Bulldogs’ ascent continues

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 8, 2014

King’s Fork High School’s football team has been on a steady upward trajectory for a few years now, and this latest group of Bulldogs continued that trend on Friday night.

King's Fork High School senior defensive back Kane Miskel returns an interception during the Bulldogs' 14-7 win over visiting Western Branch High School on Friday night. (Danny Haymond photo)

King’s Fork High School senior defensive back Kane Miskel returns an interception during the Bulldogs’ 14-7 win over visiting Western Branch High School on Friday night. (Danny Haymond photo)

Playing against a visiting Western Branch High School team that has walloped Suffolk’s schools in recent years, King’s Fork defeated the Bruins 14-7 to clinch an 8-2 regular season record for the first time in school history.

“It’s great,” Bulldogs coach Joe Jones said. “That was our goal at the beginning of the year.”

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The win also improved King’s Fork’s chances at getting potentially two home playoff games.

The victory came about primarily through defense.

The Bulldogs offense got things off to a good start on the opening drive, scoring within the first three minutes of the game off a 19-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Ryan Kluck to junior slotback Quadarius Boyd.

The Bruins did not have the ball long on the ensuing drive when King’s Fork forced a fumble which senior linebacker Tyler Brown recovered and returned about 40 yards for a touchdown.

With still 9:18 remaining in the first quarter, the Bulldogs were suddenly up 14-0 and “played great defense the rest of the way,” Jones said.

This was particularly important because early on, King’s Fork lost the primary weapon in its offensive arsenal — junior feature back Deshaun Wethington.

“After the first couple plays, Debo’s hamstrings were really bothering him, so we decided to pull him out,” Jones said.

It was a precaution taken for his own wellbeing and with the postseason in mind.

Jones said the discussion how much to use Wethington occurred during the week leading up to Friday night.

“As important as this game was, next week’s game was more important,” Jones said.

The Bulldogs still had opportunities to break the game open that were not realized.

“We actually had two touchdowns called back in the first half,” Jones said.

It has been a recurring issue for King’s Fork this season.

Penalties helped Western Branch get its only score of the game in the third quarter, moving the ball from the 50 to the Bulldogs’ 20-yard line. Bruins junior quarterback Daniel Griffith scored on a six-yard run.

Jones said he and his staff challenged their players this week to play with mental and physical toughness against this Western Branch team that pulled out a tough win in the fourth quarter of its 2013 meeting with King’s Fork.

“The whole defense just played great,” Jones said. “Different guys stepped up at different times.”

Bulldogs senior defensive back Kane Miskel, an Old Dominion University commit, added another interception to his collection this season.

After the game, Jones was still working to sort out who his team would be playing next week, but he knew the opponent will have to come to King’s Fork High School.

Clinching a home playoff game and improving on the school’s best ever regular season record were goals from the beginning of the year, and Jones was pleased to see his players achieve both of them on Friday night.

“I told them I loved them and was proud of them and enjoy it this weekend and Monday it’s back to work for the second season,” he said.