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Prep Football: Caroline encouraged despite loss (WITH VIDEO)
BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH
The Caroline players looked stunned. Some removed their helmets and shook their heads. Some eyes welled with tears.
And Cavaliers first-year coach Jeremiah Ross stepped back, and was pleased with what he saw.
No, he didn’t like the fact that his team had lost to King William, 32–30. And of course he didn’t like seeing his players’ frustration.
But the thing he did like, the thing that gave him encouragement for the future, was that it was clear these players cared.
It was clear the football culture at this school is shifting.
“We’re trying to change things here,” Ross said, “and it’s about the kids.”
On Friday night, the pain from being so close to a 2–1 record outweighed being encouraged by the effort.
But the Cavaliers will eventually look back on this game as a moral victory, a day they showed they would not quit.
“I really think for us, this is a step forward,” running back Keonta’ Hamilton said. “I think this is something good for us. The program is elevating.”
The Cavaliers burst to a 17–0 first-half lead thanks in part to a dazzling 80-yard touchdown run by Robinson in which he bounced off of defenders like he was a pinball.
But King William surged back, outscoring Caroline 32–6 over the next 2½ quarters.
When King William quarterback Freeman McPhearson hit Jason Gresham for a 17-yard touchdown, making it 32–23 with 6 minutes, 57 seconds left in the game, Caroline could have been deflated.
Instead, the Cavaliers quickly marched downfield and got a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Curtis Leacock.
“We thought we had it,” Hamilton said. “We thought we’d get it.”
They certainly had their chances. They regained possession after forcing a punt, but then Leacock tossed an interception on first down.
Then they stopped King William on four consecutive plays, giving Caroline first down on its 23-yard line with 55 seconds and a strong-legged kicker on the sideline. But the Cavaliers ran out of time.
“I know they’re hurt; I am too,” Ross said. “But we’re going to keep building them up.”
King William 0 16 8 8 — 32
Caroline 10 13 0 7 — 30
Ca-R. Williams 27-yard field goal
Ca-C. Boxley 1-yard run (R. Williams kick)
Ca-K. Hamilton 80-yard run (R. Williams kick)
KW-F. McPhearson 1-yard run (A. Simmons from F. McPhearson)
KW-C. Peatross 2-yard run (A. Simmons from F. McPhearson)
Ca-B. Morris 85-yard pass from C. Leacock (kick failed)
KW-F. McPhearson 7-yard run (F. McPhearson 2-pt run)
KW-J. Gresham 17-yard pass from F. McPhearson (D. Robinson 2-pt run)
Ca-C. Leacock 1-yard run (R. Williams kick)
First downs21 11
Rushing yardage56-304 20-82
Passing yardage87 287
Rushing: Caroline—Keonta Hamilton 5-82, TD; Chad Boxley 4-11, TD; Rayquan Smithers 1-3; Brandon Braxton 1-2; Curtis Leacock 9-(-16), TD. King William—Freeman McPhearson 26-152, 2TD; Camarjae Peatross 11-65, TD; Shawn Chandler 13-64; Da’Monn Robinson 6-23.
Passing: Caroline—Curtis Leacock 12-25-2 287, TD. King William—Freeman McPhearson 7-13-0 87, TD.
Receiving: Caroline—Bevonte Morris 4-142, TD; DeQuan Pollard 3-70; Jonathon Brown 3-42; Brandon Braxton 1-25; Ralph Tomas 1-8. King William—Shawn Chandler 1-33; Kevin Waller 2-14; Camarjae Peatross 1-12; Da’Monn Robinson 1-(-3); Deondre Smith 1-(-5).