When Fork Union put together 13 unanswered points in just a few minutes, Woodberry Forest coach Clint Alexander went up to his senior quarterback and asked him for a favor — a scoring drive to quell the momentum. Lindell Stone and running back Jameel Wilson gave him that. And that Alexander’s defense gave him something extra. And Stone responded in tern with receiver Terrell Jana. It was a 14-point storm in the matter of just a few seconds, but that paired with a furious third quarter was more than enough as the Tigers put a bow on their fourth straight Prep League championship by virtue of their 56-27 road victory over the Blue Devils.
“(Fork Union) played really well but we rallied when things got tough,” Alexander said. “I was glad to see our guys step up like that. When we score like that, it’s hard to match up. I told Lindell after they scored that second touchdown that we needed a ‘legacy’ drive. I did not know we’d get two like that. Then we got the ball to start the third and that made things tough on FUMA.”
Fork Union was down 15-0 but thanks to a 27-yard TD pass from Luke Wilson to Logan Justice and an ensuing recovered onside kick, the Blue Devils sideline and stands burst to life.
“We knew this was going to be tough, we told (our players),” said Fork Union coach Mike Hooper. “We told them the whole time that we had to work hard and have fun. We did.”
Running back Iosefa Pua’auli broke off a big run to set up first and goal for FUMA and moments later Dontae Thornton’s 3-yard carry made it a 15-13 game with 3:42 until the break.
Stone and Wilson responded with a methodical drive with Stone getting the job done on the ground in addition to spreading the ball around the field to his receivers. The more than three minute drive was capped by a 1-yard run from Wilson with 32 seconds left in the second quarter. While that gave the Tigers a more comfortable 22-15 advantage, Lee Cozart’s interception on the next play from scrimmage put Woodberry back in the red zone with time to deliver a dagger.
“The coaches made the call and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Cozart said. “I got lucky. (They) tossed it right to where I was and I’m lucky I caught it.”
Stone made it count when he found Terrell Jana for a 27-yard TD to make it a 16 point game going into the half.
“We got that first score and then the other so we knew were in good shape,” Jana said. “Lindell just rolled out on that play and as he always seems to, he found me waiting. I took a little bit of a hit but it’s all good.”
Out of the break, Stone connected on an 18-yard touchdown throw to Kyle Bilodeau. However, Fork Union answered with a 73-yard touchdown run from Pua’auli to keep things still a two possession game. With a 48-yard touchdown pass from Stone to Bilodeau in response, the Tigers created some separation and an 11-yard TD reception from Lindell Stone (his fifth of the game) to brother Parker Stone made it a 48-20 game late in the third, putting the game out of reach. Wilson and Pau’uali traded rushing touchdowns from there to wrap up the scoring. Both finished with three rushing touchdowns on the day. For Woodberry, the focus on the run allowed the Tigers line and Wilson feature a more physical look up front as they head into a big, big week.
“The offensive line worked their butts off and it was tough out there,” Wilson said. “I love watching this team pass, I get to see it every week and it’s just amazing, but to be able to help the line make an impact in the running game was a lot of fun. It was great.”
Fork Union finishes the year with a 2-8 record in Hooper’s first year with the team, one that saw the Blue Devils improve vastly from week one even if it didn’t necessarily show in the final scores.
“We had great leadership and the funny part was that it came from linemen and usually that comes from the skill guys,” Hooper said. “It was great to watch everyone progress. We lose seven seniors and now we just have to make sure we put what we have coming back in the right position to continue to develop, progress.”
Woodberry moves to 8-1 and faces Episcopal next Saturday at home in “The Game” which leaves little room to celebrate this most recent Prep League championship.
“From a coaching perspective you’re scared to death about this FUMA game because they’re already building a stadium around us in practice all week,” Alexander said. “Everyone is talking about this Episcopal game. Now we’re neck deep in the shark tank. We’ll get to enjoy this win until dinner. As a coaching staff we’ve already been working, and you have to for that game, it’s just too big. But these guys, they’ve won four Prep League titles and nine of the last ten. That’s huge and I’m so proud of them.