Varnado downs Mt. Hermon on the road

Published 9:25 am Sunday, November 4, 2012

By Dave Woodall

Contributing Writer

It was a somber Thursday night at Mt. Hermon stadium as the Yellowjackets lost their last game of the season 34-14 to the visiting Varnado Wildcats in District 7-1A action.

“It was a very tough loss for us, especially for our seniors on Senior Night,” said Jackets’ head coach Henry Crawford.

For Varnado it was a bittersweet win.

“This was a nice way to end the season,” said Varnado head coach Scott Shaffett. “It was a disappointment to some but not to me. We have a very young team that got better and better as the season went on. So I am really looking forward to next year so we can build on what we did this year.”

The Wildcats came into the game without a win and played their best football of the season ending up 1-8 overall and 1-4 in league play.

The Yellowjackets finish their season falling to 1-8 and 0-5.

Penalties and turnovers proved to be the undoing of the Jackets.

Crawford’s squad racked up 12 penalties totaling 100 yards.

“It’s hard to mount any meaningful drives when you continue to commit penalties,” lamented Crawford. “And it’s also hard to keep up team morale when you turn the ball over.”

Varnado got out of the blocks quickly.

On their first possession of the game the Wildcats went 64 yards in eight plays for the opening score.

Reggie Green ran it in from 10 yards out to cap the drive. Keith Crumedy’s two-point conversion run attempt was no good to make it 6-0 with 7:42 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Varnado stunned the Jackets with an on-side kick that was recovered by Dominique Harry.

The Wildcat offense made them pay for their mistake taking the ball 54 yards in seven plays for the second touchdown. Crumedy took the honors with a one-yard run. Bryan Miller’s run for two points failed making it 12-0.

On their next series the Jackets finally got it going.

Quarterback Dylan Clark hit Terrence Brumfield with a 48-yard touchdown strike to get on the board. Brandon Lapharoahs ran it in on the two-point conversion to narrow the margin to 12-8.

But that would be as close as they would get.

Varnado scored on their third consecutive possession when quarterback Preston Spikes hitting Delrick Abrams with a 25-yard pass for the touchdown. Green tacked on two points for the conversion to give the Wildcats a 20-8 lead.

The Jackets got stung again when Varnado got the ball back on another onside kick. But thanks to their defense and some frenzied crowd support the Mt. Hermon defense stepped up to get the ball back, forcing Varnado to turn the ball over on downs.

Mt. Hermon then put together their best drive of the night. The Yellowjackets went 55 yards in 14 plays for the final score of the first half. Quarterback Alex Winters finished off the drive from a yard out. Winters also converted the two-point try to cut the Varnado lead to 20-14.

For the remainder of the half the two teams traded turnovers. Varnado fumbled on their next series and Mt. Hermon’s Chris Wilkerson fell on it.

Then Clark threw a ball that was intercepted by Varnado’s Abrams.

Varnado returned the favor as Spikes threw an interception to Jackets’ defensive back Brumfield.

Clark then threw his second interception of the half when Miller picked him off to end the first half at 20-14.

But it was all Varnado in the second half as the Wildcats shut out the Yellowjackets, while scoring two runs for two touchdowns of their own.

The first score came after Varnado’s Green set up the offense with a nifty 48-yard punt return.

Green put the finishing touches on the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. He failed on his run for two points to put the Wildcats up 26-14.

Varnado’s Green led all rushers with 159 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.

The Jackets turned the ball over again on their next series when Abrams got his second pick, this time at the expense of Winters, to halt a Jackets’ drive.

With six seconds left in the third quarter Varnado scored for the last time as Miller galloped in from six yards out for the score. Graves added a two-point run to end the scoring at 34-14.

The only action in the fourth quarter came when Varnado’s Kamerhon Moses pounced on a Yellowjackets’ fumble to thwart another Mt. Hermon drive and end the game.

Defensive standouts for Mt. Hermon were seniors Bryan Ortiz, Lapharoahs, Joel Brumfield and Sy Falgout. Also having a fine performance was junior Wilkerson.

Stepping up for the Varnado defense were freshmen Nick Darden, Abrams and D.J. Jefferson. Moses and Miller also had a good night.

Varnado’s rushing attack put up 229 yards on 40 carries while gaining 80 yards in the air with Spikes hitting on 4-of-9.

Thanks to penalties and turnovers Mt. Hermon could only muster 234 total yards. The Yellowjackets rushed for 126 yards on 38 carries with Lapharoahs leading the way with 72 yards on 15 carries. Winters went 2-of-4 for 60 yards while Clark hit on 1-of-3 passes for 48 yards.

Summing it up on the Yellowjackets’ season coach Crawford had nothing but good things to say about his team.

“Despite what our record was I am proud of these young men. They fought hard all year and never gave up. I think we developed more pride for our team and school this year and our team spirit has never been higher. I am looking forward to better things next year,” Crawford said.