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Northwest Region, Division 5 Final: Wolverines too much for Wildcats
NORTH STAFFORD HALTS MOUNTAIN
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BY STEVE FRANZELLO
THE FREE LANCE–STAR
North Stafford got five offensive possessions in the first half of Saturday’s Northwest Region, Division 5 title game against visiting Mountain View. On every one of those possessions the opportunistic Wolverines found the end zone.
Paced by running back Anthony Shegog’s second-straight stellar performance in the playoffs and a strong performance by its defense, North Stafford scored early and often and ran away with a 49–12 victory on a blustery afternoon.
The win earned the Wolverines (11–1) their second-straight Northwest Region championship, as well as a home game against Lake Taylor in the Division 5 state semifinals on Saturday. The Titans routed Phoebus, 54–0, on Friday night.
Mountain View, which was playing without the services of all-purpose wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, the Commonwealth District’s offensive player of the year, closed its season at 8–5.
“We’re playing our best football right now,” said Shegog, who followed up last week’s three-touchdown performance against Brooke Point with four more yesterday. “We wanted to be the first team in this school to win back-to-back regional championships.”
The championship was never in any real doubt from the start.
North Stafford’s Andre Hamilton took the opening kickoff and returned it 75 yards to the Wildcats’ 20 to get the Wolverines off to a fast start. Eight plays later, Kwesi Dadzie scored on a 2-yard plunge to ignite the scoring surge.
By the end of the quarter, the Wolverines had added two more touchdown runs—both by Shegog—to grab a 21–0 advantage. The senior scored two more times in the second half, one a 76-yard burst to help put the game away in the third quarter.
“Nothing [Shegog] does surprises me anymore,” said North Stafford coach Joe Mangano. “I’m also proud of our offensive line. They controlled the line of scrimmage.”
With the wind picking up and the temperature gradually falling throughout the afternoon, both teams elected to stay on the ground as much as possible. For the Wolverines and the way they were moving the football, that strategy worked out fine.
“We knew with the wind, we were going to have to be a little conservative,” Mangano said. “But this was a complete win. The special teams kicked it off, the defense played well and the offense did a good job.”
The Wolverines’ offense controlled both the scoreboard and the clock with its steady ground attack, which featured 162 yards by Shegog on 10 carries and 66 by Dadzie on eight attempts.
Mountain View tallied both of its touchdowns on running plays. Gordon Collins, who finished with 107 yards, scored on a 7-yard scamper early in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 21–6.
But the Wolverines answered the call with a 13-play drive that ended with another short touchdown run by Dadzie. A minute later, defensive back Tyler Bailey made it 35–6 when he intercepted Wildcats quarterback Elijah Burress’ toss and returned it for a score.
But the Wolverines weren’t done yet. After a partially blocked punt by Mountain View’s Dalton Fraser, Shegog and quarterback Jalen Sarratt hooked up for a 14-yard scoring pass with one second left until the intermission.
“Getting that lead pumped us up,” Shegog said. “As long as we execute like we did today, we’re going to be in front.”
The absence of the athletic Hamilton was a major blow for the Wildcats, who never really recovered from the Wolverines’ strong start in the first quarter.
“[Losing Hamilton] hurt us emotionally more than I thought,” said Mountain View coach Lou Sorrentino. “He’s a really good player on both sides of the ball. But I’m proud of our guys. We weren’t world beaters by any means, but they were a lot of fun to coach.”
Mountain View 0 6 0 6 — 12
North Stafford 21 21 7 0 — 49
NS-K. Dadzie 2-yard run (J. Slye kick)
NS-A. Shegog 9-yard run (J. Slye kick)
NS-A. Shegog 34-yard run (J. Slye kick)
MV-G. Collins 7-yard run (kick failed)
NS-K. Dadzie 1-yard run (J. Slye kick)
NS-T. Bailey 35-yard interception (J. Slye kick)
NS-A. Shegog 14-yard pass from J. Sarratt (J. Slye kick)
NS-A. Shegog 76-yard run (J. Slye kick)
MV-C. Hasenecz 1-yard run (pass failed)
First downs 12 13
Rushing yardage 45-188 37-281
Passing yardage 11 47
Passes 2-14-1 4-5-0
Punts-Avg. 3-26.0 3-32.0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-0
Rushing: North Stafford—Anthony Shegog 10-162, 3TD; Kwesi Dadzie 8-66, 2TD; Jalen Sarratt 6-30; Cedrick Watkins 7-27; Denzel Opoku 5-1; Jacob Ralph 1-(-5). Mountain View—Gordon Collins 18-107, TD; Elijah Burress 16-57; Greg Hoffman 5-22; Collin Hasenecz 3-10, TD; Kirron Sleydin 1-2; Skyler Zane 2-(-10).
Passing: North Stafford—Jalen Sarratt 4-5-0 47, TD. Mountain View—Elijah Burress 2-14-1 11.
Receiving: North Stafford—Raun King 1-20; Anthony Shegog 1-14, TD; Brandon Ravenel 2-13. Mountain View—Quinton Gray 1-11; Gordon Collins 1-0.
Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440