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Defense propels Colonels to victory

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By Robert Edmonds - sports@nvdaily.com

WARRENTON -- An opportunistic James Wood team rolled into Falcon Field and came away with a convincing 38-23 victory over Fauquier on Friday night.

After turning over the opening kickoff on a fumble, the Colonels found themselves behind quickly. The high-powered Falcons offense wasted little time in striking first. Led by junior Colin Diehl, Fauquier moved the ball quickly and scored a touchdown just two minutes into the game when Diehl found Sean Onstad on a 14-yard pass.

Going three and out quickly on their first offensive series, it appeared James Wood would be in for a long night when Fauquier took over possession. After moving the ball briefly, the Falcons found themselves in a fourth down situation. Opting to go for the conversion, the Falcons fumbled the ball and the Colonels' A.J. Eubank recovered at the 42-yard line.

On the first offensive play after the turnover, Colonels quarterback Jake Lewin sent a deep pass to T.J. Bruce for a 42-yard score to even the game, 7-7.

"I thought we had an advantage in their secondary," Lewin said. "With two receivers over six-foot tall and them missing a safety, we felt that it could appear we could test them since they were missing a safety in the secondary."

Later in the first quarter, after giving up a field goal to the Falcons, the Colonels began their next offensive possession at their own 10-yard line. Lewin rolled out for a bootleg pass only to find that his best target, Mel Savarese, was blanketed by the Falcons defense. Hoping to create something, Lewin took off with the ball toward the right sideline.

A block from Savarese sprung Lewin into the clear, resulting in a 90-yard score for the Colonels. Adding three points on a field goal before the first quarter ended, the Colonels took a 17-10 lead into the second. Once again, the Falcons began to move the ball mixing runs and passes, with Diehl leading the way. Unfortunately for Fauquier, the quarterback soon made his first mistake.

Facing swarming pressure from the Colonels defensive line, Diehl stepped up in the pocket looking to escape. Just as Diehl began to run, the Colonels defense nearly recorded a sack from behind. Looking to make a play, Diehl sent a toss that was picked off by Tanner Rutherford and returned 73 yards for a score.

After halftime, the Falcons appeared primed and poised to play themselves back into the game. Quickly scoring a touchdown to trim the Colonels lead, the Falcons came up with a fumble recovery at their own 5 to get back in business.

Standing in the end zone, looking to find a receiver, Diehl quickly faced pressure once again. The quarterback sent a floater into the air that was picked off by Eric Bearer, who stumbled into the end zone, recording the Colonels second defensive score of the evening and widening the gap to 31-17.

"I thought RJ [Miller] was going to get a sack and the next thing I know the ball was coming at me," Eric Bearer said. "We played great thanks in part to our defense. We had a great week of practice and got some good looks from our scout team and we were ready to play.

"We had the best defensive game tonight that I have seen since I came her eight years ago," James Wood coach Mike Bolin said. "We had a lot of players step up and going both ways and they did their job."

Both teams would add a score in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons could not manage to draw any closer as they found themselves victim of a loss for the second straight week.

"We had the mental error to start the game," Bolin said. "But from then on we battled the whole game, and the key was we created and made plays. When this team goes out and makes plays and plays like we are capable, I believe we can battle with anyone in our district."

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