The sight pained Ty-Shaun Colbert, perhaps more so than the ankle he'd tweaked playing football during gym class.
A week ago, Colbert watched inertly from the sideline at Brentsville as Spotsylvania absorbed its first loss of the season, a 34–30 gut-wrencher.
“It was extremely hard,” Colbert said of sitting out. “But I just had to keep my head up and keep my team going.”
He also knows that the Knights won’t reach their intended destination until later this fall, and they’ll need their star running back healthy to keep the chains moving on offense.
Upon returning to the lineup for Friday’s Battlefield District opener against Courtland, Colbert rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns. The gutsy effort on the ground earned him Free Lance–Star player of the week honors—and helped earn Spotsylvania a win nearly 17 years in the making.
Prior to Friday’s 28–25 victory, the Knights last triumphed over the Cougars in November 2002, when Colbert and his teammates were either in diapers, or, in utero.
“It’s not a recollection for any of these guys,” Knights coach Jeremy Jack said. “It’s not a memory for any of these guys. As big of a win as it is for a program, it’s an equally momentous occasion for the community.”
Spotsylvania’s roster features oversized bodies for its level of competition; Colbert stands 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, and his backfield mates are similarly statured.
“If we were in [Class] 1, those guys could all be linemen,” Jack deadpanned.
So when Spotsylvania’s offense came back onto the field trailing by three late in the fourth quarter, Colbert issued a simple directive in the huddle.
“Everybody play fast,” he recalled. “Let’s get on the ball and let’s run.”
And so they did. Earlier in the contest, Jack had identified a vulnerability in the Cougars’ defensive front. With Courtland linebacker Chris Reynoso lining up opposite Colbert, the Knights only had to account for two perimeter defenders. The addition of a pulling guard further tipped the numbers in Spotsylvania’s favor.
Colbert, who holds offers from William & Mary and Morgan State, toted the ball on seven of the drive’s eight plays. From the 5-yard line, the Knights reverted to pure power football. Colbert fielded a direct snap and rumbled straight up the gut. Once again, he found himself watching the action unfold around him.
“I [saw] Jake [Nacarrato] and DeAnthony [Pendleton] get the block to seal it off, and I just ran straight behind them,” Colbert said. “I know my players can get their blocks and with all my heart, I trust them.”
Likewise, the Knights trust Colbert to lead them back to the prominence enjoyed during the 1990s, when Spotsylvania captured three state championships. A move to Region 4B could complicate a playoff push, but Friday’s generational victory showed that the Knights—and Colbert—are increasingly difficult to stop.
“When those tough situations come around, we’re definitely going to lean on Ty,” Jack said. “And Friday night, he certainly showed why.”
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- Cade Bills, Colonial Forge WR: 115 receiving yards, 2 TDs vs. Brooke Point
- Till Butler, Eastern View QB: 196 passing yards, 5 TDs vs. Caroline
- Trevin Edwards, Chancellor QB: Four total TDs vs. King George
- Thor Hanlon, Courtland RB: 189 rushing yards, three TDs vs. Spotsylvania
- Avery Johnson-Edmonds, Colonial Forge DB: Interception, blocked field goal vs. Brooke Point
- Madden Lowe, Colonial Forge QB: 323 passing yards, 4 TDs vs. Brooke Point
- Luke Morley, Massaponax QB: 192 rushing yards, 3 TDs vs. Stafford
- Edward Ware, Mountain View QB: 261 total yards, 3 TDs vs. Riverbend