A significant part of Spotsylvania’s new football identity was already in place before Friday night’s Battlefield District game against visiting Chancellor. The Knights (5–1, 2–0) didn’t disappoint in that regard, grinding out 366 rushing yards without having to punt
But a few other, uncharacteristic aspects of Friday’s 41–28 victory were just as encouraging to coach Jeremy Jack.
Despite dealing with several injuries on defense, the Knights made a key defensive stand on fourth down early in the second half. Quarterback Jake Naccarato completed his only two pass attempts of the night. And after going 3 for 10 on conversion kicks in the first half of the season, Spotsylvania seems to have settled on a kicker in Braden Knop, who made three of his four tries.
No one will confuse the Knights with the Kansas City Chiefs, but they’re a little more versatile and unpredictable than the scouting report might suggest.
“We’re kind of finding our feet as a program,” Jack said. “It’s been a long time coming. It seems like 2017 was so long ago, when the staff first got here and started impressing on them the importance of believing in yourself. Now, we’re finally seeing it happen. We can play four quarters.”
As usual, the headliner was junior Ty–Shaun Colbert, who bulldozed his way to 193 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. But he was a decoy on the game’s biggest play: DeAnthony Pendleton’s 46-yard touchdown run after taking the ball from Colbert on a reverse, which gave Spotsylvania the lead for good.
“It opens a lot of holes when [opponents] key on him,” Pendleton said of Colbert. “The offensive line holds their blocks, and me and Jake try to take advantage of it.”
And if future opponents are inclined to completely sell out against the run, they may want to see the tape of 6-foot-5 freshman tight end Mathias Barnwell making a nifty leaping 21-yard touchdown catch over two Chancellor defenders late in the first half.
Pendleton’s dash came four plays after the Knights stopped Chancellor (3–3, 1–1) on fourth down from the Spotsylvania 38 three minutes into the third quarter. The Knights swarmed Zyshawn Carter for a 1-yard loss and took over.
“We’ve got a young defense, but that was a huge play,” Jack said. “That was a huge momentum swing, and it breeds momentum offensively.”
The Knights needed it, because otherwise, they struggled at times to stop the Chargers. Quarterback Trevin Edwards (11 carries, 142 yards, one touchdown) repeatedly gashed them for big outside runs after faking handoffs to fullback Krisshaun Scott. And speedy Kim Carruthers scored twice in the first half to give the Chargers at 14–13 lead at the break.
But Spotsylvania scored touchdowns on all four of its second-half possessions, including a back-breaking 12-play, 57-yard drive that milked more than seven minutes off the fourth-quarter clock. Colbert capped that one with a 3-yard run, and after Chancellor responded with a 21-yard TD pass from Edwards to Donovan Williams, Colbert recovered the ensuing onside kick and dashed 29 yards for the clinching score four plays later.
“We wear defenses down,” Colbert said. “We just tried to keep pounding them.”
Added Jack: “That’s who we are. That’s what we do. All of the backs in our backfield are over 200 pounds, and we have a big, strong offensive line.”
Chancellor hosts Caroline next Friday night. Spotsylvania has the week off before visiting James Monroe on Oct. 18. The Knights have dispatched two county rivals in the past two weeks—including their first win over Courtland since 2002—and they’re serving notice to the rest of the district.
“Teams have beaten us pretty bad in the past, like 16 straight years” Pendleton said. “Now we’re trying to start our own streaks.”
C—Kim Carruthers 4 run (Baylor Gallagher kick).
S—Ty-Shaun Colbert 14 run (Braden Knop kick).
C—Carruthers 13 run (Gallagher kick).
S—Mathias Barnwell 21 pass from Jake Naccarato (kick blocked).
S—DeAnthony Pendleton 46 run (Colbert pass from Naccarato).
S—Naccarato 2 run (Knop kick).
C—Trevin Edwards 7 run (Gallagher kick).
S—Colbert 3 run (Knop kick).
C—Donovan Williams 21 pass from Edwwards (Gallagher kick).
S—Colbert 29 run (kick failed).
RUSHING: Chancellor—Trevin Edwards 11–142, 1 TD; Zyshawn Carter 13–95; Krisshaun Scott 10–77; Kim Carruthers 3–26, 2 TDs. Spotsylvania—Ty-Shaun Carter 30–193, 3 TDs; DeAnthony Pendleton 13–99, 1 TD; Jake Naccarato 10–45, 1 TD; Jacob Dingus 3–24; Isaiah Aiken 1–4; Shaun Moore 1–1.
PASSING: Chancellor—Edwards 7–14–0, 110 yards, 1 TD; Team 0–1–0. Spotsylvania—Naccarato 2–2–0, 37 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING: Chancellor—Kodi Mohr 4–50; Tyler Maddox 1–30; Donovan Williams 1–21. 1 TD; Carruthers 1–9. Spotsylvania—Mathias Barnwell 1–21, 1 TD; Colbert 1–16.