Culpeper County High School overcame multiple injuries and a stout running game to defeat Brentsville District High School 38-13 in the semifinals of the VHSL Class A playoffs Friday.
The Blue Devils never trailed, but only had the ball for eight series as Brentsville’s ball control offense kept CCHS off the field for the majority of the first half.
Culpeper took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter as junior quarterback Eric Wilson connected with Capone Hoffman for a 39-yard touchdown pass. Brentsville answered, however, on the very next series, putting together a 12-play drive on the ground, capped off by a 8-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
It only took D’aron Colbert one play to break that tie, scampering 48 yards for a lead that CCHS would never relinquish.
The two teams traded the ball back and forth to end the first half, but CCHS suffered a loss on the last play of the second quarter when Wilson threw an interception and then was injured attempting to make a tackle. He didn’t return after the half and the Blue Devils focused on the running game with Javae Colclough under center.
“We fought through adversity tonight,” CCHS head coach Ken Wakefield said. “We had some injuries get injured, but the kids fought through. We established the run game heavily in the second half. We made some adjustments defensively and the kids responded.”
Brentsville dominated the time of the possession in the first half, as Culpeper only had the ball for three series. The Tigers relied on Alex Whitley and Kyler Cornwell to control the ground game.
“We weren’t expecting the unbalanced set they gave us,” Wakefield said. “They did a nice job of executing that, we made some adjustments at halftime to try to slow them down a bit.”
Culpeper pulled away in the second half, as Colbert scored again on a long run - this time from 56 yards out for a 21-7 lead. Brentsville cut into the lead on the next series as Whitley scored from 16 yards out, but that was as close as the Tigers would get.
Colclough scored on a 9-yard run, Jalen Veeney added a 14-yard touchdown run and the Blue Devils kicked a 24-yard field goal for the 38-13 victory.
Wakefield commended his offense for adjusting in the second half as the Blue Devils relied heavily on the run - they did not attempt a pass in the second half.
“Our offensive line took over, we lean heavily on those guys,” Wakefield said.
Wilson was taken out of the stadium at halftime for evaluation and his status is uncertain for next week’s game.
“With this team, it’s never about one guy,” Wakefield said. “Eric is a heck of a football player, but over the last couple of years we’ve gone through injuries. (We have) a next guy up mentality. They responded and executed in the second half.”
CCHS will host Spotsylvania at 3 p.m. Nov. 23.
“This year you can play at any time,” Wakefield said. “Next week, our focus now shifts and we were there last year, now let’s see if we can win the thing.”
Cyclones win in thrilling fashion
Eastern View High School’s Brett Leake caught a tipped pass and scored with seconds remaining in the game to propel the Cyclones to a 19-14 win at Louisa Friday night.
The Cyclones, the fourth seed in Group 4A, upset the No. 1 ranked Lions - the defending VHSL 4A champions.
EVHS will travel to Dinwiddie Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.