Bulldogs can’t undo mistakes
Published 11:20 pm Friday, November 29, 2013
King’s Fork High School head coach Joe Jones has a tendency to characterize football games as opportunities. It was an appropriate word to bring up after Friday night’s Group 4A South Region playoff game, but it was not in a positive context for the Bulldogs.
“Missed opportunities,” Jones said after the game. “That’s the key phrase.”
For most of the night, King’s Fork appeared to be the superior team. The Bulldog defense was phenomenal for a second week in a row, and the offense showed the ability to move the ball.
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However, unlike last week against No. 1 Phoebus High School, the offense turned the ball over on four difference occasions. It kept the game close, but the Hurricanes finally were able to take advantage with just over 35 seconds left in the game, leading to a season-ending 13-7 Bulldog loss Friday night before a large crowd on both sides of John B. Todd Stadium in Newport News.
On the first play from scrimmage, King’s Fork offense set the unfortunate tone for the night. Sophomore feature back Deshaun Wethington had the ball knocked out from behind, and the Hurricanes took over.
Later in the first quarter, senior quarterback Uriah Adams fumbled the ball, and a Heritage defender returned it about 60 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs offense sputtered and also gave the ball up twice more on a fumble and interception before Wethington ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game 7-7.
After the Hurricanes’ final score, King’s Fork got excellent field position off a great return by junior slotback Trelen Cox and a penalty on Heritage.
The Bulldogs continued to shoot themselves in the foot, however, with another penalty of their own, and ultimately turned the ball over on downs with three seconds remaining.
Wethington, who carried the ball 25 times for 201 yards on the night, was not able to play during the final drive.
“He’s had a groin injury for about half the season,” Jones said.
Wethington admitted as much, but said, “I just couldn’t play through it this time.”
His yardage nearly eclipsed the entire Heritage offense, which had 229 yards on the night.
Jones mourned the loss, but made it clear come January when off-season workouts begin, “This will be fuel.”
After being part of a King’s Fork team that won the school’s first ever playoff games during its first ever nine-win season, Wethington said he looks forward to getting the team together again next year with the goal to “get farther than this, make more school history.”
“The ship’s still headed in the right direction,” Jones said.
The coach also addressed the impressive attendance on the Bulldogs’ side of the stadium.
“I want to make sure to thank all the people that came out to support us,” he said.