New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | January 28, 2022

Wacky first half ending sparks New Kent’s scoring outburst in win over Smithfield

By Robb Johnson | November 6, 2021 11:08 am

New Kent’s Payton Williamson (75) fills the hole up to prevent a Smithfield ball carrier Charles Spratley III from advancing any further.

Robb Johnson photo

The New Kent Trojans’ football team season has consisted of many highs and many lows. With an opportunity for postseason play available with a win over visiting Smithfield, the New Kent Trojans had to do their part not to squander the opportunity. And it was a crazy end to the first half that highlighted the wild season for New Kent.

The hosting Trojans never surrendered the lead as they defeated the visiting Smithfield Packers 35-21 as part of the Senior Night contest held Friday at the Ed Allen Jr. Athletic Complex.

After Smithfield failed to convert on their opening possession, New Kent struck with their first big play of the night as quarterback Ashton Whitlow’s 75-yard scamper provided the hosts an early 7-0 lead. After Smithfield tied the game up, New Kent took to the air at the beginning of the second quarter with Whitlow connecting with Joseph Batkins on a screen pass. Batkins would take it 53 yards for a touchdown to return the lead to the Trojans (14-7) at the 6:09 mark. With less than a minute to go until halftime, Whitlow made another airborne connection, this time with top target Logan Hodge for a 10-yard strike and a 21-7 lead.

But the craziness didn’t end there before the intermission break. New Kent’s Khoen Christian would intercept a pass and return it 65 yards for a touchdown to up the home team’s advantage to 28-7. New Kent elected to go for an onside kick and successfully recovered. But a Whitlow pass was intercepted and allowed Smithfield another opportunity to score before the break.

The Packers took to the air, connecting on what seemingly was a touchdown pass. However, a penalty negated the score as time expired, meaning there would be one untimed down on the clock. Smithfield attempted the feat again, but this time Whitlow made up for his errant pass, this time intercepting the Packers’ attempt for a touchdown and returning it 95 yards to give the hosts a 35-7 lead at halftime. New Kent held onto the lead for the rest of the way in victory.

After the contest, New Kent Head Coach John McCauley was pleased about his team’s performance.

“Two straight wins, and up-and-down season, we battled injuries, and we fought hard,” he said recapping the regular season. “I believe we are better than a 5-5 team. We just have to keep grinding.

“We want to make noise in the playoffs,” McCauley added, referencing a possible playoff game in the upcoming week. “We just have to put it forward and get these kids believing in what they do.”

New Kent concludes their season with a record of 5-5. The Trojans failed to qualify for postseason play after brackets were revealed Sunday afternoon.