Friday, September 24, 2010

2010 Tomato Bowl: Patrick Henry 25, Lee-Davis 24

The most storied rivalry in Central Region high school football unfolded tonight in Mechanicsville in simply wild fashion.

When it was over, several players were injured, all were exhausted, 26 flags were thrown, one was not thrown, a 24-point lead was lost and an underdog shocked the home team.

I don't even know where to begin. So, how about the start? :)

Lee-Davis spent the first half dominating the line of scrimmage. Every play, both sides of the ball. They rushed for 150 yards in the first half, 104 by D'Vonte Scott alone.

But they also had plenty of misfortune and blown opportunities. Lee-Davis' two-quarterback system took an early hit when, first, senior William Coalson went down with a foot problem, then, junior Israel Vaughan was injured (left foot or ankle). Coalson was able to return, while Vaughan was on crutches watching the rest of the game from the sideline.

Scott scored the first two touchdowns of the night, with Chance Stone converting two 2-point conversions to give Lee-Davis an early 16-0 lead. Later in the second, Coalson hit Stone on a slant screen to the left side and Stone got one needed block and raced untouched 73 yards to make it 22-0. Another 2-point conversion made it 24-0 Confederates with 6:16 to go before halftime.

But on the play, Coalson took a hit and went out again with an ankle injury. Late in the second, third-string quarterback Travis Stallings' first pass was intercepted by Tre Bowden, who went 82 yards for the lone PH touchdown, making the halftime score 24-7.

The Patriots offense had zero yards of offense at halftime, got their one score on defense and seemed to have no answer for Lee-Davis' runs off-tackle. In spite of 12 first-half penalties and multiple turnovers, the home team led by 17 at halftime.

Enter the second half.

On the second play, Scott took a handoff and was drilled by a PH defender, losing the ball. Kenny Mock picked it up and raced 35 yards for the TD. A botched extra point later, Patrick Henry, with zero yards of offense, was only down 24-13.

Lee-Davis continued to lose players to injury, two for the game, others for critical plays or series. Stallings' second pass of the night was woefully short and far away from his intended receiver, so the Confederates opted to put in WR/TE Caleb Wyatt as the "wildcat quarterback". He never attempted a pass. He did gain most of his 107 yards in the second half, but the depleted offense could not gain traction.

Luis Carillo kicked a 22-yard field goal when a drive stalled to make it 24-16. On the ensuing kickoff, Lee-Davis forgot to fall on the football when it was pooched kick to around the 25. Ross Jones flew down the sideline and recovered the live ball and PH had it in the red zone.

They couldn't convert for six and Luis Carillo drilled a 32-yarder from the left hashmark, and, suddenly, with a quarter to play, it was 24-19.

PH mounted a drive in the middle of the final stanza, but, on second down from inside the 10, Jay Waller's fade pass to Raymon Minor in the end zone corner was underthrown, and Tyrell Eaton outjumped Minor for the interception in the end zone. He was tackled trying to make a play at the one-yard line.

Lee-Davis got one first down but stalled and had to punt with under three minutes to go. Patrick Henry was out of timeouts. It was time for what they may refer to in Ashland forever as "The Drive, Version 2010".

Big Play #1---Waller's pass across the middle from the 25 ended up at midfield, where two Patriots and three Confederates fought for the ball. A Confederate defender ran out of the pile with the ball, then, a few seconds later, a penalty flag. In the end, the officials determine Kenny Mock caught the ball at the Lee-Davis 48, and Lee-Davis was guilty of interference. So, tack on 15 yards, and suddenly, the Patriots are at the Lee-Davis 33.

Big Play #2---From the 28, Waller looks for Raymon Minor, single-covered down the left sideline. Minor caught the ball at the 9. This humble blogger, while broadcasting the game, saw what I fully believed to be offensive pass interference, as Minor pushed off the L-D defender before catching the ball. No flag was thrown. Lee-Davis fans erupted, beside themselves over the non-call. Suddenly, it was 1st and goal, Patriots, at the 9 yard line with 55 seconds to go.

Big Play #3---On the next play, instead of passing into coverage, Brian Houchens stepped out to the left flat, caught the ball and dashed to the pylon, scoring from nine yards out to make it 25-24 with :47.6 to go. The 2-point Patriot try failed.

A squib kick was taken by Lee-Davis to the 41, where they began their final drive. Coalson gamely came back in at quarterback, as Lee-Davis had no choice but to pass the ball, with seconds remaining and no timeouts. On the third play from scrimmage, Coalson, while going down, flipped the ball ahead to a teammate, but a PH defender tipped the pass up in the air and Josh Thomas intercepted the ball, and took a huge hit, but held onto the completion to give PH the ball, and the win.

Lee-Davis lost two quarterbacks, watched a third struggle, and changed their offense, not by choice, in the second half, committed 17 penalties, and were guilty of five turnovers. Patrick Henry found a way to win despite not scoring a touchdown on offense until the final minute of play.

Kudos to Jay Waller for a stronger second half performance, in spite of the interception in the end zone, which, for a time, looked like it could be the game-clincher for Lee-Davis.

This Tomato Bowl will be talked about from Beaverdam to Old Church and everywhere in between for years to come. Though no playoff implications were probably in play, as opposed to many other past meetings, tonight proved that, no matter how many high schools are opened in Hanover County, there's NOTHING like the Tomato Bowl.

Patrick Henry, now 1-2, opens Colonial District play at home next Friday against Thomas Jefferson. Listen beginning at 6:30pm on WHAN-AM (1430), or click on the listen link here at!

Podcast of the Tomato Bowl will be posted by Saturday night. If you missed the game, you'll want this one.

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