WOODBRIDGE—Hall of Fame Colonial Forge High School football coach Bill Brown is no stranger to big wins, but Friday’s improbable come-from-behind win at Hylton has to rank as among his more memorable regular-season victories.
The Eagles were all but out trailing by as many as 14 points—including a 13-point deficit—before a furious rally in the fourth quarter that resulted in a scintillating 37–34 overtime decision.
Colonial Forge, which remains undefeated at 4–0, capped its epic comeback by blocking a potential game-tying field goal by the Bulldogs to preserve the victory. The Eagles had taken their first lead of the game just moments earlier when kicker Jadon Redding booted a 27-yard field goal to give his team a 37–34 advantage.
A stalwart Colonial Forge defense did the rest, stuffing blue-chip tailback Ricky Slade on three consecutive plays to set up the game-winning blocked field goal.
“We don’t quit,” Brown said afterwards. “Our program has gotten to the point where our kids know we can win. Our kids always believe they can win no matter what the score is.”
The Eagles, who host Riverbend next week, appeared out of chances when quarterback Ethan Garwood’s fourth-down pass at the Hylton 6-yard line was batted down with a little more than four minutes left in regulation.
Hylton (2–1) failed to capitalize, setting the stage for Garwood’s 5-yard scoring strike to Zack Kindel with 13 seconds left that evened the score at 34-apiece. Colonial Forge appeared poised to win the game the game in regulation, but the Bulldogs blocked Redding’s PAT attempt to force the extra period.
A three-year starter, Garwood overcame three costly interceptions to finish with 274 yards passing to pace the winners, finding Kindel twice for scores. Kindel finished the game with nine catches, eight of which came after the half.
Senior tailback Ricky Slade, a Penn State recruit, finished the game with 238 yards and three scores on 27 carries to pace Hylton.
“I could just tell this was going to be one of those nights that we were going to have to work our way back,” Brown said. “But that’s just what we did against one of the best backs in the country.”
None of Garwood’s mistakes appeared to loom larger than the pick Jordan Davis returned 96 yards for a score to start the second half, thwarting a potential go-ahead Eagles score and putting the Bulldogs seemingly comfortably ahead at 34–21 with 7:18 left in the third period.
Hylton struck first when Slade darted into the end zone from 52 yards to put the hosts ahead with 9:41 left in the opening period. He added another score from 2 yards out just minutes later as the Bulldogs made the most of another Garwood interception and raced to the early 14-0 advantage with 7:28 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdowns were the first allowed by the Eagles defense this season.
Colonial Forge coolly kept its poise despite the stunning start to the contest, clawing to within 14–6 following a second Redding field goal that brought his team to within with a little more than a minute left in an action-filled opening period.
A Josh Sarratt touchdown from 2 yards out with 6:49 left in the half brought the visitors to 14–13. Sarratt added another score late in the half, taking an inside reverse in for a touchdown from 4 yards out with 54 seconds left in the half to help the Eagles knot the score at 21-apiece at the break.
H—Ricky Slade 52-yard run (Joshua Thomas kick)
H—Ricky Slade 2-yard run (Thomas kick)
CF—Joshua Redding 32-yard kick
CF—Redding 37-yard kick
CF—Josh Sarratt 2 run (Redding kick)
H—De’Shun Mickens 32 pass from Keyshawn Copeland (Thomas kick)
CF—Sarratt 4 run (Preston Morgan run)
H—Jordan Davis 96-yard INT return (Thomas kick)
H—Slade 1-yard run (kick failed)
CF—Zack Kindel 4-yard pass from Ethan Garwood (Reddking kick)
CF—Kindel 5-yard pass from Garwood (Redding kick)
CF—Redding 27-yard kick.
RUSHING: Colonial Forge—Ernesto Bowen 12-33; Ethan Garwood 8-22; Preston Morgan 6-18; David Dennis 1-4; Kennard McNeal 3-24; Josh Sarratt 7-24, 2 TDs. Hylton—Ricky Slade 27-238, 3 TDs; Keyshawn Copeland 7-0.
PASSING: Colonial Forge—Ethan Garwood 30-40-3, 274 yds, 2 TDs. Hylton—Keyshawn Copeland 1-6-1, 32 yards.
RECEIVING: Colonial Forge—Zack Kindel 9-65 yards, 2 TDs; Dennis 8-76; Bowen 4-22; Paten Rodier 2-11; Sarratt 5-72; McNeal 2-28. Hylton—De’Shun Mickens 1-32, TD.