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By Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Trailing the Sherando Warriors by 14 points with 3:30 on the game clock, the James Wood Colonels put together an eight-play drive, capped by Jake Lewin's 25-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Reece II to draw within a touchdown with 1:22 remaining Friday night.
Trying valiantly to extend the Colonels' Homecoming game to overtime and a possible positive outcome, Mark Bean recovered Chandler DeHaven's perfectly placed onside kick, and later Lewin completed a 31-yard fourth-and-5 pass to Reece for a first down on the Sherando 4 with 14.2 seconds left.
But, for the third meeting in a row between the Northwestern District rivals, James Wood (2-5, 0-2 Northwestern) had a final drive inside the Warriors' 10 yard line come up short as Lewin threw three incomplete passes and time expired, enabling the Warriors to escape with a 21-14 victory.
"[Lewin] played really well and our trip-sets worked well [on the drive] -- we practice that a lot and we executed," Colonels coach Mike Bolin said. "That's the third time that exact thing has happened to us against Sherando. You're never going to see these guys quit. We can be down 50 points and they'll battle like they're 10 games over .500. They play the game the way it's supposed to be played."
Sherando (4-2, 1-0 Northwestern) senior tailback Joe Ojo worked tirelessly to gain 151 yards and three touchdowns on 36 rushes.
"Both sides of the line worked well," Ojo said. "Whatever was called, I knew I had to execute and the offensive line was giving me a good push up front and I was just running through the holes as hard as I could.
"And those guys blocking were Hunter VanMeter, Joe Kluckowski, Trevis Newman, B.J. Askew [and] George Aston."
Ojo's trips into the end zone came at 5:15 in the first quarter, 8:04 in the second quarter, and 7:58 in the third quarter, all on short gainers.
Ojo coughed up the ball on the Sherando 48, on a fourth-and-1 play, and the Colonels recovered the miscue with 6:06 remaining in the game. But the Colonels squandered the opportunity as Chris Smith intercepted Lewin's second-down pass.
Lewin spread around the passing game, finding Reece, Chad Potter (44 yards), T.J. Bruce, and Mel Savarese for key completions and the touchdown to Reece.
"The receivers did great getting open and the line did great blocking," Lewin said. "It's just unfortunate that we lost the way we did. I thought I might try to run it [on that last series], but I remembered that's what where we ran it out on fourth down, and it didn't work out so well. So, I just had déjà vu from last year."
"[Lewin] played the best game we've had here [in a long while]. He battled, played with heart, and led the team," Bolin said. "Things just aren't going our way. There's got to be some kind of message in this. Something you can take from it."
Sherando coach Bill Hall was happy with his team's performance.
"I thought we played real well," Hall said. "In the last four minutes we were up 14 and we just needed to finish right there. A lot of credit to their kids -- James Wood did a great job finishing and our guys fought off a lot of adversity in the end. We've just got to work on finishing off the game better."