RUSTBURG, VA., DEC. 5 -- Eric Bates rushed for 183 yards and Brian Fisher led James Monroe's defense as the Yellow Jackets held off Rustburg, 10-9, today at Rustburg High School to win their second straight Virginia AA Division 3 state title.
Bates, whose third-quarter touchdown proved to be the game winner, had a state record 3,045 yards rushing and 40 touchdowns this season.
Monroe (14-0) had a decided size advantage along the offensive and defensive lines, led by 275-pound Ben Lawrynas, 260-pound Jay Daniel and 250-pound Cornelius Grayson. Rustburg, which finished 13-1, had only one player on the whole team over 200 pounds.
The Yellow Jackets limited Rustburg to 176 yards total offense, and Fisher repeatedly disrupted the Red Devils' attack. Six times the 6-foot 185-pound nose guard blew into the Rustburg backfield to force fumbles by quarterback Randy Arrowood.
The Rustburg defense was almost as tough. Led by Davis, who also plays linebacker, the Red Devils' quickness frustrated the Monroe offensive line and caused problems for Bates.
But with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter and Monroe ahead, 3-0, on a 42-yard field goal by Jeh Hicks, Bates gave the Yellow Jackets the lead that held up for the victory, going over from the 2.
Rustburg came right back to score two minutes later when Arrowood hit Steve Morgan over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown.
Rustburg threatened twice in the fourth quarter, but the Yellow Jackets stopped them both times.
Early in the final period, on second down and 10 from the Monroe 20, Anthony Poole stripped Arrowood of the ball, and Brooks recovered for the Yellow Jackets. Later, after a 43-yard punt return by Davis gave Rustburg first and goal at the Monroe 4, the Yellow Jackets' defense stiffened, forcing Rustburg to settle for Billy Strain's 28-yard field goal for the final points.James Monroe (14-0) 0 3 7 0 10 Rustburg (13-1) 0 0 6 3 9
JM -- FG Hicks 42
JM -- Bates 2 run (Hicks kick)
R -- Morgan 28 pass from Arrowood (run failed)
R -- FG Strain 28