Salem Beats Tuscarora, on to 4A State Finals

Salem Beats Tuscarora, on to 4A State Finals 150 150 SWVA High School Sports

Willis White Field, Spartans Stadium, Salem, Va. – Salem, up 21-14, looked to take a knee on fourth down with seconds left and run out the clock for the 4D State Final birth, but a Spartan
penality kept Tuscarora alive.

Husky DL 56 Matei Fitz blocks a punt late to keep Tuscarora’s hopes alive

When Salem had to punt and Husky DL 56 Matei Fitz blocked it, the visitors still had a chance on the Spartan twenty-three. Salem DB 2 Shawn Collins ended that hope with an interception, his second of the day, in the endzone to preserve the Spartan win. Salem had built up a 21-7 first half lead, then leaned on their defense in the second half. The Spartans ‘D’ played well all day long with four sacks and five turnovers on downs by Tuscarora. Salem Coach Don Holter was pleased with his defense, “they played with great intelligence, physicality, and discipline… really stepped up today. I am proud of them.”

Salem Linebackers 7 Noah Collins and 42 Zavione Wood bring down Tuscarora RB 22 Bryce Duke

First Quarter – Salem received the opening kickoff but couldn’t move the ball to start. Tuscarora, on the other hand, made their first possession count. It took the Huskies ten plays to start the days scoring. Starting at their own thirty-three, mixing in a couple passes and doling out a steady dose of Junior RB 22 Bryce Duke, the visitors scored on Duke’s 28-yard run at the halfway point of the first quarter. Salem adjusted their offense, then their defense. The Spartans answered with a six play scoring drive of their own. RB 42 Zavione Wood capped it off with a 3-yard run to tie it at 7-7 after K 20 Wes Cross hit the extra point. The score would stay notched until Husky QB 7 Sonny Mannino tossed an interception and reversed the momentum and the game. DB 2 Shawn Collins snatched his first of two picks on the day and returned it 31-yards out to the Tuscarora forty-eight.

Salem RB 42 Wood scores his second TD on the day

Second Quarter – The Spartans made the Collin’s interception pay off by finishing off the series with an 11-yard TD catch and run by Collins. QB 10 Daron Wilson hit Collins in the flat at about the Tuscarora ten. Collins broke one tackle and then used his running ability to get the touchdown. Cross made the PAT and Salem had a lead, 14-7, they would never relinquish. The Spartan defense played a big part in this win and it was never more evident then when DB/WR/KR 8 Chase Greer fumbled a punt at midfield under heavy pressure. Tuscarora took over but the Salem defense took charge. RB 22 Duke was limited to a 3-yard pick up on first down. WR 11 Christian Camacho was held to a three yard gain on a second down pass. Facing a third and four, DL 73 Stacy Williams came up with a big sack of QB 7 Mannino for a seven yard loss. That forced Tusky to punt the ball back to Salem after having great field position on the turnover. Riding that high, Salem needed only four plays to move the ball 63 yards for another TD. RB 42 Wood broke it 36-yards to ring the bell. Cross hit the point after and Salem led 21-7 with 2:38 left in the half. Salem held Tuscarora on downs on their last drive of the first half. The Spartan defense would end up holding the Huskies 0-5 on fourth down tries on the afternoon.

Spartan DL 73 Stacy Williams leads the defensive charge on a running play in the second half

Third Quarter – The second half was high dollar risk, as both teams went for it on fourth downs on their drives and failed. Tuscarora went for it twice the traditional way, going for it with their offense on the field. Salem tried a fake punt, their second of the afternoon. The first one worked to perfection.

Fourth Quarter – In the fourth quarter, things got tighter at the end of the game. Tuscarora put together a drive starting from their own thirty six culminating with RB 22 Duke scoring from the two. K 18 Wilmer Salmeron hit the PAT and Salem’s lead was merely a touchdown.

RB 22 Bryce Duke scores to make it 21-14 late

Salem, working the clock and trying to keep the ball away from Tuscarora and RB 22 Duke, kept the ball on the ground for the most part. The one time QB 10 Daron Wilson attempted a fairly safe, short toss to TE/LB 14 Jake Massey, the ball was tipped and Tusky DB 11 Camacho gathered it in and returned it to the Salem thirty seven. But the Salem defense came through, holding the Huskies on downs at the Spartan twenty six.

LB 42 Wood blankets RB 22 Duke on a big play in the game

LB/RB 42 Wood had the blanket coverage on RB 22 Duke that created the fourth down incompletion and gave the ball back to Salem. That set up the crazy ending that had Salem commit a personal foul penalty on fourth down as they took a knee to run out the clock. From there future JMU Duke, Tuscarora DL 56 Fitz blocked the punt and gave Tuscarora one last shot to tie it at the end. Enter Salem’s playmaker, DB/WR 2 Collins.

