Brentsville blanks James Wood

NOKESVILLE — Coaches like to talk about how doing the little things can add up to big things.

It works both for and against you.

With five turnovers and a stagnant offense on Friday, James Wood saw the little things add up to a big deficit on the scoreboard.

Brentsville got three touchdown runs from Nico Orlando and quarterback Caleb Alexander ran for a score and threw for one as the Tigers devoured the Colonels 42-0.

Brentsville (3-1) capitalized by scoring after four of the James Wood turnovers, including Langston White’s 23-yard interception return for a touchdown, to control the contest.

While the turnovers were obvious, there were some miscues that weren’t as plain that bothered Morgan.

“I’ll give give credit to Brentsville because they are a good football team, but we should be performing better,” said Morgan, whose team had just one first down in the first half.

“I just told the team that we’ve got at least one guy doing something wrong on every single play. Too many times it happens to be the guy at the point of the attack,” Morgan added. We’re not blocking down on the right guy or running the right route, some things like that. We’ve just got to get all 11 guys doing the right thing instead of nine or 10.”

The Colonels (0-3) trailed from the game-opening series and were down 21-0 at the half.

Brentsville won the toss — and unlike so many teams who defer — the Tigers wanted the ball. They’d embark on a 14-play drive that chewed nearly six minutes off the clock.

Orlando made the key play, rushing for six yards on fourth-and-5 from punt formation at the Colonels’ 39. He’d cap the march with a 12-yard burst up the middle to make it 7-0 with 6:12 left in the quarter.

“The key for us is just playing like a team,” Orlando said. “We really brought it together tonight. We finished blocks and we played physical from start to finish.”

The score stayed that way until midway through the second quarter. Taking over at the James Wood 48 after the Colonels’ third consecutive three-and-out, the Tigers extended the lead with Alexander bolting up the middle on fourth-and-4 from the James Wood 13.

The Colonels then fumbled the kickoff and the Tigers recovered at the 39. Orlando capped the short march with a 17-yard TD run to make it 21-0.

“I thought we played pretty good defense there to start the game, but we can’t move the ball on offense,” Morgan said. “Then you turn over the ball and give the other team short fields. We were rarely in their end and guys start to feel down on themselves. It’s sort of inevitable.”

It only got worse for the Colonels at the start of the second half. On the second offensive play, Brentsville’s Josh Rogers picked off Jared Neal and returned it about 20 yards to the 2. After a penalty, Alexander hit Will Johnson for a seven-yard TD pass to make it 28-0.

The Colonels appeared to have a little life after Jordan Sweetster recovered an Orlando fumble to halt a Tigers drive at the James Wood 10. Neal connected on four straight passes as James Wood drove to the Brentsville 14. But on second down, Rogers intercepted a pass over the middle and returned it to the Colonels’ 47.

Orlando would cap a 53-yard drive by running over a James Wood tackler to score from seven yards out with 9:25 to go. White’s interception a few seconds later would cap the scoring.

Orlando would finish with 148 yards on 25 carries. He credited an offensive line that averages 230 pounds for opening up the holes.

“It’s great, man. They’re my guys,” he said. “They’re moving people left and right. I have all of the space in the world.”

Morgan gave credit to Orlando, too.

“He’s a tough runner,” Morgan said. “He runs behind his pads. I think one thing that I saw tonight that he was a little bit better at than I thought was that when he gets to the edge he is able to dip his inside shoulder and keep his balance to get upfield for some extra yards.”

Alexander finished 13 of 24 for 129 yards and was picked off at the end of the first half by Isaiah Ralls.

The Colonels struggled on the ground gaining 20 yards on 15 carries. Neal finished 10 of 21 for 99 yards with four interceptions.

It doesn’t get any easier for James Wood as it next hosts unbeaten Kettle Run, which beat Brentsville 38-7.

Morgan said the Colonels will try to clean up more of those little things that are causing problems.

“We need to do a better job all around — as coaches, as players, as individuals,” he said. “We’ve got to get the right guys on the field. We’ve got to get healthy. We have to maybe whittle down the playbook a little bit and just get good at running a handful of things. We tried a variety of things tonight and honestly none of them worked or at least none of them worked consistently. We got to keep improving and get all 11 guys to to the right things.”

— Contact Walt Moody at
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