JAMES CITY — Warhill played for the first time this season minus star running back Collin Bright, who ran for 1,136 yards and 13 touchdowns in a little more than seven games. Turns out the Lions didn't need him in their 51-7 win over Jamestown in their Bay Rivers District football game on Tuesday at Wanner Stadium.
Led by Bryce Koob, (20 carries, 113 yards, three touchdowns), the Lions ripped the Jamestown defense for 336 yards rushing on 54 attempts. The Lions (3-6, 3-5 district) entered averaging just 15 yards through the air but displayed more passing flair than usual as Ryan Creecy completed 6-of-8 passes for 98 yards and touchdown.
Not to be outdone, the defense, led by linebackers Bryce Koob and Noah Holmes, limited the Eagles (1-8, 1-7) to 86 yards, with only 29 of those coming in 29 rushes on the ground. The all-around effort, which included a kickoff return touchdown and a safety, was good enough to keep the Lions on track for their first playoff appearance in four seasons.
The Lions remained in the No. 8 and final playoff position in the 3A East Region/Conferences 25-27 ratings with the victory. They can clinch a playoff berth with a win on Saturday over Bruton (1-8, 0-8) at Wanner Stadium, or with a Booker T. Washington loss to Woodrow Wilson.
"Our goal was to come out and execute and not shoot ourselves in the foot like we've done in the past," Warhill coach Thad Wheeler said, referring particularly to the five turnovers in a 21-14 loss to Tabb on Friday. "We still had a few fumbles that we want to take care of.
"The little things have to mean so much to us and that was our goal this week, to take care of the little things."
The Lions turned the game into a runaway by halftime with dominance on both sides of the ball despite Bright's absence due to a strained Achilles tendon. They amassed 251 yards, 187 on the ground, and held Jamestown to 69. Koob and Holmes each had a sack and multiple tackles for loss by halftime.
The Lions drove 60 yards for a score to open the game, the seven-play drive culminating in Creecy's 22-yard touchdown pass to wide-open P.J. Casanave. Jamestown used the pass on its first possession, and two holding penalties on Warhill, to drive 62 yards and tie the game at 7-apiece.
Hunter Brittain completed a 24-yard pass to C.J. Delfico over the middle and tied the game with a screen pass to Demarjia Lewis, good for 12 yards and a score. Warhill regained control instantly as Armon Fannin returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-7.
Trevon Loftin spearheaded Warhill's next touchdown drive, carrying five times for 46 yards. Koob got the glory, though, running 8 yards for a score to increase the Lions' margin to 21-7 before the game was a quarter old.
Warhill's methodical 13-play, 85-yard scoring drive broke the game wide-open. Creecy completed passes of 18 and 7 yards on the march, while Loftin and Koob did the rest of the damage on the ground, with Koob running in from a yard to increase the lead to 28-7.
The second half was rinse and repeat, with Koob adding two more touchdown runs while leading a defense that charged to the ball in numbers. Holmes' second sack produced the safety midway through the third quarter.
"We're just trying to get to play a couple more games after the (regular) season, so this one feels good," Koob said.
WARHILL 51, JAMESTOWN 7
Warhill: 21, 7, 9, 14 - 51
Jamestown: 7, 0, 0, 0 - 7
War: Casanave 22 pass from Creecy (Whalen kick), 9:24
Jam: Lewis 12 pass from Brittain (Weissenfluh kick), 6:54
War: Fannin 89 kickoff return (Whalen kick), 6:42
Koob 8 run (Whalen kick), 3:40
War: Koob 1 run (Whalen kick) 6:30
War: Holmes tackled Brittain in end zone, 6:31
War: Koob 5 run (Whalen kick), 5:04
War: Thompson 1 run (Whalen kick), 8:52
War: Hudson 22 run (Whalen kick), :56
First downs: 25; 7
Rushes-yds: 54-336; 29-29
Passing yds: 98; 57
Comp-att-int: 6-8-0; 6-10-0
Penalties-yds: 4-32; 4-39
Punts-avg: 0-0; 6-31.6
Fumbles-lost: 2-1; 2-1
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963