Spotsylvania middle linebacker Ian Surike came into Wednesday’s game with his mind focused on stopping Orange’s star running back Jaylen Alexander and providing the Knights’ offense plenty of scoring opportunities.
Alexander still managed 167 yards on 19 carries and a score, but Surike and the Knights (2-1) enjoyed the last laugh, forcing five turnovers and five quarterback sacks for a 34-7 victory on the Knights’ home field.
“We all came together and played 100 percent,” said the 5-foot-6, 190-pound senior. “We keyed on him [Alexander] all week. We had to stop him.”
Doubling his sack total with four as well as forcing a first-half fumble, Surike explained his success pursuing Hornets quarterback Walker Johnson this way: “I knew I was quicker than the tackle in front of me. Just had to make sure I beat him off the ball because he was pretty big.”
Surike left the field with what was described as “a dead leg” on his final sack at the Hornets’ 3-yard line. He quickly regained his strength and was in the middle of the Knights’ post-game celebration.
Alexander followed Surike’s sack with an 8-yard gain, which was followed by two incomplete passes. The Knights needed only two plays to strike paydirt as Deanthony Pendleton scored from 5 yards out.
It seemed only fair that Pendleton got the final call to score after his 42-yard return with the second-half kickoff, setting up Trevor Colson’s second TD pass.
The Hornets (1-2) got off to a rough start, a hard hit by Spotsylvania’s Neo Padilla caused a fumble on a punt return leading to the Knights’ second touchdown, then Daquan Carter recorded his fourth interception of the season, enabling Spotsylvania to boost its lead to 21-0 late in the first half.
Colson found Tysean Tyler for two scores and barely missed completing a third pass to him down the left sideline for what would’ve been a big gainer and possibly another score. Teammate Ty-shaun Colbert paced Spotsylvania’s ground game with 117 yards on 19 carries.
“It’s a whole team effort. I came out and did my part and got the yards,” said Colbert, who also completed a halfback option pass. “It’s a critical win because they’re a 5A school and we’re a 3A school. And it gives us more power points.”
“Very efficient in all aspects. We set our sights: we wanted to score first, score last and score often,” Knights coach Jeremy Jack said.
About his game plan against Alexander, Jack said: “He’s definitely hard to stop. You want to limit his yardage. If we can slow him down, we had enough guys to chip in and match his yardage. We had a great time of possession in the first half.”
Both teams are on the road next Friday: the Knights traveling to Culpeper, while the Hornets open their Jefferson District slate at Charlottesville.
Sp—Isaiah Ramadane 15 yard run (Tysean Tyler run).
Sp—Trevor Croson 2 yard run (pass failed).
Sp—Tysean Tyler 9 yard pass from Croson (Dylan Powers kick).
Sp—Tyler 30 yard pass from Croson (Powers kick).
Or—Jaylen Alexander 40 yard run (Ricardo Flores kick).
Sp—Deanthony Pendleton 5 yard run (kick failed).
RUSHING: Orange—Jaylen Alexander 19-167, TD; Daniel Carter 1-0; Chris Washington 2-0; Walker Johnson 6-(-19). Spotsylvania—Ty-shaun Colbert 19-117; Trevor Croson 14-44, TD; Deanthony Pendleton 7-22, TD; Isaiah Ramadane 4-18, TD; Jake Naccarato 2-8; Daquan Carter 3-4; Tysean Tyler 5-18; Beau Bonham 1-3; Lane Rose 1-3; Logan Duff 1-0; Kevin Jackson 1-(-3).
PASSING: Orange—Johnson 1-4-1, 35 yards. Spotsylvania—Croson 6-8-0, 56 yards, 2 TD’s; Colbert 1-1-0, 4 yards.
RECEIVING: Orange—Carter 1-35 yards. Spotsylvania—Carter 2-18 yards; Tyler 3-23, 2 TD’s Naccarato 1-11; Jacob Dingus 1-4.