Matt Nickerson rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries last night to lead No. 19 W.T. Woodson to a 32-7 victory over visiting Langley in a Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 5 semifinal.
Squaring off against Langley's Trevor Bacon -- Washington area's leading rusher with 2,121 yards heading into the game -- Nickerson continued what has been a quietly spectacular season.
The W.T. Woodson senior broke free for eight runs of 10 yards or more, including second-quarter touchdown scampers of 21 and 13 yards to give the Cavaliers a 20-0 halftime lead.
"I wasn't really thinking about outrunning [Bacon] or anything like that," said Nickerson, who eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing mark on the season with his performance. "I know he's a great running back. It also helped that we got an early lead and we kind of got them where we wanted them."
Quarterback Chris Collins had 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Cavaliers (10-1), who will host Edison next Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the regional final. Langley's season ended at 6-5.
Bacon still rushed for a game-high 244 yards on 36 carries. But other than a 61-yard touchdown to open the third quarter and two long runs on Langley's first and final drives, respectively, W.T. Woodson was able to limit Bacon's game-breaking ability.
Kratzer Powers North Stafford
North Stafford fullback Mark Kratzer was no longer a secret to the Potomac (Va.) defense late in the fourth quarter of the Wolverines' 14-7 win in last night's AAA Northwestern Region Division 5 semifinal.
The 220-pound back had already exploded for runs of 50 and 20 yards to help rally the North Stafford offense. So when the 10th-ranked Wolverines gambled on a fourth and two from their 37 in a tie game, there was little doubt where the ball was going.
Kratzer capped off a 14-carry, 171-yard night with a 40-yard run on fourth down to set up the winning score for North Stafford (11-0).
"I expected to get five [yards]," said North Stafford Coach Eric Cooke, whose team scored on a 23-yard pass to Jarvis Williams on the next play, with 3 minutes 23 seconds left. "In those situations you're either going to get five, not get anything or bust a big one. . . . We're lucky. It's one of those calls where if you make it you're a genius, if you don't you're a knucklehead."
Potomac (6-5) took a 7-0 lead on an 11-yard run by Vaughn Walker. The Wolverines, who will host Massaponax next week in the region final, scored their first touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Kyle Lloyd, capping a 15-play, 85-yard drive that consumed the opening 8:04 of the second half.
Massaponax Gets Defensive
Massaponax junior Chase Rice has started at four different positions for the Panthers this season. Last night he made his biggest contribution at cornerback in the AAA Northwestern Region Division 5 semifinal, intercepting two passes, including one returned for a touchdown, as the Panthers pulled away for a 28-0 win over Colonial Forge.
Rice's first interception ended a Colonial Forge drive at the end zone with one minute left in the first half, allowing the Panthers (9-2) to hold onto a 7-0 lead going into halftime. His second, returned 30 yards for a score, gave Massaponax a 21-0 lead.
"I've never had anyone before do what Chase has done this year," Coach Eric Ludden said. "He's been a quarterback, a wide receiver, a linebacker and a cornerback, and he's helped the team a lot at each position."
In a game played on a sloppy field under a heavy fog, Rice led a bend-but-don't-break Massaponax defense. Colonial Forge (7-4) had three long drives that moved inside the Massaponax 20-yard line, but the Eagles scored no points.
The Panthers had the halftime lead after long snapper David Testa recovered a fumbled punt return in the end zone early in the first quarter. After struggling early, the Panthers' offense got into a groove behind senior running back Jason Lovett. Lovett had 140 yards on 12 carries, including second-half touchdowns of 61 and 10 yards.
Long Pass Sets Up Manassas Park
Manassas Park gained momentum on an 80-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Zach Terrell to senior wide receiver A.C. Fitchett with 20 seconds remaining before halftime, then went on to roll past visiting Central-Woodstock, 37-10, in an A Region B Division 2 semifinal.
Central (8-3) had grabbed a 10-6 lead just before halftime, but Manassas Park (11-0) would not trail again after the 80-yard strike.
"That play really made the difference, because we were hyped going into halftime," said Fitchett, who finished the night with three catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns. "I came out there I saw the safety wasn't on me, so I just headed straight down the field and Zach let it go. . . . I've been playing with him since 1997, and even I didn't know he could throw it like that."
Terrell racked up most of his 139 rushing yards and 181 passing yards in the second half. He rushed for two touchdowns and passed for three. The only touchdown he did not have a hand in was the interception Fitchett returned 36 yards for the game's final score.
Special correspondents Sean P. Flynn and Will Toussaint contributed to this report.