By Dennis Atwood - email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect, but the only thunder and lightning on the field at Gordon Bowman Stadium was from the Bishop O'Connell football squad. The Knights needed only the first half to thrash host Massanutten Military Academy, 49-6, in non-conference action Saturday afternoon.
The forecasted heavy rain arrived just after halftime started, bringing a nature-imposed mercy ending to the game for the Colonels (1-1) as game officials called it a final, based on a forecast for a strong storm system continuing for a couple of more hours.
The Knights (2-0) lit up the scoreboard early, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions.
Junior running back Kamrin Moore (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) crossed the goal line on three of those initial five possessions, on rushes of 34, 15, and 32 yards, breaking several Colonels' tackle attempts in powering out those gains.
Moore had 93 yards on six carries in the shortened outing.
"I feel good, but there's still room for improvement," Moore said. "Always, I thank the line for getting the push so I can run the ball well.
"Last year wasn't really what I expected to be. So I did summer work on strength, conditioning, and running -- just putting in extra work for this season."
The Colonels experienced punting woes as a kick of only three yards gave the Knights possession on the Massanutten 33-yard line.
Five plays later, the Knights scored as senior quarterback Leighton Dassau completed a nine-yard pass to senior tight end Christian Bean in the end zone with 5:01 left in the first quarter.
The next punt was from the Colonels' 15-yard line and traveled 17 yards to the 32. On the Knights' first play, Moore ran to the end zone, breaking several Colonels' tackle attempts on the way.
Bishop O'Connell scored its fifth touchdown of the first quarter, on sophomore running back Anton Woody's 13-yard scamper, on the first play from scrimmage after a punt return.
Massanutten's lone score came on junior wide receiver Christian Johnston's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with two seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Johnston ran the return straight up the middle, and broke free of the last two Knights defenders at the Bishop O'Connell 40-yard line.
The Knights added two more touchdowns in the second quarter as substitute quarterback Jason Ley connected on a 28-yard completion to tight end Kevin Wood, with 9:08 remaining, and the last TD came on a nine-yard keeper by Ley with one minute remaining in the half.
Bishop O'Connell put the clamps on the Colonels' passing attack as MMA quarterback Kenya Ray-Abrams was 8 of 21 for 35 yards.
The weather then brought the only effective defense of the day against the Knights' onslaught.
Despite the Knights' overwhelming success, head coach Sam Smith saw areas needing improvement.
"We had a lot of penalties early and that was the case last week [27-17 win over Bishop Ireton] as well," Smith said. "When we get into our league games and start like that, we'll find ourselves down 21-0. So we've really got to clean that up.
"In the secondary, especially, we need to get our eyes in the backfield. [Massanutten] had some receivers get behind us, although they didn't make the throws."
Massanutten head coach Chris Gilliland took responsibility for the Colonels' inadequate game preparation.
"We definitely had a tough start to the game," Gilliland said. "I thought we had prepared the way we should have, but when the shots start flying, it's kinda tough to really know exactly how game speed is gonna be. And our kids find that out pretty quick.
"We've gotta do a better job as coaches to prepare them, and I'll take responsibility for that, during the week. We had some kids who stepped up. We've gotta get better."