected with receiver Joshua Bridges, only to get stopped for no gain.
The visitors showed off a little bit of new head coach John Fulks’ offense on their opening drive. Trojan quarterback Brody Smith connected with running back Evan Branch for 33 yards before connecting with senior tight end Dean Powell for an additional 20 yards. A carry by running back Adam Cable for six yards into the end zone at the beginning of the second quarter finished off New Kent’s opening drive, bestowing the visitors a 6-0 lead. Despite moving the ball well down the field, the Trojans had to settle for the touchdown advantage heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Trojans tested out what a returning C.J. Reeders could do on the field. After suffering a torn ACL that prevented him from playing all of last year, the senior running back teamed with classmate Branch, combining for 57 yards on three plays to begin the third quarter. A Branch blast up the middle from one yard out to double the advantage for the visitors (12-0).
Colonial Heights mistake at midfield resulted in New Kent’s Kesean Taliaferro recovering the pigskin. One play later, Reeders used a hop step before accelerating 50 yards for a score and an 18-0 lead for the guests with 9:07 remaining in the quarter. After forcing a turnover on downs, Branch carried the ball from 32 yards out under three minutes later, stretching the advantage to 26-0 for the Trojans. Taliaferro’s tote late in the game accounted for the final score of the night.
After the contest, Fulks summed up his team’s performance after the game.
“We finished in the second half and they came out and played to their potential,” the victorious head coach said. “I was really happy with the third quarter performance where we executed well on offense and defense.
“We also made adjustments in the second half that unleashed our talented backs with better blocking that allowed us to get to the second level,” Fulks continued. “I’m proud of [quarterback] Brody Smith managing the game and not turning the ball over.”
New Kent (1-0) rushed for 334 yards, with Branch accounted for 121 of those yards and Reeders accumulating 69 yards. Smith completed six of 10 passes for 80 yards, with Branch on the receiving end of 47 of those yards.
Colonial Heights (0-1) managed 193 rushing yards on the ground and 51 yards in the air.