FREDERICKSBURG – The Caroline High School football team exhibited the old and new against the James Monroe Yellow Jackets.
James Monroe ran though the Caroline defense en route to racking up 391 yards rushing, and its defense gave Cavalier quarterback Curtis Leacock fits. The Yellow Jackets dominated with a 59-14 win over the visiting Cavaliers on Friday night last week.
The Yellow Jackets scored 52 of their points in the first half. In the second half, the Cavaliers held them to one touchdown while scoring a couple of their own.
“The first half was the old Caroline, the way we played last year,” said senior Cavalier receiver Bevontae Morris. ”The second half was the Caroline to be expected now.”
Sean Bates carried the football 18 times for James Monroe, which improved to 3-0 in the Battlefield District and 6-0 overall, and gained 268 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. Quarterback Jay Scroggins threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score
For Caroline, 2-1 and 3-3, Morris caught a touchdown pass, and Keonta Hamilton ran for the team’s other score.
The JM defense was effective against both Caroline’s running game and passing game. Leacock spent a lot of time running from JM’s pass rush and did not complete a pass until late in second quarter; he completed only five of 24 attempted passes for the night and was intercepted three times. Caroline’s running game was stymied.
The Yellow Jackets ran however they chose in the second quarter, racking up 42 points. They scored six times in a span of about six minutes, capitalizing on Caroline miscues. The onslaught began when Jarmal Bevels returned a punt for a touchdown to make it 17-0 at 11:37; it ended when James McFadden picked up a Cavalier fumble and ran 30 yards for a touchdown for a 52-0 lead.
Caroline came alive in the second half, scoring its two touchdowns and holding JM to one. The Cavaliers recovered a Yellow Jacket fumble on the JM 45-yard line, and Leacock combined with Morris on a 43-yard pass; Hamilton rushed for a touchdown with 10:07 left in the third quarter. After Scroggins got a touchdown on a 22-yard keeper with 59 seconds left, Leacock threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Morris to pull the Cavaliers within 59-14.
The Cavaliers were down but not out.
“We didn’t execute,” said Leacock. “If we had played like we are capable, this would have been a whole different game. We’re going to work, and we will be back.”
First-year coach Jeremiah Ross praised the Yellow Jackets and took the defeat in stride. “I have to hand it to James Monroe,” said Ross. “They have a excellent program here. But we are not going to let one half of football determine who we are.”
This week, the Cavaliers will host the Courtland Cougars on Friday night. Courtland, with an identical record as Caroline (2-1, 3-3), is coming off a 43-0 victory over Culpeper.
“We are preparing for a team that is not to be overlooked,” said Ross. “And we are looking at this game as if we want to go 1-0, just like we do every week.”