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Prep football: Forge knocks North from unbeatens

BY STEVE DeSHAZO

A steady drizzle wasn’t the only thing that put a damper on North Stafford’s quest for an undefeated season Friday night.

Colonial Forge’s stingy defense forced four turnovers and helped them become the Commonwealth District’s only undefeated team with a gritty 7–0 victory.

The visiting Wolverines (4–1, 3–1), who rolled up 42 first-half points against Riverbend a week earlier, saw their six-game winning streak against district opponents snapped. They also suffered their first shutout loss since 2007 at the hands of a defense that has allowed only 22 points in five games.

“Their offensive line is very good. We knew that,” Colonial Forge coach Bill Brown said. “And their running back [Kwesie Dadzie] is big and physical. He’s a strong, hard-running kid.

“Our defense was challenged. We had to step up, and we did.”

Dadzie, the area’s No. 2 ground-gainer, finished with 152 yards. But only four of his 31 bruising carries resulted in gains of 10 yards or more, as the Eagles defense, led by James Tyler, swarmed to the ball to stop him.

When the Wolverines tried to pass, their luck wasn’t much better. Colonial Forge (5–0, 4–0) intercepted as many of North Stafford quarterback Von Purvis’ throws (two) as Wolverine receivers caught.

“This was huge,” said Jeff Moore, who picked off a pass and also caught a 7-yard first-quarter touchdown pass for the game’s only score. “We were looking forward to this one all week. They’re really good, and they’re a neighboring school.”

Moore’s catch from Damon Daniel capped an 11-play, 38-yard drive on Colonial Forge’s second possession of the game. The Eagles took over in Wolverines territory after Gary Jennings intercepted a Purvis pass intended for Brandon Ravenel.

Ravenel, North Stafford’s leading receiver, went down with an apparent knee injury on the subsequent kickoff. He returned briefly but was not a major factor in the game.

Besides the defense, Colonial Forge also got a stellar game from senior punter Matt Meyers. He averaged 41.5 yards on six kicks, including a 59-yarder, and twice pinned the Wolverines inside their own 5.

North Stafford’s best chance to score came midway through the third quarter. Dadzie carried nine times for 61 yards as North Stafford moved from its own 29 to the Colonial Forge 5. But a false start penalty and an incompletion forced a 25-yard field goal attempt.

The Wolverines botched the snap, though, and holder Purvis was stopped short of the goal line as he tried to salvage the play.

Colonial Forge nearly clinched the victory on its next possession. Daniel connected on a crossing pattern with junior Daniel Ezeagwu, who caught five passes for 122 yards on the night.

Ezeagwu broke a tackle and midfield and seemed headed for a 60-yard touchdown. But North Stafford safety Anthony Shegog ran down Ezeagwu and alertly punched the ball out of his hands and into the end zone, where Cedric Watkins recovered it for a touchback.

Shegog made a similar play to preserve the Wolverines’ season-opening victory over Potomac. But Friday night, they were unable to capitalize.

Their final possession ended when Purvis tried to connect with Shegog on a third-and-17 play. Shegog ran an out pattern, and Purvis threw toward the middle of the field, where Moore intercepted.

The intrigue wasn’t quite over, though. Trying to run out the clock, Daniel pitched out errantly on an option play, but offensive lineman Shabazz McIntyre dived on the loose ball before the Wolverines could recover.

“They had a great defensive game plan, and they were solid getting to the ball,” North Stafford coach Joe Mangano said. “They forced us to do some stuff we didn’t want to do.”

Had they won Friday, the Wolverines would have taken a commanding lead in the district race, having played all of their perceived top opponents. They’re still in the running, but must regroup—starting with next week at home against Brooke Point.

“We’ve got to bounce back next week,” Mangano said. “One loss doesn’t define a season, just like one win doesn’t define a season.”

Colonial Forge visits Mountain View next Friday.

North Stafford 0 0 0 0 — 0

Colonial Forge 7 0 0 0 — 7

First Quarter

CF-J. Moore 7-yard pass from D. Daniel (M. Meyers kick)

TEAMSTATISTICS

NS CF

First downs14 11

Rushing yardage50-197 32-56

Passing yardage0 140

Passes2-7-2 8-15-0

Punts-Avg.4-31.8 6-41.5

Fumbles-lost3-2 2-1

Penalties-yards6-47 5-55

INDIVIDUALSTATISTICS

Rushing:Colonial Forge—Damen Daniel 20-28; Remone Miller 7-20; Daniel Ezeagwu 5-8. North Stafford—Kwesi Dadzie 31-152; Von Purvis 18-41; Anthony Shegog 1-4.

Passing:Colonial Forge—Damen Daniel 8-15-0 140, TD. North Stafford—Von Purvis 2-7-2 0.

Receiving:Colonial Forge—Daniel Ezeagwu 5-122; Justin Brown 1-8; Jeff Moore 1-7, TD; Remone Miller 1-3. North Stafford—Raun King 1-35; Anthony Shegog 1-11.

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443

sdeshazo@freelancestar.com

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