New Kent holds off Tabb to clinch playoff spot, sets up rematch against Lafayette
For the past two years, Tabb’s Tigers have played the role of spoiled sport to New Kent’s football team, edging the Trojans by two points in each of their last two meetings. With a playoff spot on the line for New Kent and Tabb looking to ruin those chances, the Trojans locked in early to tame the Tigers.
Playing their first home game inside their stadium, New Kent edged Tabb 14-11 to finish the regular season at 4-2 and seal a Group 3A Region A playoff berth during Saturday afternoon’s Bay Rivers District contest.
New Kent wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, as it was the special teams that provided the opening punch. Tabb’s punter Jackson Shiflett saw his attempt blocked, resulting in New Kent’s Nick Wiles scoop and score launching the hosts to a 7-0 lead.
The Trojan defense kept Tabb in check the first half. Defensive pressure from Jason Hall and Wade Grubbs allowed teammates to stuff the running game and slow down the passing of the Tigers. New Kent only surrendered a field goal to the visitors as they took a 7-3 lead into the break.
After a scoreless third quarter, New Kent quarterback Ashton Whitlow connected with Logan Frederick on a deep pass down the field. The duo connected once again in the red zone, this time for a touchdown and a 14-3 advantage.
Tabb countered, finding the end zone for the first time to cut the lead to 14-9. They followed it up with a successful two-point conversion to cut the lead down to three (14-11) with 2:05 left in the game.
But New Kent was able to hold their ground, taking care of the ball after the kickoff and grinding it on the ground to run out the clock.
The Trojans enter the regional playoffs as the fourth seed and will face district rival Lafayette in the opening round. The two teams clashed less than two weeks ago on Mar. 26, with the Rams emerging victorious with a 35-13 win.