When Jeremy Jack accepted the job as Spotsylvania’s head football coach in 2017, the Knights hadn’t posted a winning season in 15 years.
It didn’t take Jack and his staff long to put an end to that stretch of futility, as they led the Knights to a 9–5 mark and a spot in the Region 3B championship game last fall.
Friday night, Spotsylvania took the next step in its football renaissance, ambushing visiting Eastern View for an 18–14 victory that snapped the Cyclones’ 44-game regular-season winning streak.
The defeat is Eastern View’s first since a 42–21 loss at Sherando on Sept. 18, 2015.
“We circled this game back in the offseason,” Jack said. “We hoped and prayed that [Eastern View] would come in undefeated, because we wanted the opportunity to end their winning streak. I told the guys before the game that we got what we asked for, and it was up to us to do something with that opportunity.”
The Knights wouldn’t have been able to capitalize on their opportunity for a monumental win without the contributions of Ty–Shaun Colbert. The hard-running junior carried the ball 25 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns and hauled in a key interception from his defensive back spot.
“I knew my team needed me more than ever tonight, so I had to be on point on both sides of the ball,” Colbert said. “When you’re playing a team that hasn’t lost a regular-season game in four years, you have to come out and play harder than you ever have before.”
Spotsylvania (7–2 overall, 4–1 Battlefield District) leaned on its star from the get-go. Starting from their own 13-yard line, the Knights handed the ball to Colbert eight times on a 14-play drive that chewed up 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Colbert racked up 51 yards on the march and capped the proceedings with a 4-yard plunge to give the hosts a 6–0 lead with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Colbert accumulated another 51 yards on Spotsylvania’s next possession, but this time it took him just two tries to do so. His 44-yard touchdown scamper pushed the Knights’ edge to 12–0 with 18 seconds left in the opening stanza.
“When my guys [on the offensive line] get their blocks and seal them, there’s going to be a big hole there for me to run through,” Colbert said. “They did a great job of that, especially early in the game.”
Colbert’s interception came on the ensuing possession, as he snatched a desperation throw from Eastern View quarterback Till Butler out of the air at the Spotsylvania 17-yard line. It was the first time Butler has been picked off this season.
Following his interception, Colbert toted the ball three times for 56 yards to help the Knights move the ball inside the Eastern View 5-yard line. Quarterback Jake Naccarato finished the drive with a 4-yard scoring run that cemented an 18–0 halftime lead for Spotsylvania.
“We played about as poor of a first half as we possibly could have,” Eastern View head coach Greg Hatfield said. “[Spotsylvania] came out with a great game plan and they executed it.”
Eastern View (8–1, 4–1) was able to get back into the game after finding the end zone on its first two possessions of the second half. A 2-yard touchdown run by Raq Lawson pulled the Cyclones within 18–7 at the 8:31 mark of the third quarter, and Drew Shurina’s 47-yard sprint down the right sideline tightened the affair at 18–14 with 1:58 remaining in the period.
Shurina led Eastern View with 117 yards rushing on 12 attempts.
However, Spotsylvania’s defense stepped up when it counted on Eastern View’s final two drives of the night.
After the Cyclones drove from their own 39 to the Knights’ 15, they faced a fourth-and-1. With Spotsylvania defenders packed near the line of scrimmage, the snap was mishandled, forcing Lawson to fall on the ball for a 3-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
On its last possession, Eastern View advanced from its own 47 to the Spotsylvania 16. Back-to-back passes from Butler to Blake Leake and Eli Harris fell incomplete, and a wide receiver option pass from Alex Spangler to Leake on fourth-and-11 with 33 seconds left was broken up by the Knights’ Tyler Skinner, triggering a celebration by the Knights’ faithful.
Butler was held to 6-of-13 passing for just 75 yards and didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season.
Jack credited his defense for clamping down on the Cyclones’ big-play offense.
“Our defense has taken a lot of heat this season,” he said. “But they really stepped up when we needed them tonight, coming up with those two late stops in our own territory. Everyone knows about Ty-Shaun and what our offense can do running the football, but to me, our defense was just as much a part of the story tonight.”
Sp—Ty-Shaun Colbert 4-yard run (run failed).
Sp—Ty-Shaun Colbert 44-yard run (run failed).
Sp—Jake Naccarato 4-yard run (run failed).
EV—Raq Lawson 2-yard run (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Drew Shurina 47-yard run (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
RUSHING: Eastern View—Drew Shurina 12-117, TD; Raq Lawson 12-55, TD; Till Butler 5-18; Alex Spangler 1-6; Mikey Keene 1-3; Eli Harris 1-(-3). Spotsylvania—Ty-Shaun Colbert 25-168, 2 TDs; De'Anthony Pendleton 10-52; Jake Naccarato 8-9, TD; Trenton Ballard 1-0; Team 2-(-3).
PASSING: Eastern View—Till Butler 6-13-1, 75 yards; Alex Spangler 0-1-0. Spotsylvania—Jake Naccarato 1-1-0, 6 yards; Ty-Shaun Colbert 0-1-0.
RECEIVING: Eastern View—Blake Leake 4-30, Alex Spangler 1-30; Eli Harris 1-15. Spotsylvania—Mathias Barnwell 1-6.