The Gridiron Blog brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school football.
State final coverage (sidebar): Late drive dooms Jackets
PHOTO GALLERY: View more pictures from the game.
BY JUSTIN RICE
LYNCHBURG—It was essentially fourth-and-the-game. Brookville converted, James Monroe didn’t get a stop, and the Bees’ game-winning field goal that followed seemed inevitable.
One minute, 23 seconds remained in the game, and Brookville had reached the James Monroe 34. A field goal was still out of range, and the Bees needed nine yards for a drive-sustaining first down.
The Brookville play-call was “black magic.” Receiver Guy Morris lined up as a wideout on the left side of the Bees’ formation, drove down field like he was running a deep route, stopped and turned back.
The ball from quarterback Kendall Becraft was on target and on time.
“I think that was the play of the game,” Brookville coach Jeff Woody said. “We threw it to our most sure-handed wide receiver, on our most sure-handed pass play. That won the game for us.”
The Bees’ drive began at the James Monroe 48, and they had to convert a fourth-and-one at the 39 four plays earlier. A short first-down run and two incomplete passes set up the critical fourth down.
James Monroe blitzed on the play—it was a stunt the Bees had had trouble blocking yesterday, JM assistant Kenton Griffin said—but the Jackets were unable to reach Becraft.
“We’re thinking screen play,” James Monroe safety Tony Scott said. “We’ve got to make that stop, and we didn’t.”
Scott had over-the-top help on that side of the field, and thought the corner coverage should have been tighter.
“We were in a loose coverage,” he said. “We were just too loose [on the receiver].”
The Bees avoided throwing towards James Monroe cornerback Julian Bumbrey most of the day, and Brookville had just 130 passing yards on 10-of-18 passing by Becraft. The junior was also intercepted by James Monroe defensive lineman Roy Robinson in the second quarter, setting up JM’s touchdown just before the half.
Mark Boyd had a team-best 58 receiving yards for Brookville on two catches—55 on his slant-and-run for a third-quarter touchdown that cut James Monroe’s lead to 33-31.
The biggest catch, though, belonged to Morris—one of three for 24 yards on the day.
Morris gave the Bees first down at the JM 19, and they ran the ball on three straight plays while the clock burned down and the Jackets called their timeouts.
One fourth-and-two at the 11, Alan Gutierrez booted through the game-winning field goal from 27 yards out.
But really, it seemed determined by that fourth down, when James Monroe was one defensive play away from its fifth state title.
“We felt comfortable in that situation,” Bumbrey said. “We just didn’t make the play. The guy threw a good ball. He threw a good ball, right to the sidelines.”
“They made a play,” said JM coach Rich Serbay. “That’s the bottom line. They made the play when it had to be made.”
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045