IWA falls in semifinals

Published 9:39pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Isle of Wight Academy battled gamely for more than three quarters but ultimately was defeated by Virginia Episcopal School 28-20 Saturday in a Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III semifinal contest.

IWA led 20-13 after quarterback Brandon Saxby completed a bomb to Alex Fronfelter for a 75-yard touchdown with 5:53 to play. But the Bishops took possession on their 25 and calmly marched down the field on the strength of plays like a 51-yard strike from backup QB Tom Creasy to Dante Jefferson to give VES a first-and-goal at the IWA 9.

The Bishops scored two plays later and, thanks to consecutive penalties against IWA on two-point conversion attempts, had three chances for the two points. They eventually converted to make it 21-20 VES with 3:50 to go.

IWA took the ball back and advanced past midfield, only to have a Saxby pass picked off with 2:49 left. Two plays later, VES running back Ronnie Stringfield dashed 67 yards for his team’s final touchdown. The PAT made it 28-20 with 2:04 to play.

Stringfield was a marvel. The diminutive back finished the game with 178 yards on 30 carries and scored three touchdowns. Creasy was 9-for-17 for 107 yards after replacing Jefferson just before halftime. The move benefited VES in more ways than that; Jefferson caught five Creasy passes for 82 yards in just over two quarters of work as a wideout.

IWA was led by Zeb Warnick, who rushed seven times for 78 yards and scored a TD. Running mate Matt Brummett rushed for 53 yards.

IWA’s offense, firing on all cylinders early on, largely went to sleep in the second half. Without Saxby’s 75-yarder, their longest play was for 10 yards during the last two quarters, a stretch where they racked up only three first downs. They were also plagued by turnovers. A second-half-opening drive was stymied by a fumbled snap on first down, which led to 6 points for VES.

The Chargers tried to get even, recovering a subsequent VES fumble at the Bishops’ 10. There they fumbled, but recovered, and it took that 10-yard Saxby-to-Jackson Goodman pass play to set up a 10-yard field goal attempt, which was unsuccessful.

The Chargers finish the year at 7-3; 8-2 VES advances to play Fredericksburg Christian this weekend.

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