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Black and Blue goes to the Blue

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E.C. Glass 30, Jefferson Forest 16

By Tom Wilmoth

For the better part of three quarters, the fight for the Black and Blue trophy was a defensive struggle. But the E.C. Glass offense broke free in the final 12 minutes and ruined Jefferson Forest’s bid for its first win of the year, defeating the Cavaliers (0-4, 0-1) 30-16.

“I believe that this team improved a great deal tonight,” stated JF defensive coordinator Dave Rocco. “The scoreboard didn’t show it, but the effort was definitely there.”

Neither team could establish a significant drive on its first attempt in the first quarter, but the Hilltoppers quickly moved into JF territory midway through the first, a 49-yard pass serving as the big gainer. But the Cav D stiffened, allowing the JF offense to take over on downs at its own 24. 

That set up a pattern for most of the rest of the half – the Forest defense would bend but not break while its offense, operating out of the Pistol, could get little going. 

Glass would threaten on its first drive of the second quarter, moving from its own 26 all the way down to the JF 4 yard line. A 35-yard pass from Jordan Anderson to Walker Riley moved the ball down to the JF 35, and then Glass running back Lamont Hamlette picked up 30 yards on three straight runs to take the ball inside the Cavalier 5. But the JF D did its job again with defensive back LJ White intercepting a Hilltopper pass, returning it to the 10 yard line.

The Forest offense couldn’t get past its own 21, and Glass took over near mid-field following the JF punt. Eleven plays later, the Hilltoppers had the only score of the first half, a 27-yard field goal by junior Zach Boedeker.

“I thought we played very well defensively in the first half,” Rocco stated. “We came back in the game and fought the entire game. I think we can take a whole lot away from that. ... We’re going to win some games.”

The JF offense came out firing in the second half. According to offensive coordinator Mike Watts, the team had worked on installing the pistol offense during its bye week. “It’s something we’re going to build on,” Watts said of utilizing Marcus Jones’ athleticism. “We’ll put him on the field and let him play.”

The Cavs returned the opening kick-off to its own 25 and quickly moved into Glass territory. A 17-yard run by Jones and subsequent personal foul on the Hilltoppers moved the ball inside the Glass 30. With 9:45 left in the third, Jones capped off the drive with a 27-yard touchdown jaunt that game the Cavs a 7-3 lead, following the extra point kick by Dylan Sims.

Then it would be the Hilltoppers’ turn.

Taking over at the 20 following the ensuing kick, Glass put together a 17-play drive that took almost nine minutes, with Anderson capping the drive with a 1-yard scoring run. The Glass PAT missed, giving the Hilltoppers a 9-7 edge going into the fourth quarter.

Forest would take its next drive into Glass territory, but that would stall at the 45. The Hilltoppers got the ball, following a short JF punt, at its own 34, but two offsides penalties left Glass with a second and 20 from the 24-yard line. Hamlette, however, broke free on a 76-yard touchdown run giving the Hilltoppers a 16-7 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game.

A JF turnover on its next drive would prove to be too much to overcome, after Glass converted that into a quick score and a 23-7 lead. 

“We don’t have many seniors out there and these guys need to learn,” Rocco said of the JF defense giving up a couple of big plays in the second half.

But the Cavaliers would never give up.

A strong return by Jones, to the Hilltopper 27, would help the Cavs to a quick TD to close the deficit to 23-13 on a Mikey Wallman 12-yard scoring run. A 2-point PAT attempt, which would have cut the deficit to just one score, came up just short.

The Cavs failed to convert an onside kick but the JF defense did its job, holding Glass on a 4th-and-1 try from the JF 41. Forest would drive inside the Hilltopper 4-yard-line and opt for a field goal with just two minutes left, to cut the deficit to a touchdown at 23-16. 

Glass would again cover the onside kick and add an insurance score on a 39-yard jaunt by Hamlette to seal the 30-16 win.

“We’ve improved tremendously in two weeks’ time,” Watts said, adding that the team will continue to work on the fundamentals to prepare for the rest of the season.

Next up for the Cavs:  their homecoming game against Turner Ashby.  The Knights have a record of 3-1.