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Prep football: Cavaliers inch past Knights
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Caroline senior quarterback Curtis Leacock felt a sense of calm as he took the field Friday night with the game in the balance.
The Cavaliers trailed by three points and were backed up at their own 17-yard line with 3:45 remaining in their Battlefield District opener against Spotsylvania.
But Leacock had good reason to be confident. He has a pair of dynamic senior wide receivers in Bevontae Morris and Daquan Pollard. Leacock found Morris for a 30-yard gain to get the drive going and later connected with Pollard for 21 yards.
Junior running back Chad Boxley capped the march with a 9-yard touchdown run, Caroline’s defense held the Knights and the Cavaliers escaped with a 26–22 road victory.
“I just believed we were going to go down the field and score,” Leacock said. “I was just thinking, ‘I hope they trust me as much as I trust them.’”
Pollard finished with eight receptions for 121 yards. Morris delivered 85 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also had a key pass breakup on fourth down from his defensive back position to prevent the Knights from clinching the win before Caroline’s final drive began.
The victory helped Caroline (2–2, 1–0 Battlefield) rebound from last week’s 32–30 loss to King William.
“This is like a confidence boost,” Morris said. “Last year, in this situation, we would’ve folded.”
But Morris said the Cavaliers are a different team under first-year head coach Jeremiah Ross.
The Knights (1–3, 0–1) are an improved bunch, too. But they couldn’t overcome 20 penalties for 125 yards. The Cavaliers (17 penalties) endured their share of flags, as well.
“We can’t put the game in anybody else’s hands,” Spotsylvania coach Ben Lawrynas said. “When you do that, this is what happens.”
Spotsylvania certainly had its moments. Senior quarterback Ashten Dixon passed for 198 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a 29-yard score.
Dixon’s 28-yard touchdown strike to Nate Haynes gave the Knights a 20–19 lead with 10:29 remaining in the game. Offensive lineman Charlie Petitt, who also scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge, added the two-point conversion for a 22–19 advantage.
The Cavaliers were trailing by that margin before their game-winning drive. The officials picked up an offensive pass interference flag to allow Morris’ big catch to stand. Four plays later, Boxley appeared to be stopped for a short gain before he broke free on the right sideline and into the end zone.
Caroline defensive lineman Aaron Teague was in on two sacks of Dixon on the Knights’ final drive to secure the win.
“We’ve got a lot to work on, but I’m happy with our kids,” Ross said. “They found a way to get it done.”
The Cavaliers host Eastern View next Friday. Spotsylvania visits Culpeper the same night.
Caroline 0 7 12 7 — 26
Spotsylvania 7 7 0 8 — 22
Sp-A. Dixon 29-yard run (M. Zimmerman kick)
Ca-B. Morris 11-yard pass from C. Leacock (R. Williams kick)
Sp-C. Petitt 1-yard run (M. Zimmerman kick)
Ca-C. Leacock 1-yard run (kick failed)
Ca-B. Morris 25-yard pass from C. Leacock (run failed)
Sp-N. Haynes 28-yard pass from A. Dixon (C. Petitt 2-pt run)
Ca-C. Boxley 9-yard run (R. Williams kick)
First downs17 17
Rushing yardage27-20 41-147
Passing yardage243 198
Rushing: Spotsylvania—Clinton Ferguson 5-37; Nate Haynes 6-36; Ashten Dixon 18-36, TD; Josh Morris 7-25; James Anderson 3-10; Charlie Petitt 2-3, TD. Caroline—Keyshawn Johnson 12-64; Chad Boxley 4-12, TD; Curtis Leacock 11-(-56), TD.
Passing: Spotsylvania—Ashten Dixon 12-19-0 198, TD. Caroline—Curtis Leacock 15-29-2 243, 2TD.
Receiving: Spotsylvania—Travis Huber 4-89; Chantz Ballard 2-35; Brian Petrie 2-31; Nate Haynes 1-28, TD; Clinton Ferguson 2-9; James Anderson 1-6. Caroline—DeQuan Pollard 8-121; Bevonte Morris 4-85, 2TD; JaQuen Monroe 3-37.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526