CHARLOTTESVILLE—It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
The Orange football team had plenty to smile about Friday night after finishing off a 20–12 win at Western Albemarle (4–6) in the regular season finale for both teams.
The win was the Hornets’ fifth in their last six games. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the Region 4B playoff.
“My motto ever since I had the program is make every day count,” Orange coach Jesse Lohr said. “There is no tomorrow, there’s only right now, so we do everything we can for the moment. Live for the moment and if the good Lord blesses us to have the sun come up tomorrow, then we’ll worry about tomorrow, but right now we’re living for the moment.”
One of the players that epitomized that mindset was senior running back Jaylen Alexander. The Hornets’ all-time leading rusher carried 25 times for 133 yards and a touchdown as the Hornets avenged last year’s 30–20 loss to Western Albemarle.
Orange (5–5) set the tone early on with a long touchdown drive on its first possession. Douglas Newsome sparked the drive with a 49-yard run on a jet sweep play. That set up Alexander’s six-yard touchdown run to give the Hornets a 7–0 lead with 8:01 left in the first quarter.“Coming into the game, we could tell they knew all the running plays,” Alexander said. “They studied film pretty good, but we just tried to go up there and execute and beat them every play. We just tried to come out and make a statement and let them know that we were going to be here all night.”
Later, Walker Johnson hit Douglas Newsome on a fly pattern for a 20-yard touchdown and Noah Carey would seal the win in the fourth quarter with a 3-yards touchdown run.
Or—Jaylen Alexander 6-yard run (Kyle Taylor kick).
WA—John Buetow 1-yard run (kick blocked).
Or—Douglas Newsome 20-yard pass from Walker Johnson (Kyle Taylor kick).
Or—Noah Carey 3-yard run (kick blocked).
RUSHING: Orange—Jaylen Alexander 23-148, TD; Noah Carey 11-53, TD; Douglas Newsome 2-50; Paul Poirer 3-17; Walker Johnson 4-5; Hylton Hale 1-1. Western Albemarle—Carter Shifflett 11-75; Austin Shifflett 8-17; John Buetow 2-6, TD.
PASSING: Orange—Walker Johnson 6-8-1, 78 yards, TD. Western Albemarle—Carter Shifflett 2-2-0, 24 yards.
RECEIVING: Orange—Jireek Washington 2-32; Douglas Newsome 2-29, TD; Sihle Mthethwa 1-20; Jaylen Alexander 1-(-3). Western Albemarle—Austin Shifflett 1-13; Dakota Howell 1-11.