Sammy Fort will never be described as low on energy but he took his intensity to a different level Saturday afternoon on senior day in a 48-20 victory over Norfolk Christian.
“I was fired up — it was senior day and my family couldn’t be with me so before the game I wrote my mom, my dad and my brother’s names on my cleats and I just played for them,” Fort said.
Fort’s performance — he scored three times and picked off a pass — surely made his family proud and his energy gave a Blue Ridge team in desperate need of a spark all the spark it needed.
“Seeing him play with such emotion it just adds on to everybody — you just see it in people’s eyes,” said Blue Ridge quarterback Xavier Kane.
The win was crucial for the Barons, keeping them in the hunt for a playoff spot in VISAA’s Division II while also providing the kind of complete team effort that shows how much progress they’ve made.
“We definitely put two halves together,” Kane said. “Last week we definitely started out slow on offense. Today we came out we were ready to play on both sides of the ball.”
Kane provided some spark of his own with a brutal form tackle on an early Norfolk Christian drive where he lifted the running back in the air and stuffed him for no gain. The senior then turned to offense where in the second half he unleashed two bombs to Michael Asher, one for 66 yards and a touchdown that gave the Barons the lead for good and another that helped seal the win in the fourth quarter.
It was a welcome change as the connection between the deep ball wideout and Kane had floundered a bit of late. Asher took ownership of the struggles and rectified it in a big way against the Ambassadors.
“I think a lot of it was on me — I was just doing way to much thinking and not enough playing,” Asher said. “I just told myself today, I’m not going to think, I’m just going to do my thing. X is a great quarterback and we just did our thing together.”
After Asher’s score and a 27-yard touchdown run by Kane, Blue Ridge’s defense took over and closed the door on Norfolk Christian. First Jack Charboneau forced a fumble that Andy Nwaoko recovered and scored. Well, eventually he recovered the ball and scored.
“I saw the ball and I couldn’t get it so I just kicked it forward,” Nwaoko said. “I’ve been dreaming about that. To get that touchdown is a dream come true.”
Nwaoko pulled away from the pack after his kick, snatched up the ball and scored.
The Barons’ smothered Norfolk Christian again on the next possession, with Kane forcing a fumble and Icesys Lewis scooping and scoring. Throw in a blocked punt by Cameron Kewley in the first half that set up a Fort touchdown and almost all the big plays went the Barons’ way. That was a welcome change too as Blue Ridge has been on the wrong side of those plays in losses to Nansemond Suffolk Academy and North Cross, two other teams fighting for a spot in the Division II playoffs.
Kane finished 7-for-9 for 149 yards while Fort had 105 total yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries and a catch. Asher finished with 116 yards on four catches.
Blue Ridge travels to take on Randolph Macon Academy next Saturday.