Stafford 14, Culpeper 6
Behind a dominant all-around performance from running back Thomas McClelland, No. 18 Stafford defeated visiting Culpeper, 14-6, last night in a Virginia AAA Division 5 Northwestern Region championship game.
Stafford (10-2) will play the winner of last night's Central Region title game between Patrick Henry-Ashland and Hopewell on Dec. 7. Culpeper, the defending region champion, finished 6-6.
McClelland rushed for 216 yards on 48 carries and recovered three fumbles on defense as Stafford clinched its first region championship since opening in 1952.
There was nothing fancy about McClelland's performance, just a gritty combination of off-tackle runs and sweeps.
"I've been doing this all year," McClelland said. "I wanted to play my role. . . . Everybody else was doing their part."
After a scoreless first half, McClelland anchored the first scoring drive to give the Indians a 7-0 lead. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior carried the ball on all 10 plays of a 42-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes 42 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Indians gained momentum two minutes later when they forced a fumble to retain possession. With 8:56 left in the game, quarterback Mike Allsworth scored on a one-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.
Culpeper quarterback Ben Pearson completed 20 of 30 passes for 253 yards, but the Blue Devils struggled thanks to five lost fumbles and two missed field goals.