For most of last night, the no-huddle of No. 13 North Stafford was no hurdle for Culpeper, whose own prolific offense made a strong case for conventionalism in a 49-28 home win that eased the unbeaten Blue Devils into sole possession of first place in the Commonwealth District.
Senior Brandon Jones scored on touchdown runs of 47, 78 and 56 yards, and senior quarterback Mike Jenkins threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a game the Blue Devils felt was heavy on pregame North Stafford hype.
"Everything that's been in the paper has been all talk," said Jenkins, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 122 yards. "There was stuff on the Internet about the game, and everyone was saying we had no chance."
The Blue Devils (6-0, 2-0) figured they deserved better, seeing how they have owned at least a piece of the last three district titles, including a co-championship with North Stafford last season. Their determination was evident from the start.
Culpeper scored touchdowns on five of its first six possessions. The Blue Devils could have punched in a fifth if not for an interception at the goal line by Wolverines junior Joe Gibbons.
Because of heavy rain early in the week, the Blue Devils planned to stress the run. But Jenkins spiced up the attack with two first-half touchdown passes as Culpeper riddled North Stafford's defense.
"We couldn't do anything to stop them," said Wolverines Coach Chris Beatty, whose team had given up only 20 points the first four games. "They were knocking our guys three and four yards off the ball. Our front line is on our linebackers where they can't even have a chance to make the play."
Culpeper led by two touchdowns most of the game, and any time North Stafford (4-1, 1-1) tried to pull close, the Blue Devils would intercept a pass or score a touchdown. None was more vital than a fourth-and-eight pass Jenkins laid out for senior John Cagle, who leapt between two defenders for a 19-yard reception that gave his team a 42-21 lead with 10 minutes 30 seconds left.
North Stafford senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst completed 26 of 48 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns--both to senior running back Allen Woodbridge--but also threw three interceptions, including ones by sophomore Stefan Orange and senior Steven Barber on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter. Woodbridge rushed 19 times for 147 yards and one touchdown. "We feel we can play a lot of different ways," Culpeper Coach Lou Sorrentino said. "Our key was tackling in open space and not having too many coverages."
Jones, who carried 20 times for 255 yards, felt he had something to prove in the game as well, with Woodbridge having committed to Boston College.
"I don't have all those big colleges looking at me," Jones said with a smile.
"Brandon said before the game that he thought it was going to be his night," Jenkins said. "Oh, it was his night. . . . He had a night."