Saturday, October 27, 2012
Wildcats beat Northside in defensive bout
Rockbridge's Porter Abell scored the game's only touchdown late in the second quarter.
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Friday night's Blue Ridge District clash between Rockbridge County and Northside was billed as a battle of quarterbacks, but the postgame analysis focused on strong defense instead.
Rockbridge County prevailed 7-3, as both squads remain in contention for at least a portion of the regular season district championship.
The visiting Wildcats (7-2, 3-1) scored the game's only touchdown on a 44-yard weaving jaunt by senior QB Porter Abell late in the second quarter, and then stopped a potential game-winning Northside drive at the end of the game to preserve the victory. The Vikings are 5-4, 3-1.
Rockbridge County and Northside are tied for the district lead with Lord Botetourt (6-3, 3-1), who edged Alleghany County in double overtime Friday, 38-32. All three schools have one district loss. Northside plays Lord Botetourt on Friday, so the winner of that game emerges with at least a share of the title. Rockbridge can tie with a win over William Byrd.
"Holding an opponent like Northside to three points," Rockbridge County coach Jason White mused. "Wow! The kids believed we could win. We were so banged up defensively we had to keep No. 8 [Northside quarterback Dom Dunnaville] in the pocket and let him throw it."
That mission was only partially successful, but Rockbridge held the line when it had to.
Dunnaville accounted for nearly all of the Vikings' offense, throwing for 118 yards and running for 78 (including runs of 20, 19 and 17 yards), but he completed just 6 of 21 passes (28.6 percent). In his first eight games this season, Dunnaville had completed nearly half of his passing attempts.
Abell, who has committed to the University of Richmond, has been a dual threat all season long, rushing for about 150 yards a game and throwing for nearly 100. He was just 1-of-8 throwing against the Vikings, the lone completion coming via a 22-yard pass play to Colton Wilson.
Abell picked up 73 yards on the ground (on 25 carries), but his scoring scamper was his team's highlight. "We'd been getting a couple of yards each play up that point," Abell said, "but our offensive line annihilated them on that play."
Abell's 44-yard run was almost one-third of Rockbridge County's total offense (135 yards) for the night.
Trailing 7-0 at the half, Northside put together a sustained drive that lasted more than nine minutes to start the third quarter.
A penalty on the second-half kickoff gave the Vikings the ball on their 4-yard-line. Dunnaville led his team for 19 plays and five first downs on a drive that moved the ball 86 yards until stalling at the Wildcats' 10. Trey Noell made the score 7-3 with a 27-yard field goal.
Rockbridge turned the ball over on downs with 3:21 left in the game. The Vikings had used all their timeouts defensively and got the ball on their own 22-yard-line.
Three Dunnaville completions and two Rockbridge pass interference penalties advanced the ball to the Rockbridge 12 before a Northside penalty, a Wildcat sack and three incompletions ended the game.
"This was a slugfest," said Northside coach Burt Torrence, a college teammate and fraternity brother of White at Emory & Henry in the mid-1990s. "They have a solid team. They had a good game plan against us."
Rockbridge County 0 7 0 0-7
Northside 0 0 3 0-3
RC - Abell 44 run (Bent kick)
N - FG Noell 27
First downs 8 14
Yards rushing 39-113 38-133
Passes C-A-I 1-8-0 6-21-0
Yards passing 22 118
Penalties-yards 3-32 6-34
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-average 4-43.8 2-31.0
RUSHING - Rockbridge County, Abell 25-73, White 6-20, Pooley 5-14, Wilson 3-6; Northside, Dunnaville 16-78, Hill 7-17, Kelso 5-14, Fisher 4-11, Hairston 2-9, E. Johnson 4-4.
PASSING - Rockbridge County, Abell 1-8-0, 22; Northside, Dunnaville 6-21-0, 118.
RECEIVING - Rockbridge County, Wilson 1-22; Northside, Buckner 2-45, Fisher 1-40, Hill 2-18, Waddey 1-15.