Jamestown's 'Gang Green' revels in rare home win

If ever there was a group of fans that deserved to celebrate right there on the gridiron with their team following a game, it is Jamestown's student section, affectionately known as "Gang Green."

If you're a Jamestown senior, you hadn't witnessed a home football win since you were a freshman.

Until Friday, when the Eagles beat Bruton 28-10 at Wanner Stadium for their first home victory since 2013. Jamestown (2-5, 2-4 Bay Rivers) also clinched consecutive wins for the first time in three years.

As the clock waned down Friday, the black-clad Jamestown students left their normal place behind the team's bench in the bleachers, that are rarely used for sitting, and inched closer to the fence separating them and Wanner's turf. They sensed this one coming, and when the postgame handshakes were finished, the whole lot stormed onto the field and mobbed their team, an exhibition rarely seen in high school football.

They remembered a winless 2014 campaign, a heartbreaking Homecoming defeat to New Kent in 2015 and an exciting triumph last year at Bruton that halted a 17-game losing streak. And just last week, their Eagles had the nerve to win away from home again, a somewhat surprising rout in hostile New Kent territory.

Finally on Friday, Gang Green reveled in victory.

"No matter what, they're always cheering us on," Jamestown junior quarterback Hunter Brittain said. "Even in school, they're asking each other, 'Are you going to be at the game tonight?' They always do themes, like tonight was 'Blackout.' They'll do 'Tropical-out,' USA themes. They always find a way to just get involved in the game. The 12th man."

Second-year coach Donnell Brown had been promised by administrators and coaches that even when wins proved elusive, support would be there in the stands. He hasn't been disappointed.

"They've been through it here with us," Brown said, "and they enjoyed coming out on the field and celebrating with us today. I love those kids. We love them."

And the students loved the source of the celebration: a second convincing, yet hard-earned win.

Senior quarterback Greg Dockery pulled Bruton (0-7, 0-6 BRD) within 21-10 with 4:35 left in the third quarter, bursting through Jamestown's front seven for a 29-yard rushing score, but the Eagles forced punts on the Panthers' next three possessions.

Jamestown senior running back Rashaun Jones, who finished with 85 rushing yards, tacked on the exclamation point for Jamestown with 3:06 to play on a 19-yard rushing touchdown.

"Bruton came out here with a good game plan," Brown said. "They came out here where they were going to pound us. Lot of fullback dives and quarterback sneaks. Once our defense as a whole adjusted, I thought we played a lot better. Linebackers played well. (Philip Neubia) played well. (Dylan Shannon) played well."

Jamestown receiver Zach Pennycuff made up for a zero catch performance last week against New Kent by continuing his stellar senior season Friday with two touchdown grabs from Brittain (11-21-1, 192 passing yards, 3 touchdowns).

Pennycuff scored from 21 yards for the game's opening touchdown before Owen Malik hit a 31-yard field goal for Bruton. Then with 5:33 left in the second quarter, Pennycuff caught a 17-yard screen pass from Brittain around the line of scrimmage before finding his way into the end zone.

Brittain's third passing touchdown was to senior receiver De'marjia Lewis for 15 yards shortly before Jamestown took a 21-3 lead into halftime.

As rare as field rushing may be in high school football, Gang Green is certainly poised for a curtain call should they upset Smithfield (5-2, 5-1) Thursday at Wanner. That will be no easy task, however. The Packers claimed last year's game, 67-7.

"We know what it's like to win again," Pennycuff said. "We just want more."

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.

This week's games

Smithfield at Jamestown (Wanner Stadium), Thursday

Lafayette at Tabb (Bailey Field), Friday

New Kent at Warhill (Wanner Stadium), Friday

Poquoson at Bruton, Friday

*Kickoffs at 7 p.m.

Copyright © 2016, The Virginia Gazette
39°