Even as they steamroll their Commonwealth District rivals, the Colonial Forge Eagles have one eye trained elsewhere.
They didn’t overlook Thursday night’s opponent, Mountain View. But after their 41–6 homecoming romp over the Wildcats, the Eagles admitted that they’ve been monitoring fellow unbeaten Manchester, with whom they’re in a neck-and-neck battle for top seeding in the upcoming Region 6B playoffs.
Colonial Forge (9–0, 5–0) entered Thursday’s game (moved up a day because of the threat of rain) with a slight lead over Manchester in the Virginia High School League’s power ratings.
If the Eagles win at North Stafford next Friday, they’ll not only wrap up their second straight unbeaten regular season and district title but will earn home-field advantage throughout the regional playoffs. Manchester’s final two opponents (1–8 Hermitage and 0–8 George Wythe) won’t provide enough rider points for the Lancers to overtake the Eagles if both teams finish 10–0.
“We watch the people we feel like we may see at some point,” Colonial Forge coach John Brown said. “We’re interested in what other teams do, and I assume they’re looking at us. We know that down the road, if things go well for us, [Manchester] will probably be there, too.
“At the beginning of the year, when we go into the weight room, we talk about teams that we could play against. It’s a matter of respect.”
The Eagles certainly have earned the admiration of their district opponents, outscoring them by a combined 147–20 in five games. On Thursday night, they jumped on the Wildcats (6–3, 2–3) early, forcing a Mountain View punt and grabbing a 7–0 lead on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Madden Lowe to Zack Kindel with just 1:41 elapsed.
“It definitely gets the whole team going [to score quickly],” Kindel said. “It shows we’re all in rhythm when we start out on the right foot.”
The lead grew to 28–0 by halftime, with Kindel catching another TD pass from (this one from 10 yards) after Ernesto Bowen and Lowe scored on short runs.
Lowe was sharp all night, completing 23 of 32 passes for 291 yards and the two scores.
“When we’re executing, there’s not many teams that can stop us,” said Kindel, who finished with eight receptions for 113 yards.
The Wildcats joined the list of Commonwealth foes who are still searching for a way to stop the Eagles. They did avoid becoming Colonial Forge’s fourth district shutout victim when Mark Shelton scored from 1 yard out with 1:26 remaining, but by that point the Eagles had added two Phillip Lovelace field goals and a 20-yard scoring run by backup quarterback Noel Innocent.
Mountain View closes its regular season at home next Friday against Massaponax, the Region 5D points leader. The Wildcats entered Thursday night third in the standings and seem likely to host at least one playoff game.
Colonial Forge, meanwhile, has plenty to play for in its finale at North Stafford. The Eagles know they must clean up their mistakes, like their 125 penalty yards Thursday night, to be successful going forward.
“We’ve got to control the penalties, and we’ve got to contain the No. 1 running back in the nation [Devyn Ford] on defense,” Brown said. “And he opens the door for their other players.”
CF—Zack Kindel 13 pass from Madden Lowe (Phillip Lovelace kick.
CF—Ernesto Bowen 2 run (Lovelace kick).
CF—Lowe 1 run (Lovelace kick).
CF—Kindel 10 pass from Lowe (Lovelace kick).
CF—Lovelace 30 field goal.
CF—Lovelace 32 field goal.
CF—Noel Innocent 20 run (Lovelace kick).
MV—Mark Shelton 1 run (kick blocked).
RUSHING: Mountain View—Mark Shelton 9–40, 1 TD; Tyler Haskins 6–16; Ronald Robinson 4–(minus 1); Malcolm Anderson 3–(minus 10). Colonial Forge—Ernesto Bowen 12–73, 1 TD; Nico Lee 2–35; Noel Innocent 4–18, 1 TD; Jamal Thomas 7–17; Josh Sarratt 2–14; Jordan Savoy 1–6; Max Kauthen 1–5; Team 3–(minus 10); Madden Lowe 7–(minus 21), 1 TD.
PASSING: Mountain View—Anderson 9–19–2, 106 yards; Haskins 1–5–1, 19 yards. Colonial Forge—Lowe 23–32–1, 291 yards, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: Mountain View—Taylor Beckford 4–44; Darius Crouch 1–29; Zachary Fernow 2–28; Robinson 3–24. Colonial Forge—Zack Kindel 8–113, 2 TDs; Elijah Sarratt 5–71; Josh Sarratt 5–57; Bowen 2–29; Paten Rodier 2–17; Kauthen 1–2.