Hylton junior quarterback Darius Reynolds, idle for most of the first quarter while resting an injured tailbone, wasted little time bruising defensive backs' egos once he got on the field last night in igniting the No. 2 Bulldogs to a 27-3 homecoming win over No. 18 Woodbridge.
Thrust into the game on third and 14 inside the Vikings 20, Reynolds connected with junior T.J. Clark near the goal line to set up Hylton's first touchdown and later hooked up with senior Marshall Dill on scoring bombs of 58 and 64 yards down the right sideline to spur a win that likely determined the Virginia AAA Cardinal District regular season champion.
The Bulldogs had been more of a running team lately in part because there has been little reason to throw in blowout victories and in part because they have been a bit out of sync. Against Woodbridge, Hytlon needed more balance, even if Reynolds completed three of only five attempts.
On his first touchdown, Reynolds pumped short and threw long. On the second, he was nearly sacked but broke free and heaved a long ball to Dill, who broke off his route, demonstrating the sort of rapport the pair began to develop during summer games of catch.
"The passing game's always working, but when we have great running backs and a good line, we're just going to keep it on the ground," said Reynolds, a junior varsity wide receiver last year. "We can still [pass] if we need to."
The Bulldogs (8-0, 3-0) gave up 17 first downs but allowed only a field goal, a 28-yarder by senior Eric Buckenmeyer that gave the Vikings (6-2, 2-1) a brief lead in the first quarter.
What Hylton surrendered in yardage it more than made up for with turnovers and crucial stops. A fumble recovery by senior linebacker Tony Keiling at the Woodbridge 15-yard line set up the first touchdown, and junior defensive back Rondell Kelley returned an interception 25 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.
"We were pretty frustrated all night," Hylton Coach Lou Sorrentino said. "They kept the ball, kept the chains going. But the key is not getting into the end zone, so I was proud of our guys that way."