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Smithfield Packers and KG Foxes collide in playoffs

When the dust settled, a potential state Group AA champion stood on the doorsteps of history.
On Saturday, a huge contingent of Fox fans drove three hours to a school located off the beaten path, and nestled alongside a cotton field. Sadly, they witnessed their favorite sons lose 21-14 in the Group AA, Region I Football semi-finals.
While the disappointment of losing 11-1 to the number one team in the Bay Rivers District - the Smithfield Packers, Fox fans should find comfort that after trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Foxes (8-3) rallied to tie the game, 14-14 in the second half. However, with less than three minutes remaining in the game, the host Packers delivered the final blow with a seven-yard touchdown.
In the face of adversity, while courageously accepting defeat, the Foxes walked off the field with their heads held high, and their pride intact. “This whole year has been wonderful,” Fox head coach Jeff Smith said. “The kids have worked hard day in and day out, while many thought we didn’t have a chance this season. As for the game, the kids nearly turned the corner, but came up a little short.”
As for Smithfield, when the momentum seemed to favor the Foxes, they forged ahead and delivered when it counted. “Towards the end of the game, we had opportunities, and the kids never quit, and I tip my hat to Smithfield,” Smith said.
The Packers, coached by first year coach Clark Harrell, will host Courtland (8-3) at 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 24. After two mediocre seasons in a row under former coach, Tyris Hill, Harrell revived the Packers into a Bay Rivers powerhouse. Interestingly, earlier in season, the Packers’ only loss came from a 20-7 battle with Grafton. On Nov. 9, the Foxes defeated the Clippers 34-28, in the first round of the Regional playoffs.

Game
The first quarter ended in a defensive stalemate, with the Foxes shutting down the Packers’ no-huddle offense, and their gridiron nemesis returning the favor by holding King George to minimal offensive yardage.
However, the momentum took a sudden shift at the start of the second quarter, when Kyron Croker bolted in from three yards out. Later in the second quarter, Croker continued to haunt the Foxes, as he recovered a fumble on the King George 25-yard line. The Packers capitalized on the turnover, with a Marquis Childress 31-yard touchdown.
Backup Fox quarterback, Xavier James reenergized the Foxes in the second half, leading his team to two successful scoring drives. With 6:03 left in the third quarter, Deshon Brown culminated a 69-yard scoring with a five-yard touchdown over the right side of the Packer defense.
In the fourth quarter, James gave the Foxes a lift, as he connected with Alon Clipper for a 30-yard touchdown that eventually tied the game at 14-14.
Not to be outdone, with 2:44 left in the game, the Packers responded on the ensuing possession with a Trevor Batten seven-yard touchdown. Batten’s touchdown came on the heels of a Croker 35-yard run that seemingly took the air out of the Foxes defense.
The Foxes’ final possession ended in an interception from Packer defensive back, Jarmarie Wren.

Leonard Banks
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