Rockbridge Rolls On

Rockbridge Rolls On

ABOVE, Showing his agility, RC running back Gage Shafer does a somersault into the end zone.

Rockbridge Rolls On

AT RIGHT, RC running back Bret Mc-Clung sprints down the field while a teammate blocks for him. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photos)

Rockbridge Rolls On

WILDCAT WIDE receiver Jailik Lynch runs with the ball as teammate Matt Nicely (55) moves in to hold off Fort Defiance defenders. Lynch led the Wildcats with 123 receiving yards and caught two touchdown passes. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Rockbridge Rolls On

RC RUNNING back Bret McClung hurdles over a Fort defender to get close to the end zone. McClung led all players with 103 rushing yards and scored a TD. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Rockbridge Rolls On

WILDCAT QUARTERBACK Miller Jay holds onto the ball while Fort’s Riley Miller tries to tackle him. Jay completed 18-of-24 passes with two interceptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Wildcats Win 37-6 To Spoil Fort Defiance’s Homecoming

Remaining undefeated on the road, the Rockbridge County High School football team cruised to a 37-6 win on Friday night at Fort Defiance.

In earning their third consecutive win, the Wildcats (4-1) forced five turnovers and executed their running and passing effectively. They led 23-0 at halftime and never allowed the Indians (2-2) to threaten a comeback in Fort’s homecoming game at Alumni Field.

Jailik Lynch, Elijah Poindexter and Matt Nicely each made an interception for the Wildcats, and Nicely and Luke Mayr each recovered a Fort fumble. The Wildcats held Fort quarterback Austin Monroe to minus-9 passing yards.

RC head coach Mark Poston said his team’s defensive performance was “something to build on.”

RC sophomore quarterback Miller Jay had another strong night, completing 18-of-24 passes with two interceptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Jay has thrown for 1,131 yards and 11 TDs.

Jay’s most effective target on Friday was Lynch, who used his athleticism to make five catches for 123 yards and two TDs. Turner Cook caught three passes for 40 yards, and Mayr made three catches for 21 yards.

RC’s Gage Shafer ran for 75 yards and two TDs on 14 carries, and Bret McClung rushed for 108 yards and a TD on 10 totes, hurdling for extra yards at one point. The Wildcats amassed 204 rushing yards, while the Indians had 129 rushing yards, led by Trevor Bartley’s 64 yards on 13 carries.

RC kicker Daniel Cunningham made a 37-yard field goal and was 4-of-5 on extra point kicks.

The Wildcats scored on their first drive, midway through the first quarter. After a series of passes and runs, Jay threw the ball to Lynch, who sprinted away from defenders for a 22-yard TD. Cunningham had his only missed extra point, so the score remained 6-0.

Lynch intercepted Jay on Fort’s next drive, but the Wildcats could not get the ball past midfield on this possession. However, Fort would fumble the ball, and Nicely recovered it at the Fort 34-yard line. RC moved the ball downfield on several short runs, setting up Shafer’s 19-yard dash into the end zone nine seconds into the second quarter. Cunnigham’s PAT put RC up 13-0.

On the ensuing drive, Poindexter intercepted Monroe. The Wildcats gradually advanced the ball to the Fort 20, but the drive ended when Jay was intercepted by Alexander Guerrero Cooper.

Fort then made several runs to get the ball to the RC 28, but the Indians then fumbled the ball, and Mayr recovered it at the RC

30. Two plays later, with the help of the offensive line, McClung sprinted away for a 48-yard TD, and Cunningham’s PAT extended RC’s lead to 20-0 with 3:12 left in the first half.

On their next drive, the Indians were stopped just shy of midfield, and the Wildcats ran the ball deep into Fort territory. Cunningham converted a 37-yard field goal as the clock expired to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 23-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Wildcats milked the clock and made a series of runs and passes that ended with a 22-yard TD pass to Lynch, and Cunningham’s PAT stretched RC’s lead to 30-0 with five minutes left in the period.

The Wildcats stopped the Indians on the next drive, but Jay was intercepted by Addison Knicely early in the fourth quarter. However, RC got the ball back when Nicely intercepted Monroe at the Fort 42. The Wildcats then made a bunch of runs, ending with a 6-yard TD run by Shafer. Cunningham’s PAT extended RC’s lead to 37-0 with 2:08 left in the game.

Fort avoided the shutout, scoring its only TD when Monroe made a 27-yard run into the end zone with 13.3 seconds left in the game. RC’s Cody Sensabaugh blocked the extra point kick.

Poston said he was pleased with the result but added that there’s room for improvement. “We can play a lot better,” he said. “We did some things that we needed to do, but you never apologize for a win.”

Poston said the Wildcats are overcoming their youth, and he’s confident they’ll be able to limit their mistakes. “We’re playing an awful lot of players, and it’s really, in some ways, been a blessing in disguise,” he said. “They’ve matured, and they’re going to make mistakes. We’re young in a lot of spots. But if you can survive the mistakes and still win, we’ll take it.”

The Wildcats will have a bye this week before starting Valley District action at home against Spotswood (4-0) on Friday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.

Spotswood has had the Wildcats’ number the last couple of years, and Poston is glad to have the extra week to prepare and get players recovered, with the hope to have several players return from injuries.

“We’ve got to get much better if we’re going to beat Spotswood, and we’ll work harder in the off week,” Poston said. “And I think a lot of it, too, is we’re just tired. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve got a lot of guys injured.”

Poston said Spotswood, which has routed three of its four opponents and will have a bye this week also, is a “huge challenge. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got everybody back healthy. We’ve got to play better. We’ve got to execute that offensive game better. Too many silly mistakes that, against a very good football team, you won’t win. You’ll get beat 35-34. You’ll get beat 31-28. Because you can’t give them anything. They’re good enough as it is. They don’t need any help. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a great night two weeks from now.”

RC 6 177 7 37 FD 0 0 0 6 6

First Quarter

RC – Lynch 22 pass from Jay (kick failed) Second Quarter

RC – Shafer 19 run (Cunningham kick) RC – McClung 48 run (Cunningham kick) RC – Cunningham 37 FG Third Quarter

RC – Lynch 22 pass from Jay (Cunningham kick) RC – Shafer 6 run (Cunningham kick) Fourth Quarter

RC – Monroe 27 run (kick blocked)

RC FD First downs 14 8 Rushes-yards 28-203 27-129 Passing yards 204 -9 Comp-Att-Int 18-24-2 3-8-3

Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2 Penalties-yards 10-70 4-20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHINGRC, McClung 10-108, Shafer 14-75, Lynch 1-12, Jay 3-8. FD, Bartley 13-64, Monroe 4-47, Knicely 5-12, East 4-10, R. Miller 1-(-4).

PASSINGRC, Jay 18-24-2 204. FD, Monroe 3-8-3 (-9).

RECEIVINGRC, Lynch 5-123, Cook 3-40, Mayr 3-21, Shafer 3-10, Looney 1-1. FD, Knicely 1-4, Dove 1-(-1), Cleveland 1-(-12).

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