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Prep football: Caroline drops season opener
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Caroline High School football coach Jeremiah Ross entered his first game on Friday confident in how his team would perform.
Ross saw exactly what he expected for 45 of 48 minutes, but the last three minutes unfolded like a nightmare for Ross and the Cavaliers in their 41–21 nondistrict loss to Essex.
“We were right there and we let the wheels fall off in the last two and a half minutes,” Ross said. “We played the way I thought we would for 45, 46 minute. Then we went into a tailspin. We’ve got to learn how to finish.”
The Cavaliers trailed 27–21 when they took possession at the Essex 19-yard line with a little more than three minutes remaining following a blocked punt.
But after a 6-yard gain by running back Chad Boxley, there was a fumbled snap, a pass for negative yards, and an incompletion on fourth down.
The Trojans (2–0) added a 60-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Domenik Broaddus to Dontanious Jones with 1:17 remaining to seal the victory.
Defensive back Keith Bundy added the second of his two interception returns for touchdowns with 34 seconds left to provide the final margin.
“It was closer than the scoreboard indicated,” said Essex coach Jon Fulks, whose team beat Caroline 34–20 last season. “They were a little better than last year, but we’re a better team, too.”
The Broaddus–Jones connection is a key reason why the Trojans have improved.
Jones hauled in seven receptions for 187 yards and two scores.
Broaddus passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones was wide open on his clinching touchdowns, so that was the easiest of his receptions.
He made a few acrobatic catches as well.
“I’ve always been taught to go up and get the ball,” Jones said. “I don’t let nobody else get them.”
Caroline (0–1) had a receiver shine last night too. Senior Daquon Pollard made seven catches for 141 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Pollard’s first-quarter touchdown gave Caroline a 6–0 lead en route to a 14–7 halftime advantage.
It also gave senior quarterback Curtis Leacock confidence.
Leacock passed for 232 yards and a touchdown but also threw four interceptions. Ross is going to rely on Leacock heavily in the spread offense this season, so he made sure his confidence was intact following the game.
“I threw four picks because I wasn’t reading the defense like I should and I was throwing off my back foot,” Leacock said. “But I’ve got a lot of film I can dissect. I just have to look it over, come back and play better next week.”
Caroline visits Henrico next week.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526