Big second half scoring outburst by Warhill knocks New Kent from ranks of unbeaten teams
New Kent’s Trojans football team entered Friday night’s contest with the goal of gaining a measure of revenge on a Warhill Lions’ squad that has dominated the series in the last three matchups. And for one half, New Kent seemed poise to bring that losing streak to an end.
But 20 straight unanswered points beginning midway in the third quarter were enough to help Warhill prevail 41-20 in the Bay Rivers District gridiron clash, sending the Trojans to their first loss of the season.
The hosts took advantage of having the ball first to start the game. Running back Joe Batkins gouged the Lions’ defense for a 45-yard scamper before finishing it off with a nine-yard tote for a touchdown for an early 7-0 lead in favor of New Kent just over three minutes into the game.
It would take until the second quarter when Warhill would finally change the zero on the scoreboard. Liam Francisque carry down the sideline would place six points on the board for the visitors. Electing to go for two, the Lions’ converted, taking an 8-7 lead with 8:30 remaining until the halftime break.
Francisque would make his mark on defense for the guests, intercepting a fourth down pass deep in their own territory and returning it past midfield. The efforts did not go in vain, as Warhill’s Taylen Eady coasted into the end zone on a five-yard carry to up the visitors’ advantage to 14-7.
New Kent rebounded, executing a two-minute drill and taking advantage of personal fouls committed by Warhill. The Trojans’ drive culminated in Thomas Wilson’s 12-yard touchdown carry. A placement kick by Tayten Hybiak tied the score at 14 apiece with less than a minute to go into halftime.
But that was more than enough time for the visitors to strike again. After completing a 29-yard pass, Warhill was forced with a decision deep in New Kent’s territory. Facing fourth and nine, the Lions executed a bubble screen, with Eady as the recipient. With a convoy of blockers, Eady had no trouble finding the plane of the endzone for a score with nine seconds to go until intermission. The result was a 21-14 lead for Warhill as teams headed to the locker rooms.
Emerging from the break, a mishandled snap by the Lions resulted in New Kent pouncing on the ball to gain possession. The hosts’ capitalized on the blunder, as a 44-yard run by Batkins closed Warhill’s lead to one (21-20) after the touchdown score. However, the extra point kick attempt was blocked, keeping the guests ahead.
But from there, Warhill corrected many of its mistakes committed early in the game. Another screen pass from Lion quarterback Chase O’Neil to Eady resulted in a 72-yard pickup. Moments later, Eady punched the ball in on the ground from three yards out to up the guests’ advantage to eight (28-20). After a Trojans’ three-and-out, Warhill’s Tayvion Blockett returned a New Kent punt 45 yards for a touchdown in the opening moments of the final quarter, upping the Lions’ lead. From there, one additional touchdown with just eight minutes to go by Warhill put the game away.
New Kent’s record falls to 2-1 on the season.