Eight plays into the second half of its Virginia AAA Commonwealth District football game against Brooke Point last night, unbeaten Massaponax faced its first two-touchdown deficit of the season.
From that point on, senior quarterback Jay Kenney rushed for 145 of his game-high 181 yards and the defense allowed minus-6 yards of rushing and only two completed passes. The No. 13 Panthers scored touchdowns on four consecutive drives to pull off the come-from-behind, 28-14 win over the Black-Hawks on a chilly night in Fredericksburg.
"Yeah, it was a little bit of a wake-up call," said Kenney, the leader of the Panthers' option offense. "Maybe we didn't come out with as much intensity as they did in the first half. But after that, we wanted to play the way we know how to play."
With a win next Friday against winless Mountain View, Massaponax (9-0, 5-0) can clinch the Commonwealth title and finish the regular season unbeaten for the second time in three years. A district team has finished unbeaten in both of the past two years and has advanced to the Division 5 state championship game in each of the past three.
Early in the second half, Massaponax allowed the visitors to connect on 29- and 50-yard passes during a drive capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Black-Hawks freshman Chase Barnett. But with the score 14-0, Massaponax seemed to awake instantly. Four plays into its next drive, Kenney scored on an 18-yard option run. After forcing Brooke Point to go three-and-out, the Panthers blocked the punt and drove 50 yards on four plays, capped by E.J. Wilson's 10-yard run.
Helped by a fumble on a punt, Brooke Point (6-2, 3-1) marched to the Panthers 17, but the Black-Hawks stalled there with 11 minutes 54 seconds left in the game. Four plays later, after Kenney runs of 21, 9 and 50 yards, sophomore T.J. Scruggs scored on a three-yard run, and the Panthers led for good with 10:46 left. Scruggs added another touchdown five minutes later.
"We started holding the blocks longer, and that kept the holes open for us," Kenney said.
Said Josh Wine, a senior linebacker and fullback: "We just decided we weren't going to give this game away. Everybody stepped it up a lot."