Falcons get Homecoming scare but prevail, 21-20
Fauquier junior defensive lineman Ryan McCray chases James Wood quarterback Camden Butler.
Sophomore Keion Lewis bolts for one of his two touchdowns.
Nathan Catchings (13) breaks up a pass intended for Nicholas Manuel.
Junior center Zach Evans (75) congratulates quarterback Louis Heisler on the Falcons’ third TD.
I was worried going into the fourth quarter, but I was really proud of our group and the way we fought back.
— Brady Burr, senior lineman
Winless James Wood refused to play the role of Homecoming patsy Friday night at Fauquier.
The Falcons pulled out a 21-20 win and improved to 3-2 going into their bye week.
But, the Colonels (0-5) surprised their hosts with a wide-open, spread offense, passing for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“When we watched them on film, it was run, run, run,” Fauquier senior lineman Brady Burr said. “So we had to adjust.
“I was worried going into the fourth quarter, but I was really proud of our group and the way we fought back.”
Falcon Coach Jamie Carter agreed.
“Don’t let that team’s record fool you,” Carter said. “They are a tough team.
“We were totally unprepared for the spread attack. It totally caught us by surprise.”
On the game’s first play from scrimmage, James Wood senior quarterback Camden Butler connected with junior wide receiver Nicholas Manuel for a 24-yard gain.
That play would set the tone for the first half, when Butler threw for 138 yards.
The Colonels drove 78 yards in 10 plays for the game’s first score. On fourth-and-goal, sophomore running back Tyler Bishop got the 1-yard TD less than four minutes into the game.
Fauquier answered early in the second quarter, when sophomore running back Keion Lewis bolted off left tackle for a 10-yard score.
Senior linebacker Louis Heisler set up the scoring opportunity when he intercepted Butler at the Colonels’ 38-yard-line.
Lewis got the TD five plays later. He would score again in the third quarter and run for 74 yards on eight carries.
“It’s amazing,” Lewis said. “I’ve never felt anything like this. It has to be one of the best nights of my life.”
His only other career touchdown came in last year’s regional playoff loss at Monticello.
“The line blocked well and Todd (Jordan) kept telling me to run hard,” Lewis said.
The Falcon’s senior workhorse, Jordan rushed for 90 yards on 18 carries.
But, Fauquier trailed, 13-7, at the intermission.
“They did get frustrated a little bit,” Carter said of his team. “But, the kids were the halftime leaders.”
Fauquier took its first lead with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
Lewis got his second TD from 6 yards out. D.J. Helkowski’s conversion gave the Falcons a one-point lead.
The six-play drive covered 68 yards, featuring Lewis, Jordan and quarterback Heisler running for most of it.
But, the Falcons lost a fumble at their own 31 on the third quarter’s final play.
On first down, Butler hit 6-foot-3 junior tight end Colin Benner for a 21-yard gain over the middle.
Two plays later, Butler connected with senior wide receiver Dakota Orndorff on a 10-yard slant for the TD and a 20-14 lead.
Fauquier answered on its next possession.
The Falcons drove 65 yards in 10 plays for the game-winning TD and crucial extra point by Helkowski.
Heisler got the touchdown on a 10-yard run off the right side.
Twice during the drive, the quarterback connected with senior wide receiver Leif Heltzel for critical receptions. The first went for 17 yards, the second for 12.
Junior defensive back Marcus Campbell intercepted Butler at Fauquier’s 37 to end the last James Wood threat with 1:23 to play.
Junior defensive back Christopher Robinson also intercepted Butler late in the first half.
“It was a fun game,” Coach Carter said.
The Falcons wore “throwback” red jerseys, with the players’ names on the backs, to honor previous teams, including the state playoff squads of the 1980s. The players get to keep those jerseys, made for Homecoming.
“It’s something they’ll always remember, when they’re playing with their kids,” Carter said.
The game produced another unusual element: Officials called James Wood for four consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties early in the second quarter. Two went against Colonels’ Head Coach Mark McHale, one against a staff member and one against a player for throwing his helmet.
The referee ejected McHale with 9:15 remaining in the first half.
After a week off, Fauquier will host Kettle Run on Oct. 11.
James Wood — Tyler Bishop, 1-yard run (8:04), William Spears kick.
Fauquier — Keion Lewis, 10-yard run (9:30), D.J. Helkowski kick.
James Wood — Nicholas Manuel, 13-yard pass from Camden Butler, 1-yard run (6:25), kick blocked.
Fauquier — Lewis, 6-yard run (6:23); Helkowski kick.
James Wood — Dakota Orndorff, 10-yard pass from Butler (10:47), Spears kick.
Fauquier — Louis Heisler, 10-yard run (6:04); Helkowski kick.
James Wood 17, Fauquier 13
James Wood 293, Fauquier 293
James Wood 23-64, Fauquier 42-217
James Wood 229, Fauquier 76
James Wood 13-26-3, Fauquier 9-12-0
James Wood 2-0, Fauquier 3-1
James Wood 8-44, Fauquier 3-35
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