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The curse of James Monroe continues

On Friday evening, at Maury Stadium, in Fredericksburg, in spite of injuries to three quarterbacks, defending Division I, Region III champion James Monroe (2-0, 5-0) handed district nemesis King George its 11th consecutive loss since 2001. Call it a Yellow Jacket curse or just plain ole bad luck, James Monroe trailed the Foxes (1-1, 4-1) by six points with just 3:13 left in the game. 

As fate would have it, when it seemed their 11-year dominance over the Foxes had come an end, the Yellow Jackets found a way to win, simply by patiently fighting a war of attrition. 

Coming into the game, the Foxes were tied with the Yellow Jackets for first place in the Battlefield District; however, the district has a strange way of realigning itself. In light of Caroline (2-0, 3-2) defeating Eastern View (0-2, 2-3) 37-21, the Cavaliers are now in second place, with the Foxes holding on to third. Provided the Foxes are triumphant over visiting fifth place Spotsylvania (1-1, 2-3) on Friday in the Foxes Den, the Foxes will once again be on the heels of the Yellow Jackets for a potential run at the district title. Stay tuned, the web of scenarios could become tangled beyond expectations.

The game

In front of a crowded, rain-soaked James Monroe stadium, the Foxes executed their first drive from scrimmage to near perfection. After marching 81 yards in five plays, Corey Henderson scramble 15 yards to the five-yard line, only to fumble the ball into the end zone to the awaiting hands of teammate, Jacob Baker. 

On James Monroe’s first possession, Henderson picked off a pass from Jay Scroggings. The Foxes capitalized on the Yellow Jacket turnover with 54-yard scoring drive, that ended with a Henderson one-yard touchdown lunge—giving the Foxes a 13-0 lead.

Senior Yellow Jacket standout, Tony Scott changed the character of the game when he intercepted a pass from Henderson, with 1:55 left in the first quarter. However, at the start of the second quarter, Scott’s teammate, Eric Nelson coughed up the ball on the Foxes two-yard line.

On the next two Fox possessions they failed to dig themselves out of poor field position. After setting up on the Foxes 21-yard line, it took the Yellow Jackets four plays before Scott scored from eight yards out, to cut the Fox lead to 13-7.

After a scoreless third quarter that was filled with the discomfort of pouring rain, and a litany of team miscues, the fourth quarter gave the Yellow Jacket fans something to smile about.

With 3:13 left to play and the Foxes holding precariously on to a six-point lead, the Yellow Jackets elected to punt on fourth down. To the chagrin of the Foxes, they were called for a block in the back penalty, giving the Yellow Jackets new life.

On the fourth play of the ensuing drive, Sean Bates ran up the middle of the Foxes defense for a 31-yard touchdown.

Trailing by one point (14-13), the Foxes fielded the kickoff on their two-yard line. With 1:18 left in the game, Scott intercepted a Henderson pass for a 30-yard touchdown, and final score of the game.

 

Leonard Banks

Sports editor

 

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