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NW Region, Div. 5 Football: Wildcats having fun
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Elijah Burress stood in the middle of the football field at Massaponax High School and flashed a wide grin.
The Mountain View sophomore quarterback had just finishing celebrating the Wildcats’ 45–21 victory over the host Panthers in a Northwest Region, Division 5 first-round playoff game.
Burress passed for 204 yards and four touchdowns in his first-ever playoff experience. He knows the postseason isn’t typically as easy as it was Friday night, but he was savoring the moment.
“It was real fun,” Burress said. “That’s all I can say. It was just a lot of fun.”
The Wildcats (7–4) will play Potomac next Friday at Freedom High School in Woodbridge in the regional semifinals. Massaponax (7–4) sees its season come to an end.
Burress threw two of his touchdown passes to senior wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who also scored on a 27-yard run and had a 59-yard interception return with his team leading 32–14 and the Panthers threatening to make a game of it.
“Hamilton is unbelievable,” Panthers coach Eric Ludden said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on him and he still came up with a couple of big catches. He’s a phenomenal player.”
Mountain View junior wide receiver Quinton Gray (six catches, 97 yards) hauled in a 58-yard touchdown catch from Burress in the first quarter to give the Wildcats a 13–0 lead.
Senior running back Gordon Collins provided balance for Mountain View with 111 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
But despite the offensive efficiency, the story of the game may have been Mountain View’s defensive effort.
The Wildcats stopped the Massaponax triple-option attack for the second time this season.
Mountain View has had trouble defending other opponents, and the Panthers have been able to score on teams. However, the Wildcats outscored their Commonwealth District rival 82–35 this season.
“I think we play it a little differently than some people,” Mountain View coach Lou Sorrentino said of the triple option. “All I know is they’re really good at it. It’s hard to simulate and I’ve got to give our coaches a lot of credit. They worked real hard at preparing us. You’ve got to be disciplined to defend that.”
Massaponax junior running back Javonte Latney rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown, but much of his damage came with the game out of reach.
The Panthers rushed for 174 yards, but they were also forced to pass the ball 26 times, something they prefer not to do.
“We’re a strong team up front and our defensive backs are still athletes, which helps us out a lot because they don’t like to pass the ball,” Hamilton said. “So we can focus on the run. We like to play assignment football and our D–line and linebackers shut down the run real well today.”
While the Wildcats look ahead to the next round of the playoffs, the Panthers’ once-promising season is over.
Massaponax entered the year with a large group of juniors, who helped lead the team to a playoff berth as sophomores.
Ludden is thankful to get another shot with the group in 2013.
“When you’re playing sophomores you think automatically next year they’re going to be perfect,” Ludden said. “But they’re still growing and there was still some youth, especially in the first half of the season. I’m looking forward to coaching those guys next year.”
Mountain View 13 7 12 13 — 45
Massaponax 0 7 0 14 — 21
MV-D. Hamilton 24-yard pass from E. Burress (kick failed)
MV-Q. Gray 58-yard pass from E. Burress (D. Fraser kick)
MV-D. Smith 6-yard pass from E. Burress (D. Fraser kick)
Ma-J. Latney 1-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
MV-G. Collins 4-yard run (kick failed)
MV-D. Hamilton 23-yard pass from E. Burress (run failed)
Ma-T. Barnett 55-yard punt return (K. Phelps kick)
MV-D. Hamilton 27-yard run (kick failed)
MV-J. Hill 55-yard interception (D. Fraser kick)
Ma-J. Foster 4-yard run (K. Phelps kick)
First downs16 17
Rushing yardage30-144 47-174
Passing yardage204 95
Rushing: Massaponax—Javonte Latney 21-102, TD; Joey Foster 9-26, TD; Alphonzo Trice 13-18; Kelvin Forson 1-15; AJ Forbes 3-13. Mountain View—Gordon Collins 24-111, TD; DaeSean Hamilton 1-27, TD; Kirron Sleydin 3-5; Elijah Burress 2-1.
Passing: Massaponax—Alphonzo Trice 11-26-1 95. Mountain View—Elijah Burress 13-24-2 204, 4TD.
Receiving: Massaponax—AJ Forbes 4-64; Kelvin Forson 5-28; Danian Ledet 1-6; Javonte Latney 1-(-3). Mountain View—Quinton Gray 6-99, TD; DaeSean Hamilton 5-97, 2TD; Dillon Smith 1-6, TD; Andre Bernhard 1-2.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526