The Gridiron Blog brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school football.
JM’s road to the championship game
Today James Monroe arrives in Lynchburg, site of the Group AA, Division 3 state championship, hoping to complete its 105-day journey to a 14–0 season and the school’s fifth state championship.
How else would these big-play Jackets have opened a season full of long touchdowns? A’darius Brown returned the season’s opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, and four other Yellow Jackets scored to help JM pull away in the third quarter.
Ethan Preston scored three touchdowns and rushed for 170 yards, and Kasine Conway’s 40-yard catch sparked JM’s runaway. “I told the kids before the game they’re going to take away the jet, they’re going to take away the sweep, they’re going to take away the passes,” JM coach Rich Serbay said. “But the one thing they can’t take away is our tailback.”
James Monroe scored touchdowns on all seven of its first-half possessions, five of those in four or fewer plays. “This is the best we’ve been [on the line],” lineman Nelson King said, “even on the  state championship team. We can only go up from here, hopefully.”
Preston rushed for 184 yards and four touchdowns on 10 first-half carries, and JM led 54–6 at the break against a team some thought might challenge for the district title.
It was only 15–14 at the half, but James Monroe scored 35 unanswered points after the break for another lopsided win. Julian Bumbrey returned two fourth-quarter interceptions for TDs.
The Jackets ran for 229 yards on 26 carries—118 for Preston and 58 for Kasine Conway.
Preston ran for 257 yards and four touchdowns, and Bumbrey returned another two interceptions for scores.
The Battlefield District’s game of the year saw James Monroe build a 25–0 lead. “We had something to prove tonight,” Serbay said. “And we proved it.”
The defense held Spotsylvania to 15 yards in the first half, while the offense made it 41–0 at halftime.
The Jackets clinched the Battlefield District title outright by rolling to their 10th straight victory. The win also sealed JM’s first-round playoff bye.
Brown scored three touchdowns and accounted for 238 yards of offense, including a 99-yard catch.
It was a day for defense. The Jackets intercepted five passes from York’s highly regarded quarterback—two by Bumbrey—and also returned a fumble 78 yards to win the region.
The JM defense again proved its worth. With the Jackets’ offense stuck in neutral, the defenders held their ground on several crucial Kettle Run possessions, and James Monroe clinched its spot in today’s Group AA, Division 3 state championship game. “All I know is our defense saved us,” James Monroe coach Rich Serbay said. “Our defense absolutely saved us.”