FREDERICKSBURG, VA., NOV. 28 -- James Monroe quarterback George Coghill ran for one touchdown and passed for another as the Yellow Jackets defeated Sussex Central, 14-0, in a Division 3 state semifinal game today at Maury Stadium.
James Monroe advanced to the state final in Lynchburg, where it will defend its state title against Rustburg Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Both teams entered yesterday's game unbeaten and averaging over 40 points a game, but a steady rain and terrible field conditions reduced both offenses to slow motion.
Sussex Central's powerful option offense was limited to 95 total yards and Monroe's standout tailback, Eric Bates, slipped and sloshed for only 53 yards.
But Coghill and some creative thinking by running back Darrell Durante gave the Yellow Jackets all the scoring they would need in the first quarter.
On first down from the Sussex 23, following a 28-yard pass from Coghill to Kevin Johnson, the quarterback handed to Durante who tried to get outside left end. Durante was hit by three defenders but managed to pitch the ball back to Coghill, and he sprinted 23 yards for the score.
The Monroe defense, led by nose guard Brian Fisher, consistently stopped any Sussex drives and forced five Tigers turnovers before Bates' fourth-quarter touchdown sealed the victory.
Bates, who entered the game with 2,801 yards rushing and 38 touchdowns for the season, was slowed by the mud much of the day. But, three plays after Anthony Poole recovered a Sussex Central fumble, Bates took a swing pass from Coghill, spun past three Tigers and went 23 yards for a game-clinching touchdown.
The Tigers opened the second half with their best drive of the day and appeared ready to tie the game at 7-7. But the 13-play, 49-yard drive ended at the Yellow Jackets' 13 when Michael Parker's fourth down pass fell behind intended receiver Kim Boone. Sussex Central (12-1) 0 0 0 0 0 James Monroe (13-0) 7 0 0 7 14
JM -- Coghill 23 run (Hicks kick)
JM -- Bates 23 pass from Coghill (Hicks kick)