Culpeper springs a surprise Colonial Forge


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STAFFORD — Both teams — Culpeper and Colonial Forge — were getting a little defensive in the semifinals of the Group AAA Division 5 Northwest Region football playoff on Friday.

Therefore, field position was at a premium and the visiting Blue Devils made the most of it in the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown and a field goal in the game’s final seven minutes for the 10-0 win over the Commonwealth District regular season champions to advance to the region final.

The Blue Devils (6-5), the No. 4 seed, will travel to Stafford, a winner over Halifax, on Friday for the regional crown.

Neither team could get much going in the first half. The Blue Devils, using a heavy dose of Kent Hicks at fullback, had managed to accumulate 42 yards in the air and 46 on the ground but failed on two field goal tries by Brendan Greenaway from 47 yards and 57 yards. Hicks and three other players were returning from a two-game suspension.

The Eagles, who had beaten the Blue Devils 21-17 the previous Friday, were finding the going even more difficult managing only 18 yards of total offense. Corey Blue had seven yards, Brandon McKenney had six and James Davis five.

Quarterback Randy Hippeard, who had 1,466 yards passing coming into the contest, was 0 for 6 in the first half.

Culpeper, making its seventh straight post season appearance, used a variety of backs including Mike Scott, Tommy Dodson, Brandon McCray and Derek Banks in the second half and started to win the game of field possession.

With 9:49 left and the game still scoreless, the Blue Devils took the ball at their own 47. QB Ben Pearson hit Cameron Scott across the middle for a 12-yard gain and two plays later hit Scott over the middle for the 25-yard pick-up that put the ball on the 15. On the next play, Banks, a 5-10, 225-pound sophomore, went around the left side for the 6-0 lead. Greenaway, who attempted the two missed field goals in the first half and a 47-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter, was good for the PAT and the 7-0 lead.

Scott, a 6-1, 230 pound senior, led all ball carriers with 56 yards on nine carries while Hicks finished with 33 yards on 11 carries. Pearson finished the night 9 of 15 passing for 125 yard with his favorite targets being Greenaway (3 catches, 51 yards) and Cameron Scott (4-67).

Colonial Forge, which had rallied in the final minutes to win its past three games, connected on a pass from Hippeard to Kevin Chapman for 4 yards but were forced to punt.

Culpeper again got the ball with great field position at the Colonial Forge 44 and marched 32 yards in eight plays to set up a 30-yard field goal by Greenaway that just got inside the right post.

With the score 10-0, and three minutes remaining, Hippeard hit Sean Hill for a 20-yard pickup and got an additional 15 yards on a personal foul penalty. But four incompletions later, the dream season ran out on the Eagles (9-2).

According to Culpeper coach Randy Bove, the turnaround occurred the previous week against Colonial Forge.

“We knew in the back of our minds we could beat them,” Bove said. “This week we just fine-tuned a few things and our kids gave us a great effort.

“But it was big boost getting athletes back like Kent Hicks and Tommy Dodson.”

A group of 27 seniors played their final game for Colonial Forge, including four-year starters Chris Corbin, Brandon McKenney, Alan Johnson and Bo Trant.

“We should have won this game,” Corbin said. “Our defense played well, the offense just couldn’t get anything going.

“We kind of figured the defense was going to have to make a play to win the game. When they went for the field goal we tried to block it but their guys just did a good job of blocking us.”

The Eagles, which had put up impressive numbers all season, finished with a mere 28 yards rushing and Hippeard ended the night 3 of 21 for 40 yards and one interception.

According to Buckwalter, who started the Eagles program at the same time this group came to the school, it is a bittersweet evening.

“We knew this ride would come to an end sometime,” Buckwalter said. ‘Unfortunately that was tonight. In those previous games the ball rolled our way. Tonight it didn’t. We had some opportunities but they took advantage of us giving them the short field.”

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