Colonels keep making push for playoff spot
Running game solid in victory over the Trojans
WORTON — The Colonels are positioning themselves for a second straight postseason berth.
Colonel Richardson High’s football team disposed of fellow Class 1A school Kent County on Friday in a 24-13 final, keeping a hold on the third position in the East Region standings. The Colonels (3-3) still have a chance to vault into the second spot in the 1A East, but a third seed, and a date with No. 2 Cambridge-South Dorchester (42) is the most likely event considering recent trends.
The Colonels’ next three games: at Virginia schools Nandua and Northampton, and a home date with Washington, are against small programs that Colonel defeated by a combined 131-6 in 2017.
These are three “very winnable games”, according to Colonels head coach Dan Mangum. “I never promise wins, but they’re schools that are similar in size,” Mangum said. “We have to go out there and execute and do the things to win, but we’re looking pretty good at this point.
“This was a huge hurdle tonight,” Mangum added. “Kent County has been playing much better than what they did last season. Their defense is stout, they do some really good things offensively. They made it a tight game at one point, and our kids responded.”
Against Kent County (2-4), which lost its second straight and is fading in the 1A East playoff race, the Colonels benefited from a stout running game from Jordan Gabriel, the senior starring in his team’s double-wing offense to the tune of 129 yards on 16 carries, including touchdowns of 1 and 5 yards. Junior Mason Lambert (9 rushes, 68 yards) and senior Tyler Stanley (12-50, 15-yard TD in the first half) also ran well, part of a 225-yard ground game from Colonel.
The Colonels also converted two-pointers on their three scores — runs by Eli Stull and Stanley (twice) — accounting for the point-after touchdown scoring. Kent somehow outgained Colonel 274-234 on offense on a similar numbers of plays (45-44, Colonels) in a losing effort, and received 116 yards passing from sophomore quarterback Thomas Goldsborough.
“First thing we need to look at are the mistakes, the penalties,” Kent head coach David Boyle said. “The kids are great, respond well to everything, but the little mistakes that take place, and some of the calls were rough.”
Gabriel moved the pile for a 1-yard TD on the game’s opening drive, which started on Colonel’s 35. Stanley made it 16-0, Colonels, midway through the second quarter, taking a handoff to the right side on the 15-yard jaunt on fourth down.
“They’re mentally tough, they’re physically tough,” Mangum said. “We’re 3-3 at this point, we could easily be 4-2, we lost a tough one to Cambridge. We dress 19 players, and they understand it’s ironman football.
“Either go out, deal with it, and you play hard all night, and the chips fall where they do, or, you tuck and run,” Mangum added. “This group decided we’re going to follow last year’s group’s lead, and we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to get wins.”
Kent answered on the next possession, capping a 67-yard drive with a 3-yard Kolby Walters score, the junior fullback bulling his way through the line on first down, part of a team-leading 49-yard rushing output. The Trojans pulled closer at the 6-minute, 20-second mark of
the third, senior Corey Robinson rumbling down the road sideline on a 25-yard carry, laying a vicious stiff arm on Colonel junior Jackie Zebron along the way.
Zebron was again sent to the ground on the next play from scrimmage, Colonel’s quarterback taking a shot below the knee on a run play, and staying down for several minutes; he was eventually helped off the field by teammates.
The Colonels finished that drive and capped the scoring with a 5-yard Gabriel TD run, who gained 36 yards on the play that ended Zebron’s night.
Kent’s final drive, which started with 3:25 left to play and the team down 24-13, was at Colonel’s 9, when Goldsborough notched a yard on a fourth-down sneak. Goldsborough sparked the drive with passes of 23 yards to Robinson, 12 to freshman tight end Colin Futty and 9 to senior Tre Wright.
The passing game was humming late, giving Boyle a point to ponder these coming weeks. The offense, however, committed more than a few costly penalties that took it out of scoring chances.
Goldsborough got in some trouble on second down and goal to go.
Flushed out of the pocket and rolling right, Goldsborough threw a pass incomplete to Wright. A questionable holding penalty was called deep behind the line of scrimmage, pushing Kent to Colonel’s 44 with goal to go. Goldsborough ran for 12, passed to Futty for 7 and hit Wright for 18, leaving Kent 7 short of the TD after the turnover on downs.
“Thomas, he’s a sophomore, and we showed a ton of potential tonight,” Boyle said. “Obviously, he’s got to be a bigger part of what we’re doing, what our philosophy is.
“It’s a process, though,” Boyle added. “You can’t just throw him in there.”
Colonel backup QB, senior Lorenzo Turner, took a pair of kneeldowns to end the game.
“With 19 kids, you have to play almost perfect football,” Mangum said. “You have to eliminate the penalties, and the turnovers. I think we have eliminated the turnover bug, now the penalties, the stupid penalties are starting to creep in, and that’s something we have to fix.”