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Prep Football: Eagles tune up for playoffs
BY STEVE FRANZELLO
The Colonial Forge Eagles are co-champions of the Commonwealth District this year. And head coach Bill Brown couldn’t be more pleased with the way they earned it.
“We’re 8–2 and we were picked eighth in this area. I’m so proud of my kids,” Brown said after Friday night’s 34–14 win at Riverbend that clinched a share of the title with North Stafford.
The Eagles closed the regular season with a 7–1 mark after finishing last year at 5–3. They’ll host a Northwest Region, Division 6 quarterfinal game next weekend.
Riverbend closed its first season under new coach Tony DeMarco at 5–5, a marked improvement on last year’s 2–8 campaign.
“We’ve laid the foundation,” DeMarco said. “We had a great group of seniors this year and we never gave up. We battled everybody.”
They made Friday night’s game against the Eagles a battle in the second half after falling behind by two touchdowns. Down 14–0 at the break, they scored twice to trim the deficit to 21–14.
But the Eagles have become a resilient squad under Brown this season, and in the fourth quarter they proved it with a pair of touchdowns.
Quarterback Damen Daniel was the catalyst for much of their success. The junior signal caller led all rushers with 139 yards on 21 carries and scored on two short runs in the first half to get the Eagles on track.
Daniel’s counterpart for the Bears, quarterback Eric Byrd, was a big factor in his team’s ability to stage a comeback in the third quarter. Byrd completed 15 passes for 225 yards, including a 15-yard scoring strike to Matt Capozza.
But a 91-yard scoring march by Colonial Forge that ended with Justin Brown’s 1-yard plunge with three minutes left sealed the Eagles’ victory.
“This was an important win for us to be district champions,” Daniel said. “We’ve overcome a lot, but we’ve still got work to do. The teams in the playoffs are going to be tougher.”
Colonial Forge 6 8 7 13 — 34
Riverbend 0 0 14 0 — 14
CF-D. Daniel 1-yard run (kick failed)
CF-D. Daniel 9-yard run (M. Campbell from D. Daniel)
CF-M. Campbell 7-yard punt return (M. Myers kick)
Rb-M. Capozza 16-yard pass from E. Byrd (L. DaSilva kick)
Rb-Z. Sims 3-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
CF-M. Campbell 4-yard run (kick failed)
CF-J. Brown 1-yard run (M. Myers kick)
First downs18 11
Rushing yardage40-267 31-32
Passing yardage98 225
Rushing: Riverbend—Zach Sims 17-40, TD; Dakota Drain 4-1; Eric Byrd 9-(-4); DaVonte Christmas 1-(-5). Colonial Forge—Damen Daniel 21-139, 2TD; Mike Campbell 5-63, TD; Justin Brown 4-26, TD; Malik Shabazz 2-20; T.C. Burton 2-12; Daniel Ezeagwu 6-7.
Passing: Riverbend—Eric Byrd 15-28-2 225, TD. Colonial Forge—Damen Daniel 11-20-0 98.
Receiving: Riverbend—Conner Booren 4-94; Matt Capozza 5-59, TD; Jamie Deason 4-38; DaVonte Christmas 1-26; Jaymz Jackson 1-8. Colonial Forge—Daniel Ezeagwu 5-83; Jeff Moore 2-9; Mike Campbell 2-6; T.C. Burton 2-0.
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440