DB 2 Collins for Salem makes the big interception to end the game

The Spartans will now take their undefeated, 9-0 season, to the State Finals against and undefeated Lake Taylor team. These two teams have some history, splitting their earlier two state championship meetings. Lake Taylor beat Salem in 2014 by a score of 41-16. The next year the two met again with Salem taking the title with a 17-14 in double overtime.     – Cap’n Crunch

Salem RB 42 Wood looks to avoid Tusky DL 56 who works free from a double team

Rushing – Salem – Wood 21-133, 2TD, Leftwich 12-31
Tuscarora – Duke 24-75, 2TDs, Mannino 9-(-15)
PassingSalem– Wilson 6/10, 55, TD, INT, Leftwich 0/1
Tuscarora – Mannino 17/37, 247, 2 INTs
ReceivingSalem – Collins 4-23, TD, Jayden McDonald 1-9, Leftwich 1-4, Massey 1-19
Tuscarora – Christian Camancho 8-99, Duke 4-56, Drummond 6-92
PuntingSalem – Leftwich 3-33 yd avg
Tuscarora – Salmeron 2-30 yd avg

First Quarter-
Tuscarora: Duke 28-yd TD run; Salmeron PAT good
Salem: Wood 3-yd TD run; Cross PAT good
Second Quarter-
Salem: Wilson 11-yd TD pass to Collins; Cross PAT good
Salem: Wood 36-yd TD run; Cross PAT good
Fourth Quarter-
Tuscarora: Duke 2-yd TD run; Salmeron PAT good

Tale of Two Halves, Botetourt advances to State Finals

Lord Botetourt H.S., Daleville, Va. – In an epic State 3A Semi-Final Championship, Lord Botetourt jumped out to a 24-0 lead early in the third only to have to hang on to beat a determined LCA Bulldog squad. Lord Botetourt Head Coach Jamie Harless was impressed with the LCA team, “Great football team with a lot of great players.” The Cavs went ahead on a K 6 Bryson Harvery 43-yard FG at the start of the second quarter and then a 14-point surge in the last :39 seconds of the half. Botetourt RB 10 Hunter Rice scored from four yards out and QB 7 K.J. Bratton added to that with a 46-yard dart after a DB 11 Jakari Nicely interception. LB added seven more when Bratton broke away on a 74-yard TD run in the third. LCA stormed back with three TDs by QB 7 Davis Lane, two 1-yard scores and a 4-yard run. Between that the Bulldogs got a safety. Liberty Christian had a chance to tie it on a 2-point conversion, but the pass was batted away by DB 1 Sammy Peery.

First Quarter – This game started as expected with two good teams feeling each other out and pushing at the edges a little bit. LCA took the opening kickoff. On first down Bulldog QB 7 Davis Lane threw a deep pass to WR/DB Jaylin Belford but the Senior couldn’t come up with it. Neither team was able to dent the scoring column in the first quarter.

Botetourt OL 72 Hunter McLain blocks LCA NG 50 Zach Rice

Second Quarter – The second quarter’s first play from scrimmage saw Botetourt’s able bodied Kicker 6, Bryson Harvey gave the Cavs the early lead with a 43-yard, left footed boot through the uprights with yards to spare. LB led 3-0. The hardhitting and tough defense continued early in the second, but most of the scoring happened with only :39 left until halftime.

RB/LB 10 Hunter Rice scores from 4 yards out

Botetourt LB/RB 10 Hunter Rice, who started only at Linebacker and not his usual running back position, made his first appearance in the backfield late in the second quarter. He gave the Cavs the lift they needed. Coach Harless was impressed with his Senior, “When he’s in there you better have 13 guys on defense against him, cause he’s going to make a couple of them miss.”The VMI bound Senior capped off a 84-yard drive with a 4-yard scoring run up the middle behind C 52 Troy Everett, OL 55 Daniel Smith, and TE’s 9 Xavier Stephens and 44 Zach Horton. After K 6 Harvey’s point after, Botetourt led 10-0. On LCA’s next play from scrimmage, DB 11 Jakari Nicely intercepted QB 7 Davis Lane’s tipped toss created by tight coverage by Botetourt DB 32 Mason Murphy. The Cavaliers were in business again. Coach Harless called Nicely’s pick off “amazing, …He’s a freshman… what a play.”

Botetourt QB 7 K.J. Bratton follows his blocks

QB 7 K.J. Bratton looked to run out the rest of the clock, thirty nine seconds, but found a hole around the left side and took off. Nobody was going to catch him.

Botetourt QB 7 Bratton breaks two tackles in route to a long TD run

The 48-yard TD run had the Bulldogs in shock and Lord Botetourt in cloud nine. K 6 Harvey punched through the extra point and Botetourt’s lead had mushroomed to 17-0 in a short amount of time.

