New Kent squeezes by Colonial Heights 16-12 to win season opener
Returning to the gridiron, New Kent’s Trojans visited Colonial Heights looking to produce a result similar to the teams’ last two encounters: a win.
It would take a final plunge by New Kent quarterback Ryan Grey with less than three minutes remaining in the contest that would be the difference maker as the Trojans upended the Colonials 16-12 in Friday night’s season opening contest for both teams.
Jitters were evident for both squads as errors, penalties, and mistakes at inopportune times resulted in a stalemate in the first quarter. But a miscue by the visiting Trojans in the second quarter broke the tie on the scoreboard.
After New Kent’s Kevin Pascale recovered a fumble deep in their own territory, a change in possession saw back-up signal caller Ashton Whitlow handling the duties. On the ensuing drive, Whitlow fumbled a snap and watched it roll into the end zone. Colonial Heights Daviyon Warner was able to plunge on top of the ball before New Kent could, resulting in a touchdown for the hosting Colonials. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the hosts with a 6-0 lead with 8:03 remaining until the halftime break.
The score by Colonial Heights had retroactive consequences, as New Kent responded with a burst of energy. Grey stepped into the quarterback role, completing a pass to receiver Josiah Reedy for seven yards. Grey then called his own number, scampering 40 yards down the sideline and into the end zone on the next play for a touchdown. Gabriel Almasri’s kick provided New Kent a 7-6 lead.
But that advantage didn’t last long for the visitors. After New Kent was flagged for a personal foul, Colonial Heights had little trouble getting into the red zone. From there, Colonials’ quarterback Jaden Newby connected with Justus Mcleod on a 19-yard touchdown pass, returning the lead to the hosts at 12-7. That score would hold as both teams headed into the halftime intermission.
With both teams playing stagnantly in the third quarter, Colonial Heights maintained its five-point margin midway through the fourth quarter. New Kent took possession of the ball with seven minutes to go in regulation, looking to drive 67 yards for a touchdown to take the lead. The Trojans used a balance office to drive inside the 10-yard line over the next four minutes.
With 3:04 remaining and third and long from the 10-yard line, Whitlow scamped down the middle of the field through a hole, racking up nearly nine yards and placing the ball on their own two-yard line for a fourth and a long one.
New Kent elected to go for it, as Grey returned to the quarterback position. Grey took the snap, eventually getting stuffed in the backfield. But the determination of the signal caller saw him squirm away from defenders and barrel into the end zone with 2:34 remaining in regulation for the score. Almasri’s placement provided the visitors a two-point lead (14-12).
Colonial Heights had one last chance to drive the field. But after Almasri’s kickoff placed the hosts deep in their own territory, a mistake by Newby in the end zone resulted in an intentional grounding penalty and a safety. Not only did the penalty award the Trojans two points (16-12), but it also forced Colonial Heights to kickoff to the visitors. The Trojans recovered the onside kick attempt, sealing the win for the visitors.
New Kent improves to 1-0 and will host Bruton in their home opener on Sept. 10.