NARUNA In football, team speed is usually associated with the offense. On Friday, the Manassas Park High School Cougars got a taste of just how fast a team’s defense can be.
Relegated to one big play in the first half by a speedy William Campbell unit, the normally explosive Cougars fell behind 14-0 at halftime and went on to lose 41-0 in the Group A Region B, Division 1 final.
William Campbell advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since entering Group A in 2000. The Generals lost to Strasburg 35-33 in the regional final last fall.
The Generals, No. 2 in Group A, are known for their torrid offense, averaging 54 points a contest. However, it was their defense that dominated on Friday.
The Generals (12-0) sacked Manassas Park quarterback Zach Terrell twice on the Cougars’ final possession of the first half and picked him off in the end zone earlier in the half to sustain a 14-0 lead.
“I think our kids were just up for the challenge,” said William Campbell coach Brad Bradley. “They heard about another team coming here to try running the spread on us and our kids stepped up to the challenge.”
“They are a very good football team,” Manassas Park coach Jeff Lloyd added. “We tried everything on both sides of the football and we got outplayed.”
The lone offensive highlight from Terrell & Co. came when the Cougars signal-caller broke free from what looked like a sure tackle on fourth down to scramble down to the Generals’ 24-yard line. But the drive ended six plays later on 3rd and seven at the 9-yard line when Terrell was picked off by Maurice Hogue in the end zone.
For the game, William Campbell recorded four sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery for the game while gaining 194 yards rushing and 162 yards passing. Generals quarterback Shea Boyd was 9-for-15 with two touchdowns and rushed the ball for 67 yards and a touchdown.
“We didn’t protect our quarterback very well tonight and he got beat up,” Lloyd said.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to get on the scoreboard. The Generals marched 61 yards on 11 plays in the game’s opening possession and scored on a Cedric Peerman 1-yard plunge with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
The Generals’ next possession also ended in the end zone, this time on a 5-yard strike from Boyd to Tony Gilliam with four seconds left in the first quarter. The score came after William Campbell held Manassas Park (10-2) on fourth down and 1 at its own 46-yard line.
In the second half, it took just two plays for the Generals to go 65 yards. After a delay of game call put the ball at the 35 to start the half, Boyd ran 15 yards for a first down and then connected with Chauncey Davis for a 50-yard scoring strike that gave the Generals a 20-0 lead. Davis appeared to push off on defensive back J.J. Dufour at the 20-yard-line before leaping to make the catch and sprinting the rest of the way to the end zone.
Josh Moon was wide right on the extra-point attempt but it didn’t matter. The Cougars managed just four yards of offense in the second half.
For the game, Price Ward was held to 29 yards on 14 carries and Terrell was 4-for-17 for 43 yards and two interceptions. Peerman, who rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries, added a 24-yard TD run in the third quarter and a 4-yard TD plunge late in the fourth quarter after returning an interception 42 yards to the 4-yard line.