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Prep football: Jackets survive scare against Foxes
BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH
The state of the James Monroe High School football team was apparent during the opening coin toss.
As the King George players marched toward midfield, anxious and antsy for their big game, the Yellow Jackets captains, out of necessity, moved more slowly.
Defensive end Brad Davis and quarterback Julian Bumbrey both hobbled out on crutches, and their role in the game ended before the opening kickoff.
There were other notable absences, too, like quarterback DeMontaz Brown, who is out with a knee injury, and running back Adrian Boone, who is sidelined by a hurt ankle.
“Our motto was always, ‘Next man up,’” JM running back Sean Bates said. “It’s tough when you lose so many players like we have, but we have to keep it moving and keep our heads focused.”
On Friday night, the Yellow Jackets’ perfect record seemed like it would add a blemish.
King George—plucky, spunky King George—also came into the game undefeated, although also perhaps untested.
The Foxes stormed to an early lead, but they were undone by late miscues and misfortune, as James Monroe escaped with a 21–13 win.
“We got a break today,” JM coach Rich Serbay said. “We got some luck at the end there, but you have to work hard to get luck.”
James Monroe (5–0, 2–0) trailed, 13–7, with less than six minutes remaining. King George (4–1, 1–1) faced fourth and 2 from the JM 37 with a chance to essentially close the door, a chance to grab its program’s biggest win in years.
But Foxes quarterback Corey Henderson was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, and JM had a chance.
The Yellow Jackets moved into King George territory thanks to a personal foul against the Foxes.
King George’s defense then held, forcing a punt from the 48 with 3:13 left.
On the punt, however, the Foxes received a block-in-the-back penalty. King George coach Jeff Smith said officials told him that since the penalty had occurred during the kick, JM would receive a first down.
Three plays later, Bates took a handoff from the 31, found a hole, and darted into the end zone.
“I just found a space in the middle and ran as fast as I could,” Bates said. “It was about time.”
The ensuing kickoff rolled all the way to the 3-yard line, where King George would start its next drive.
The Foxes gained one first down, but that was followed by three consecutive incomplete passes. On fourth down, Henderson’s pass was intercepted by Tony Scott and returned for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:18 left, making it 21–13.
The Foxes were still within a touchdown and two-point conversion, but they could not dig out from deep in their own territory.
After the final whistle, Smith stood alone in the far end zone, staring at the ground and shaking his head.
“I’m speechless,” he said. “My kids worked hard, prepared all week and came out and gave them a fight. But JM never gave up.”
Both teams were slowed by penalties and turnovers throughout the night, and the wet conditions made it difficult to develop a passing game.
Even though JM is young, even though so many of its stars are injured, the Yellow Jackets are still familiar with pressure situations.
King George has not played in as many big games as the Yellow Jackets have in recent years, although its program is building toward making those appearances more frequently.
“I’ve tried to instill in them that the culture is changing at King George,” Smith said. “People are starting to see that, but unfortunately, we came up short tonight.”
King George 13 0 0 0 — 13
James Monroe 0 7 0 14 — 21
KG-J. Baker 1-yard fumble recovery (kick failed)
KG-C. Henderson 1-yard run (L. Armentrout kick)
JM-T. Scott 8-yard run (D. Dit kick)
JM-S. Bates 31-yard run (D. Dit kick)
JM-T. Scott 30-yard interception (D. Dit kick)
First downs8 8
Rushing yardage36-114 34-158
Passing yardage96 52
Rushing: James Monroe—Sean Bates 14-71, TD; Jay Scroggins 9-44; Tony Scott 5-23, TD; Darryl Dyson 1-11; Eric Nelson 4-7; She’Mar Ellis 1-2. King George—Jordi Estes 15-49; Jacob Baker 4-27; Corey Henderson 13-24, TD; Deshon Brown 4-14.
Passing: James Monroe—Jay Scroggins 4-10-1 52. King George—Corey Henderson 8-18-3 96.
Receiving: James Monroe—She’Mar Ellis 3-50. King George—Jacob Baker 3-48; Sam Sharp 2-20; Jordi Estes 1-15; Alon Clipper 2-13.
Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442