Charlottesville football falls to top-seeded Woodgrove

Top-seeded Woodgrove lived up to its billing. After a first-round bye in 4A West, the undefeated Wolverines showed no rust as they racked up 366 yards of offense in the first half, controlled clock with a pair of long first-quarter drives, and tossed in a couple of perfectly-executed onside kicks to build a 35-point lead.
“Normally we defer, but we wanted the ball,” said Woodgrove coach Mike Skinner. “They’re so good on offense; you’ve got to keep them on the sideline. We decided we were going to try to take some chances with some onside kicks, because the less snaps they get, the better.”
With a running clock in the second half, Woodgrove (11-0) advanced to the 4A State Quarterfinal round with a 57-8 triumph over Charlottesville (7-5).
“We got beat by the better team,” said Charlottesville coach Eric Sherry. “I think we were out-coached and out-played. We had some distractions this week that I think we’ve got to mature from. On this bus ride home, we’ve got to reconcile that we have had a lot success and we’ve got to build on it.”
After the two-and-a-half-hour trip to Purcellville, the Black Knights showed flashes of what helped the squad tally seven wins in its best season in decades. Many of the ball carriers will be back in 2017 including sophomore Sabias Folley, who led the team with 98 yards on 16 carries. Junior Rakeem Davis rushed three times but broke two for big gains and finished with 88 yards.
“I think we’ve bought into running the triple option,” Sherry said. “I think we’ve got to do some more things in the weight room. We’ve got to get a little bit stronger and faster.”
The Wolverines set the tone with a 10-play, 61-yard drive to start the game, mixing runs by senior tailback Chima Kpaduwa and senior quarterback Mike Kovich, who also found top target Mason Gryniuk twice through the air. Kpaduwa scored from 18 yards on a sweep around the left edge.
Folley rumbled for 28 yards on Charlottesville’s first offensive play, prompting Skinner to call timeout. The Black Knights would not pick up another first down until a couple minutes into the second quarter. After a punt, Woodgrove mounted a 14-play, 66-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard Kovich keeper.
“I wasn’t sure we would get 14-play drives, but it worked out well,” Skinner said. “Had they gotten a stop, it would’ve been a different game.”
Then came the first onside kick of the half, which the Wolverines recovered at the CHS 43. Two plays later, Kovich broke loose and took it all the way to open a 22-0 lead at the end of the first. After a three-and-out, Woodgrove needed just two more plays to score again. Kovich hit Gryniuk who pivoted at the sideline to shed a Black Knight defender for a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
“We run the zone-option and Kovich runs the ball, so you’ve got to pack the box,” said Skinner. “You’ve got to account for him and single up Mason (Gryniuk). Mason’s been pretty good this year and (Kovich) gets him the ball. And (Gryniuk) played well on defense – he actually tackled the big kid (Folley) in the open field, and I didn’t think that was happening.”
Charlottesville stopped the bleeding momentarily with a 93-yard drive. Davis picked up 54 to advance into Wolverine territory for the first time. Four plays later, junior quarterback Sam Neale connected with junior Tre Durrett for a 15-yard touchdown. Folley carried for the two-point conversion to make it 29-8 midway through the second.
Woodgrove answered immediately as Kpaduwa went 64 yards for six on the next offensive play. Charlottesville’s ensuing series ended on downs at the Wolverine 41. That setup a seven-play scoring drive capped by Gryniuk’s second touchdown reception, this one covering 27 yards. Up 43-8, Woodgrove threatened again after a roughing-the-holder penalty on the PAT invited a second onside kick, which they recovered at the Black Knights’ 24. Neale foiled the scoring bid with an interception at the 5 yard line with 14 seconds remaining in the half.
After Charlottesville fumbled the first snap to open the third quarter, Kpaduwa scored three plays later with a 7-yard run for his third touchdown. Senior running back Michael Stephens capped the night’s scoring with a 2-yard touchdown with 3:20 remaining after an 18-play series for Woodgrove.
Kpaduwa finished with 20 carries for 195 yards, both game-highs. Kovich also cracked the century mark with 101 yards on 13 first-half rushes. He also completed seven of 10 pass attempts for 108 yards. Gryniuk caught five for 101.
After Folley and Davis, Durrett and senior Lorenzo Louderback each carried six times for Charlottesville for 12 and 41 yards, respectively.