QB 7 Bratton finishes off touchdown run in the first half for Botetourt

Third Quarter – Lord Botetourt’s QB 7 Bratton got busy again early in the third quarter finding paydirt on a 74-yard run around the right end in a steady rain. The Junior broke a couple tackles and darted to the endzone. Early in the third, it looked like Botetourt was on their way to the State Championship game with a 24-0 lead.
Liberty Christian looked to have something going but Safety 1 Peery snuffed out the drive with an interception. Botetourt gave it right back a few plays later on a low snap that bounded back off the QB’s legs and back into the line. Liberty Christian recovered.
LCA wasn’t done yet. The Bulldogs didn’t get this far without a spirit of no quit. And that’s exactly what they put on display. Liberty Christian got a score closer on a one yard run by QB 7 Lane drive featuring an end around and short passes.

LCA RB 26 Cade Wycoff comes up just short on a 2-point try

The two point try was denied by LB 10 Rice and DB 11 Nicely as well as the center of the Botetourt defensive line. Botetourt still led 24-6. at the 6:20 mark.
LCA continued to take advantage of their momentum. The Bulldog defense did their part to give LCA a fighter’s chance in the second half. Forcing Botetourt deep in their own territory to punt on fourth down out of their own end zone, the Cavs mishandled the wet football. In the mad melee to get the pigskin, the ball was knocked out of the back of the end zone. The result was a Liberty safety making the score 24-8. The quarter concluded with LCA only two scores away from tying the game up.

Liberty Christian LB 18 Dillon Stowers works off a block for a tackle of RB 22 Dillon Wade

Fourth Quarter – In the final stanza, QB 7 Lane scored from the one yardline and then found RB 26 Cade Wycoff in the endzone for the two point play to make it 24-16 with 9:42 left in the contest.

RB 26 Cade Wycoff catches a 2-point pass

Liberty Christian had fought back to a one score ball game. The Bulldogs next drive would be ended by another interception by FS 1 Peery, but Botetourt would give it right back on a bad snap, fumbled hand off inside the Cavalier five.
LCA would push that in across the goal line with 5:13 left on a wild play with a good Bulldog result. On first down at the four, RB 26 Wycoff took the handoff up the middle but was immediately caught around the legs.

Bulldog QB 7 Davis Lane scores on a lateral from RB 26 Cade Wycoff

Rather then just go down, the heady Senior flipped the ball back to QB 7 Lane who promptly took it around the right end for the score. Lane’s 2 point pass but Cavalier Safety 1 Sammy Peery batted the pass away and Botetourt’s lead stood at 24-22. LCA would get the ball back at midfield with three and a half minutes left in the game. Botetourt’s defense was up to this last challenge. DE 9 Xavier Stephens brought RB 26 Wycoff down for a four yard loss on third down and then on fourth down the Bulldog screen pass back to QB 7 Lane fell incomplete. From there the Cavaliers were able to run out the rest of clock and breathe a sigh of relief. Coach Harless thought the game was a real battle,“A great game. This is what championship football looks like.”

LCA Coach Frank Rocco and Botetourt Coach Jamie Harless shake hands at the game’s end

LCA’s season stops one game short of the state championship game. The Bulldog’s have a lot of experience and talent returning in the fall. Botetourt Coach Harless remarked as much, “the roster they (LCA) have coming back next year is going to be a grizzly bear for someone to deal with next year.”
For Lord Botetourt’s part they now must prepare for a very good Lafayette Ram team and the Wing-T offense. The 3A State Championship game will be next Saturday in Williamsburg at Wanner Field.

Lord Botetourt QB 7 K.J. Bratton celebrates after the win

OffenseRushing– LCA – Belford 8-66, Cade Wycoff 9-43, Lane 8-28, 3TDs, Davidson 1-4, Rockhill 1-0
Lord Botetourt – Bratton 24-224, 2TDs, Rice 8-55, TD, Wade 15-22, Thomas 2-3 Passing– LCA– Davis Lane 9/19-77, 3 INTs Lord Botetourt– Bratton 0/1-0  
Receiving– LCA– Stowers 2-23, Hill 2-20, Will Wycoff 1-13, Holmes 1-8, Sears 1-8, Belford 1-5

First Quarter
Lord Botetourt: Harvey 43-yd FG
Second Quarter
Lord Botetourt: Rice 4-yd TD run, Harvey PAT
Lord Botetourt: Bratton 46-yd TD run, Harvey PAT
Third Quarter
Lord Botetourt: Bratton 74-yd TD run, Harvey PAT
LCA: Lane 1-yard run, 2-pt run try failed
Fourth Quarter
LCA: Safety – punt bobbled in endzone
LCA: Lane 1-yard run, 2-pt run try failed: Lane 1-yard run, Lane pass to Cade Wycoff for 2-ptr
LCA: Lane 3-yard run, 2-pt pass failed

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