Bookers handle Bulldogs

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2011

King’s Fork’s DeShawn Johnson wrestles down Booker T. Washington’s Lafayette Smallwood during the second half of Tuesday’s season-opening game for both teams in Norfolk. Smallwood scored one touchdown each rushing, on a kick return and on an interception return as the Bookers beat the Bulldogs 27-12.

NORFOLK — Booker T. Washington senior Lafayette Smallwood scored three of his team’s four touchdowns, scoring on offense, defense and special teams, to lead the Bookers to a 27-12 win over King’s Fork Tuesday in the season-opening game for both teams.

Conversely, King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones said his team will have to play better in all three parts of the game to improve for the nine Southeastern District contests ahead.

“We’ll come back from this. I still firmly believe we’ve got a very good team in the making here,” Jones said.

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“This was a total team loss. We had breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams,” he said.

The Bulldogs had two good opportunities to jump in front of the Bookers, yet came away empty-handed.

On the first Booker series of downs, quarterback Marquise Poole scrambled on a third-and-long play. Poole was hit by three Bulldogs and fumbled. KF’s Davon Grayson recovered on the Booker 40.

Charles Clark rushed for a gain on first down. On the next KF snap, fullback William Black powered through the line for what would’ve been a first down near the Booker 20 until he fumbled and the Bookers recovered.

KF held the next Booker possession without a first down. T.C. Livingston blocked the Booker punt and Noah Johnson fell on the ball at the BTW 15.

The Bulldogs settled for a 28-yard field goal attempt and sophomore Austin Wall kicked it wide.

Sophomore Uriah Adams played quarterback for the Bulldogs in the first half. With the Bookers leading 8-0 at the half, senior Matt Hommell came on at quarterback for KF in the second half.

Hommell threw an interception, with Smallwood winning a jump ball down the right sideline against Grayson, for a quick end to KF’s first possession coming out of halftime.

With Black, playing fullback and outside linebacker at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, getting his third sack of the game on the ensuing Booker third-down play, the Bookers punted. Clark’s nice return plus a Booker penalty put KF in great shape at the Booker 30.

On a fake pitch to the right and handoff going to the left, junior wingback Noah Johnson raced 14 yards for the first Bulldog touchdown of the season, making it 8-6 midway through the third period.

King’s Fork pulled close to the Bookers twice in the second half. Both times, the Bookers regained control, once with a lightning strike and once by pounding the ball down the field.

On a handoff, reverse kick return play, Smallwood took the ball from Daquan Hurst and went for 85 yards of an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown for a 15-6 Booker lead seconds after KF’s first score.

Pitch plays to Clark and Johnson moved the Bulldog offense again and fullback Danny Gromkoski finished a 53-yard drive with a 1-yard run for a touchdown, cutting the Booker lead to 15-12 late in the third quarter.

The following Booker drive gave them a cushion on the scoreboard and more importantly, gave the Bulldogs little time left to get back in the game.

Smallwood ended an 82-yard, 10:26-long Booker drive with an 8-yard run with 4:46 to play. The Booker star of the night sealed the game a couple minutes later, intercepting a Hommell pass and returning the pick 52 yards for a touchdown.

While Smallwood made all the big plays running back Davohn Williams moved the chains on each Booker drive, gaining 115 yards on 21 carries.

For the Bulldogs, Hommell finished 4-for-11 passing for 23 yards. Johnson led the KF rushers with three carries for 34 yards. Black finished with three sacks and two more tackles for loss.

“Some of the guys who were new to the varsity level sort of had the deer in the headlights look, but that’s expected,” Jones said.

“I hate it we blew good opportunities early on,” Jones said.

The Bulldogs (0-1) are off this Friday evening before starting district play at Indian River on Sept. 9.