Colonels eye playoff berth
Colonel opens with three TDs in the first quarter, routs Jaguars
Colonel Richardson’s Mason Lambert runs around the right end to pick up 17 yards and a first down during Friday’s game in Princess Anne. The Colonels have won five consecutive and are 6-3 with a strong chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. For more on Colonel’s victory,
PRINCESS ANNE — In 1980, the Colonel Richardson High football team finished 6-4.
It took 26 years for the Colonels to repeat that accomplishment — only to forfeit half their victories due to the use of an ineligible player.
Friday night, Colonel repeated, and made histor y at Jaguar Stadium, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter and rolling to a 43-6 rout of host Washington.
The win improved the Colonels to 6-3, tying for the most victories in program histor y. It was also the team’s fifth straight triumph, a first since the school opened its doors in 1962.
Colonel, which has made the postseason in football just once — a one-and-done appearance in 2004, when the team was shut out at Snow Hill — is on the cusp of doing so again.
“Right now, I don’t see a scenario where we’re not in the playoffs,” Colonel head coach Dan Mangum said. “It’s possible, I guess, but with two of the teams fighting one another for a spot Friday, one of them has to lose. I think we’re in.
“And that’s good,” added Mangum, whose squad hosts unbeaten county rival North Caroline this Friday. “Because, each of the last two years, we came into the last game needing to beat North Caroline to make it into the playoffs. I’m glad we don’t have that this year, on us.
“We still want to go out to win, but I don’t think it’s gonna get snatched out from under us this time, like last year,” Mangum added. “I think last year, we were the four-seed and Perryville won, and got in past us.”
The scoring began for Colonel on the ver y first drive, a five-play, 37yard foray set up by Jabraih Luke’s 38-yard return of the game’s opening kickoff, and capped when
Robby Thompson dashed in from 8 yards out. Thompson took the two-point conversion in himself to make it 8-0 just 2 minutes, 20 seconds into play.
Washington went threeand-out on its next possession — something it did five times on the night, along with three turnovers on downs — and Colonel struck again on its second chance. This time, senior quarterback Jake Zebron capped an eight-play, 53yard drive with a dive from a yard out. Mason Lambert’s two-point run made it 16-0. It was 22-0 after one quarter, TyMir Foster running in the third Colonel score, this time from 6 yards away.
Defensively, Colonel was stout all night.
“I don’t know what it is with Colonel,” said Washington head coach Greg Lasinski, his team’s dim playoff hopes extinguished with Friday’s defeat, “but they just seem to have our number. They stopped us all night. And last year, when they beat us, we only scored six points on them, and again this year, we only scored six points on them.
At halftime, while the team’s offense had racked up 307 total yards, all on the ground, Colonel’s defense had stymied the Jaguar attack, allowing 22 yards rushing on 12 carries, and a lone pass completion, for a loss of two yards, in the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Eric Ballard, kept off-balance by the Colonel defense, had other troubles as well. Of the two players ejected in the previous week’s loss at Snow Hill, one was the Jaguars’ starting center.
Running the A-11 offense, which calls for a lot of shotgun snaps and non-standard formations when Ballard’s team has the ball, being forced to use a freshman backup, Xavier King, led to trouble with the snap.
“You could tell that Colonel did a great job at attacking us on the line,” Lasinski said, “But also, with us not having our starting center, Eric had a loft of snaps go wide, or high, and it costs you time when you have that happen. He [King[ did his best, but you could tell the experience wasn’t there.”
“The offense is going a great job,” Mangum said. “Robby’s having a lot of great carries, the line’s doing well on assignments. TyMir is running the ball well, and Jordan Gabriel at fullback, he’s a load coming up the middle . ... Teams have to guard against him between the tackles, and that opens up stuff for us on the outside.
“Our defense has allowed, what, 20 points in the last five games?” Mangum added. “I told them after losing to Cambridge that we had to win five straight. And they did just that.”
Colonel got two more scores in the second quarter, a 51-yard run by Thompson (nine carries, 145 yards), and a 1-yarder by Foster to make it 36-0 at the break, setting up a non-stop, second-half clock.
Thompson, with a 39-yard scoring dash in the third quarter, gave his team some insurance against Washington potentially stopping the slaughter clock.
It came in handy when the visitors made their only major mistake, with about 5 minutes to play. A bad toss in Washington territory fell to the ground, and it was scooped up by Washington and ran back to the Colonel 25.
Freshman backup quarterback Mike James hit wideout Nathaniel Lowe for a 27yard score a moment later, ending the guests’ shutout bid. But, the two-point conversion failed, so the score, a 37-point margin, kept the clock running through the final possession, which Colonel took into the Jaguar red zone as time expired.
Currently in the No. 2 spot in the Class 1A East Region behind untouchable topseed Havre de Grace, Colonel, at 45 playoff points, will finish with no fewer than 46.
Bohemia Manor, at 39 or 40, depending on whether Delaware County (Pa.) Christian, whom it defeated Friday, is classified as a 1A or 2A by Maryland, is neckand-neck with Cambridge-South Dorchester (39). Perryville, which hosts Bohemia Manor Friday, has 43.
Colonel Richardson fullback Jordan Gabriel (44) takes a handoff up the middle from quarterback Jake Zebron during the second quarter of Friday’s game in Princess Anne.
TyMir Foster (7) runs through the Washington defense Friday night in Princess Anne. Colonel racked up 365 yards on the ground in a 43-6 win.