FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
Northwest Region, Division 5 Final: Big plays help North Stafford win title
WOLVERINES EYE GREATER PRIZES
For photos from Saturday’s three Region Championship games, click here.
By STEVE FRANZELLO
One of the goals the North Stafford football team set for itself this year was to make it to the Northwest Region championship game.
After yesterday’s hard-fought 43–35 victory over visiting Brooke Point, the opportunistic Wolverines will need to raise the bar even higher as they head to the Group AAA, Division 5 state playoffs next weekend.
The Commonwealth District champions (10–2) will visit Eastern Region champion Phoebus on Saturday. It will be just the second state tournament appearance in school history.
“We talked about the heart of a champion all week,” North Stafford coach Joe Mangano said. “Our kids embody that. They’re not big and they’re not fast, but you can never question their will.”
Mangano couldn’t have been more right yesterday.
On a day when Brooke Point out-gained them by 250 yards and recorded 20 more first downs, the Wolverines took advantage of their opportunities and responded to every challenge that came their way.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said North Stafford wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ravenel. “We had a great week of practice and we came out focused. It showed on the field.”
Ravenel, who caught a 60-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Austin Grebe late in the third quarter, also made a defensive gem at the start of the quarter that typified the kind of day it was for both teams.
Trailing 23–13 at the start of the second half, Brooke Point (9–4) appeared ready to gain some momentum when Aaron Sanders caught a pass from Zach Deutel and looked TD-bound before Ravenel raced 62 yards and stripped him of the ball just as he reached the end zone.
It was that kind of an afternoon for the Black–Hawks, who dominated the game statistically, but continually shot themselves in the foot with costly mistakes.
After an error-prone first quarter that included three turnovers, including a 2-yard interception return for a score by the Wolverines’ Davonte Purvis, Brooke Point trimmed the deficit to 16–13 on a 30-yard TD pass from Deutel to Tyus White.
The Deutel-to-White combination was lethal for much of the afternoon. Deutel completed 37 of 53 passes for 417 yards and three
scores, while White had 16 receptions and three TDs.
“We competed and played hard,” said Black–Hawks coach Jeff Berry. “It’s tough when you don’t play your best game, but North Stafford had a lot to do with that. They deserve the credit.”
Besides Purvis’ interception return for a score, the Wolverines’ special teams did their part in the victory as well.
After Brooke Point had trimmed the deficit to 10 points early in the fourth quarter on a TD run by Jonathan Horsley, Cedrick Watkins returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to put North Stafford back in control, 36–20.
White’s second TD catch with seven minutes left pulled Brooke Point to within 36–28. But running back Kevin Daniels, the star of last week’s semifinal win over GW–Danville, sealed the Wolverines’ victory when he broke free for a 34-yard touchdown run.
“This feels great,” said North Stafford wide receiver Anthony Shegog. “We’re not going to be satisfied until we win the state playoff championship.”
“It’s down to four teams now,” added Grebe, who scored the game’s first touchdown on a 2-yard plunge. “It’s all up for grabs.”
Brooke Point 0 13 0 22 — 35
North Stafford 16 7 7 13 — 43
North Stafford 16 7 7 13 — 43
NS—A. Grebe 2–yard run (A. Grebe kick)
NS—D. Purvis 2–yard interception return (Grebe kick)
BP—J. Horsley 26–yard run (kick failed)
BP—T. White 30–yard pass from Z. Deutel (M. Moreno kick)
NS—A. Shegog 68–yard run (Grebe kick)
NS—B. Ravenel 60–yard pass from A. Grebe (Grebe kick)
BP—J. Horsley 1–yard run (Moreno kick)
NS—C. Watkins 81–yard kick return (pass failed)
BP—T. White 14–yard pass from Z. Deutel (White pass from Deutel)
NS—K. Daniels 34–yard run (Grebe kick)
BP—T. White 8–yard pass from Z. Deutel (Moreno kick)
First downs29 9
Rushing yardage34–96 29–156
Passing yardage417 107
Penalties–yards 8–76 11–87
Rushing: Brooke Point—Michael Ford 12–64; Johnathan Horsley 6–37, 2TD; Rocky Carlisle 3–7; Akil Abdulbarr 1–(-1); Zach Deutel 12–(-11). North Stafford—Anthony Shegog 3–80, TD; Kevin Daniels 16–75, TD; Austin Grebe 9–4, TD; Cedrick Watkins 1–(-3).
Passing: Brooke Point—Zach Deutel 37–53–1 417 yards, 3TD. North Stafford—Austin Grebe 7–14–1 107 yards, TD.
Receiving: Brooke Point—Tyus White 16–182 yards, 3 TD; Aaron Sanders 5–99 yards; Akil Abdulbarr 8–64; Alex Figueroa 4–35; Michael Ford 3–21; Billy Gonzales 1–(16). North Stafford—Brandon Ravenel 3–72 yards, TD; Anthony Shegog 3–33 yards; Darnell Parker 1–2 yards.
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440