GLOUCESTER – Any optimism that this may be a different season for Jamestown football after a winless 2014 campaign took an early hit in the Eagles’ season-opening 51-20 loss Friday at Gloucester.
Jamestown (0-1) gave up a 70-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage before fumbling away the ensuing kickoff, leading to a Dukes’ field goal.
And less than two minutes into Brown’s debut, the Eagles trailed 10-0.
But the remainder of the first half was enough to give Jamestown hope that this could be a different kind of season.
Junior fullback Tyler McMullen put an exclamation point on the Eagles’ opening drive with a short touchdown dive over the goal line, capping a 63-yard march down the field.
Gloucester (1-1), of Group 5A Conference 10, added another first-quarter touchdown and Jamestown accounted for the final score of the half when junior Demarjia Lewis scored from a yard out to cap a 77-yard drive. After a failed point after, the Eagles went into the locker room down 17-13.
The second-half miscues were what left coach Donnell Brown and Jamestown with sour tastes in their mouths.
Two lost fumbles that led directly to Gloucester scores helped the Dukes put the game away in the third quarter as they outscored the Eagles 27-0 in the period.
“Mistakes us killed us,” Brown said. “The players know that.”
“Honestly, we beat ourselves,” Lewis said. “Mental mistakes, not doing the right thing and not doing our job.”
Running back Mark Lipscomb helped spark Jamestown’s first-half counter punch offensively. The senior finished with 80 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
“Mark did a great job running the football,” Brown said. “He was a playmaker. Mark, he’s a great player and even defensively, he did a good job.”
Lewis made some big stops at linebacker, making several tackles, and adding 38 rushing yards on seven carries.
Jamestown’s Zach Pennycuff recorded an interception near the end of the first half that disrupted the Dukes’ drive near the Eagles’ red zone. He took it all the way back inside Gloucester’s 20, but a penalty called it back to the Dukes’ 27 with 15 seconds on the clock. An intentional grounding call sent the Eagles back even further before they took a knee to end the half down four points. Pennycuff, lined up to punt, later turned a bad snap into a 30-yard gain for a first down.
Entering the season, Gloucester had claimed only 11 victories in the last nine seasons.
Friday’s win meant first-year Dukes coach Brandon Kelly won a home opener for the first time in his three-year tenure. If anybody understands the challenges of regrouping after a down season, it’s him.
“Hats off to Jamestown. They have a heck of coach,” Kelly said. “He’s doing a great job down there. It’s definitely a different team. They’ve come a long ways from the last two game films we got off of them, the two scrimmages they had. They had an extra week to prepare for us, and I thought that showed early on. Their guys did a great job getting them coached up and ready to roll this week, and they’re going to be fine.”
Brown repaid the kind words while lamenting his team’s mishaps.
“Gloucester, first of all, give them credit. Gloucester is a well-coached team,” he said. Coach Kelly is doing a great job with that program. We felt like toward the end we kept making mistakes. Credit Gloucester. They capitalized on the mistakes.”
Jamestown sophomore Hunter Brittain debuted at quarterback, throwing 7-of-10 for 95 yards with no interceptions.
“I think he did well,” Brown said. “First start, I think he managed the game well. Of course, he wasn’t perfect, he made some mistakes. He had some bad reads now and then. But he controlled the ball, he hit the receivers at the right time. He controlled the pulse of the offense. I think he did a great job.”
Gloucester, which started its season with a loss at Kecoughtan, hosts Woodside this week, while Jamestown visits Tabb.
Tabb opened with a 49-20 loss to Hopewell.
“It’s a lot of good things we saw, just minor things and mental mistakes that happened,” Lewis said. “Learn from it and come Monday’s practice, make it better.”
Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-345-2352.
GLO -- Patterson 70 pass from Barefoot (Wright kick), 11:45.
GLO – Wright 33 kick, 10:22.
JAM – McMullen 1 run (Weissenfluh kick), 7:09
GLO - Barefoot 11 run (Wright kick), 3:19
JAM – Lewis 1 run (kick failed), 10:32
GLO – Morris 20 run (kick failed), 7:11.
GLO – Barefoot 12 run (Wright kick), 4:31.
GLO – R. Williams 63 run (Wright kick), 2:03.
GLO – R Williams 8 run (Wright kick), 44.8
JAM – Lipscomb 4 run (Weissenfluh kick), 4:56.
GLO – Morris 80 KR (Wright kick), 4:44.