Surry County's fine season is set adrift
Colonial Beach uses defense to oust the Cougars in the regional Division 1 title game.
By MARTY O'BRIEN 247-4963
November 25, 2007
— A Region A Division 1 championship game many expected to be an offensive shootout Saturday became a physical defensive battle. Colonial Beach High made the stops when it counted most to defeat Surry County 21-12.
The Drifters (10-2) play at Buffalo Gap on Saturday in a Division 1 state semifinal. The Cougars (10-2) fell short of a second state semifinal appearance in three seasons after the Drifters' defense denied them twice late in the fourth quarter.
The first crucial stop came on a two-point conversion attempt after the Cougars' Geoffrey Warren ran 21 yards for a touchdown to cut the Drifters' lead to 13-12 with 8:45 to play. Warren (18 carries, 100 yards) got the call again on the two-point try, but Drifters lineman Zach Peltola tackled him in the backfield.
"That's one of the best tackles I've made in my life," said Peltola, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior. "(Lineman) Steven Taylor and I decided to crash the center.
"The center blocked Steven and I got through wide open."
The Cougars got the ball back once more, at their 30, while still down by a point. Linebacker Chad Inscoe ended the series by intercepting quarterback Montel White at the 43.
Four plays later, Drifters [Single-Wing] quarterback Brent Steffey ran 8 yards for a touchdown. Terry Bushrod's two-point conversion pass to Tristan Carey on the halfback option clinched the Drifters' first Region A title with 1:16 to play.
The combined 33 points by the two teams were far fewer than expected. The Drifters entered averaging 44.5 points per contest, while the Cougars were averaging 32.2.
A shootout appeared possible when the Drifters marched 56 yards following the opening kickoff to go up 7-0 on Steffey's 8-yard run and Carey's PAT. The Cougars retaliated with a 93-yard drive capped by Warren's 6-yard TD run, but trailed 7-6 because Inscoe stopped Warren on the two-point attempt.
Bushrod (16 carries, 105 yards) made it 13-6 with a 7-yard TD run in the second quarter. The defenses took over from there.
Cougars tackle Dennis Holmes forced a fumble and teammate Craig Evans recovered at the Drifters' 17. But Carey intercepted a White pass to deny the Cougars a chance to tie or go ahead before halftime.
Surry's Craig Minerve set the tone early in the second half by leveling Steffey with a huge hit. Minerve had one of the four fumble recoveries the hard-hitting Cougars made in the second half.
"That's, by far, the hardest-hitting team we've played this year," said Steffey, who carried 16 times for 77 yards.
The Cougars forced a fumble at the Drifters' 14 early in the fourth quarter, but failed to cash in when they fumbled it back a play later. Trenton Porter set up Warren's second TD run by returning a fumble recovery 19 yards to the Drifters' 21.
But Peltola's stop of Warren on the two-point attempt gave Colonial Beach — the region's smallest school — the momentum that propelled it into the state playoffs.
"We really wanted to go to the state playoffs," Porter said. "We made enough defensive plays to get some opportunities, but we didn't take advantage."
Surry coach Ervin Jones told his players, "Men win and men lose, but you can go home with your heads up because you gave your best effort.
"All good things come to an end, but you can look forward to even better things in life because of the effort you showed."
COLONIAL BEACH 21, SURRY COUNTY 12
Colonial Beach 7608 — 21
Surry County 6006 — 12
CB — Steffey 8 run (Carey kick)
SC — Warren 6 run (run failed)
CB — Bushrod 7 run (kick blocked)
SC — Warren 21 run (run failed)
CB — Steffey 8 run (Carey pass from Bushrod)
First downs 19 9
Rushes-yards 62-328 23-93
Passing yards 6 76
Comp-Att-Int 1-4-1 8-22-2
Penalties-yards 2-21 5-36
Fumbles-lost 5-5 1-1
Punts-avg 0-0 4-32.5
Newport News, Va., Daily Press