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Prep Football: Foxes open new field in fine style
BY STEVE FRANZELLO
Fans began arriving early for Friday night’s inaugural game at King George’s sparkling new stadium.
By the time the host Foxes and Courtland Cougars ran out onto the artificial turf prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff, both sides of bleachers were full, and spectators began lining the fences at the end of both end zones.
After a 3–0 start this season against Group A competition, the fast-starting Foxes were primed for a big night against a big-time opponent, and they made sure they didn’t waste the opportunity.
After spotting the Cougars a 3–0 lead in the first quarter, King George stormed back with a gutsy performance by its offense and defense and posted a 21–10 victory in the Battlefield District opener for both teams.
“It’s more than amazing,” said running back Jordi Estes, who scored the Foxes first-ever touchdown on their new field with a 3-yard scamper early in the second quarter. “We were really nervous when we came out, but we really wanted this one.”
The Foxes were outgained in total yardage and time of possession by the Cougars, but their resiliency and opportunistic play, especially in the second half, offset Courtland’s advantage.
“There were some tense moments out there tonight,” said King George coach Jeff Smith. “Courtland is a very good team that just keeps fighting. But we kept our composure. This is a special group of kids.”
Just how special seems to becoming more apparent each week. After one-sided wins over Manassas Park, Washington & Lee and Colonial Beach, Friday’s win over the Cougars set the bar higher for Smith’s squad.
Seth Yurgel’s 25-yard field goal got Courtland on the scoreboard first. But in the second quarter, the Foxes settled down and began to find some rhythm in their offense.
Four seconds into the second quarter, Estes took a pitchout from quarterback Corey Henderson and darted around right end to give the Foxes a lead they would never relinquish.
Henderson, who has been a spark throughout the early season, continued his strong play on both sides of the ball against the Cougars. The junior scored on a 1-yard plunge midway through the third quarter and then threw a 25-yard scoring strike to DeShon Brown with six minutes left in the game.
He also joined Jacob Baker and Kendall Harvey as standouts on the Foxes’ defense, which bent but refused to break.
“We dug deep and kept encouraging each other out there,” said Baker, who transferred from Fredericksburg Christian this season. “This was a great win for us and the community.”
Trailing 14–3 at the start of the fourth quarter, Courtland showed the mettle that has become characteristic of coach J.C. Hall’s teams.
After a muffled punt gave the ball to the Cougars at the King George 30, they cut the deficit to four points with a nine-play drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Anton Jenkins.
But this was the Foxes’ night and they showed it in the closing moments.
Estes recovered a fumble (one of three lost by Courtland) at the Cougars’ 31 and it took King George just five plays to cash in and seal the win. Henderson connected with Brown in the corner of end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 6:46 left to close out the scoring.
“The players, the parents and the community should be proud of what happened here tonight,” said Smith. “It’s good to have King George football back.”
The Foxes travel to James Monroe for a first-place showdown on Friday. Courtland (1–3, 0–1) hosts Chancellor on the same night.
Courtland 3 0 0 7 — 10
King George 0 7 7 7 — 21
Ct-S. Yurgel 25-yard field goal
KG-J. Estes 3-yard run (L. Armentrout kick)
KG-C. Henderson 1-yard run (L. Armentrout kick)
Ct-A. Jenkins 4-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
KG-D. Brown 25-yard pass from C. Henderson (L. Armentrout kick)
First downs17 12
Rushing yardage46-156 25-69
Passing yardage43 139
Rushing: King George—Jordi Estes 13-45, TD; Jacob Baker 6-18; Raheem White 1-5; Kendall Harvey 1-1; Corey Henderson 4-0, TD. Courtland—Anton Jenkins 7-46, TD; Brandon Mason 14-32; Joe Tyson 10-30; Brandon Taylor 4-25; Darien Grant 5-23; Eric Washington 6-0.
Passing: King George—Corey Henderson 9-14-1 139, TD. Courtland—Eric Washington 8-22-1 43.
Receiving: King George—Deshon Brown 2-45, TD; Jacob Baker 3-42; Alon Clipper 2-37; Jordi Estes 2-15. Courtland—Zach Braswell 2-15; Patrick Edwards 3-14; Brandon Mason 1-9; Chris Carpenter 2-5.
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440