CFNN Reporter Kamari Faison
Rain, Rain, go away; theJV Colts are here to stay. On Thursday, our JV Colts played their final game of the 2021 season in a cold, sometimes sideways raining contest against Gray’s Creek. There was a bit of history involved in this one, as the Bears came to Colt Country seeking revenge for a 48-0 drubbing from the Colts in week 2 of this weird season.
The game was pushed forward an hour in an attempt to dodge a rainy forecast later in the evening. Those hopes were dashed, as It rained for 46 minutes of the 48 minute game. John Fogerty once crooned, “Yes, I wonder, still I wonder: who’ll stop the rain?’ The Colts didn’t stop the rain, they added to it. The young Colts rained points and physical defense on the Bears, capping their season off with an exclamation point and their first winning record in three seasons..
The Colts started slow, not managing a score in the first quarter. Both teams went back and forth with punts early, but Cape Fear was able to capitalize on a Gray’s Creek punt early in the second quarter. A blocked punt by Carter Hendrickson rolled out the back of the end zone and started the scoring for the Colts, who led 2-0.
“Weather didn’t affect our game plan defensively,” said Head Coach Derrick Johnson. “We just made sure the guys understood that their footing would be important in the rain. I feel like we did a great job playing in those conditions.”
The ensuing kick from the 20 yard line was absolutely smashed by the Bears kicker, running the Colt returners all the way back to the Cape Fear five yard line before it could be handled. This put the Colts deep in their own territory to start their next drive.
The possession was a sloppy one, partly due to the weather and partly due to a false start on the Colts. They were forced to punt from their own endzone.
A great Bear rush caused the kicker to hurry and shank one off the side of his foot, resulting in a 3 yard kick. This gave Gray’s Creek the ball at the Colt 10 yard line midway through the second frame.
With their backs in the shadow of their own goal post, the Cape Fear defense got tough. After consecutive tackles for loss, Gray’s Creek was forced to throw. This led to an interception by freshman Corner Brice McKenzie. McKenzie returned the ball 40 yards to the Bear 35, extinguishing any hope for a Bear touchdown.
“The wide receiver ran a stick route,” said McKenzie, recalling the play. “I saw the quarterback throw the ball and I went after it. It was my first time with the ball in my hands, so I was a little nervous. It felt great to help contribute to the team and win.”
The Colts offense then started to pick up, and so did the rain. The weather kept the passing game grounded, so the Colts didn’t throw the ball much. That didn’t stop anything.The run game churned up soggy earth like a rototiller. After multiple big chunk runs by Jahiem Allen and Garrett Snyder, Cape Fear was able to score, putting the Colts up 8-0 at the half.
“Offense took care of the ball in spite of the rain and made some adjustments at halftime. Coach Hall and the offensive staff did a great job executing in the second half,” said Johnson.
The rain intensified in the second half, and so did the Colt defense. Defensive tackle “Big John” McKenzie played like a man possessed. He spent so much time in the Bear backfield fans may have thought he was the quarterback. On the night, McKenzie had 7 tackles, 3 of those for loss.
Some aggressive blitzes from Defensive Coordinator/Head Coach Derrick Johnson got the linebackers heavily involved in the game. This led to multiple sacks and tackles for loss from the feisty young unit, as well as two forced fumbles that halted Bear drives in the second half.
“Blitzing is always a part of our game plan,” said Johnson after the game. “If we [coaches] have an aggressive mindset, the kids are going to play aggressive. With all the stunts and blitzes we have installed, it’s tough for teams to adjust. It helps to have kids who make big plays when their number is called.”
The offense took full advantage of the turnovers, sloshing their way to two more touchdowns on the ground from Jaheim Allen, sealing things up with a gorgeously ugly 22-0 win. The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage in the second half, opening gaping holes for Allen and backfield mate Snyder.
“Overall pleased with things. They played hard on both sides,” said Johnson. “Defensive unit had 3 turnovers and had their 4th shutout of the season. We finished the season with 3 wins in a row. Great momentum going into the offseason for both those guys moving up to varsity and the ones returning to JV.”
It was cold. It was wet, but the boys didn’t care. They had one goal in mind. Finish the season with a winning record. And they did. Go Colts.