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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Cougars run for a victory



The football field at Spotsylvania High School was wet Friday night, and the ball was slippery. The rain drizzled down most of the evening. The conditions would seem to be a running back’s nightmare.

The Courtland Cougars had the perfect solution to the weather’s conundrum: Six hands hold onto the ball better than two.

Sophomores Victor Greene and George Cheetham and junior Anton Jenkins combined to rush for 240 yards and four touchdowns—with zero fumbles—and the visiting Cougars beat Spotsylvania 40–7 for their fourth straight win.

It’s the kind of production that Courtland head coach J.C. Hall has come to expect from his running back trio.

“There’s not really a yardage [total] that I want,” Hall said about his backs. “I just want them to execute and do their job, carry out fakes for each other, block for each other, because the yards will come if they do that.”

Spotsylvania junior quarterback Tre Helmick made his second start in place of the injured Darius Carter and threw for 98 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions.

“I can’t ask any more of that kid,” Spotsylvania head coach Ben Lawrynas said of Helmick after the game. “He’s giving me everything he’s got. He’s got a brace on his knee, he’s out there getting hit. He’s got all my respect.”

Courtland’s offense ran fluidly in the first quarter, with it opening two drives resulting in touchdowns, both taken in by Greene.

Then the turnovers started piling up.

Spotsylvania lost a fumble early in the second quarter. Its defense then forced a three-and-out, but on the Knights’ very next offensive play, Helmick was intercepted by his Courtland counterpart, Jabari Allen, who is also the starting quarterback and punt returner.

Four plays later, it was Cheetham’s turn to find the end zone, his 5-yard rush giving Courtland a 20–0 lead midway through the second quarter.

After the kickoff, Helmick was sacked on two straight plays. On third down, Helmick threw his second interception, this one to senior Chase Timmons.

It was three turnovers in five offensive plays for the Knights.

“In the first half, things were going south,” Lawrynas said. “We had to find something that would work. We’d get a play here, a play there, then we’d go two steps forward, three steps back.”

Turnovers soon gave way to big plays, and both teams had one before the halftime whistle.

Allen and Timmons connected on a 65-yard strike that gave Courtland a 26–0 lead with 1:05 left in the second quarter.

The ensuing short kickoff was returned to the Cougars 40-yard line. On the next snap, Helmick went deep to junior receiver Jon Hall for a touchdown, putting the Knights on the board just before the break.

Neither team found much room to maneuver in the third quarter, and the Knights left themselves with too much to do in the fourth.

Courtland will play at home against Caroline next Friday, while the Knights travel to King George.

Ken Nasse: 540/374-5440