________________________________________________________________________By HARRISON HAMLET
(RIDGEWAY, Va.) – Patrick County’s football team faced the most difficult back-to-back a Piedmont District team can go up against, playing G.W.-Danville and Magna Vista seven days apart.
Despite showing plenty of signs of life in the first half, missed opportunities and big plays from the Magna Vista offense left Patrick County feeling the effects of back-to-back losses, as the Warriors cruised to a 41-0 victory over the Cougars.
“Our attitude and focus was kind of off and on,” Patrick County head coach David Morrison said. “We’re still having too much self-doubt about who we are. For two and a half quarters of football, you could see who we actually are and we gave these guys a game.”
Two crucial mistakes in the first half by the Patrick County offense left them trailing 14-0 at the break, when it could just as easily have been 14-14.
The Cougars received the opening kick and were forced to punt and watch Magna Vista drive down the field and score. However, a 50-yard completion from Will Sprowl to Dae’Shawn Penn set the Cougars up inside the Magna Vista 20 with a chance to tie the game. On first-and-goal from the five-yard-line, Jonny Crowell bounced through the Warriors’ defense and looked set to score before a fumble at the half-yard-line rolled into the end zone where Magna Vista recovered.
“That was a big one,” Magna Vista head coach Joe Favero said. “It would’ve been 7-7 and they fumbled into the end zone and we got a stop there…luckily we were physical and got the ball out.”
Patrick County was able to force a punt on the ensuing possession, and Crowell looked poised to remedy his mistake with a perfect post-route that left him wide open and streaking towards the end zone. The pass from Sprowl was overthrown, and fell harmlessly to the dirt as the first quarter clock expired.
“We let some opportunities slip through our fingertips,” Morrison said. “We fumbled in the end zone, that was a tough one to swallow, then we missed a few open pass plays and had a couple of mental breakdowns on defense.”
Magna Vista was able to tack on a score in the second quarter before opening the faucet in the second half as Patrick County’s offense was unable to produce quality opportunities to score after the previous two close calls.
“The bye week, we sat down and stepped off the gas mentally a little bit,” Favero said. “We got together at halftime, regrouped and played really well in the second half.”
Morrison credited Magna Vista’s work ethic and coaching staff for the 27-point second half, but rued the mistakes of his own team as they fell further and further behind.
“We can’t beat ourselves, and that’s what we did,” Morrison said. “That is a fantastic program, those guys work hard, play hard and are a well-coached team. We didn’t take advantage of the situation when we needed to in order to stay close.”
Of Magna Vista’s six touchdowns, only two came after sustained drives, with Morrison highlighting the ability of his defense to limit the number of plays if not the explosive ability of the Warriors’ offense.
“Absolutely pleased with what we saw on defense. That’s something we’ve been waiting for,” Morrison said. “We know what kind of defense we should’ve had all year. The effort they gave was outstanding and if we could’ve capitalized a couple of times offensively, that really would’ve helped the defense out. We gave great effort and that’s what we have to do every week.”
Although the film of the loss to Magna Vista (6-1) will be a teaching tool this week as the Cougars (3-5) prepare to host Tunstall (0-7), it is equally motivation for Patrick County’s upcoming offseason, Morrison said.
“A lot of it is stuff we have to fix in the offseason and in the weight room, that’s going to be big for us,” Morrison said. “If we get all of these guys committed to the weight room like they should be, it’s going to be a horse of a different color next year when we play these guys.”
As for Tunstall, Morrison is not taking the Trojans lightly despite their winless record so far in 2019.
“You can’t look at Tunstall and say it’s going to be anything less than a really tight game. I see it as one or two scores either way,” Morrison said. “They are a really solid team and they’re better than what their record shows. We’re better than what our record shows too, but at the end of the day, you make your own luck and we have to take care of business the last two games this season.”
MAGNA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL 41, PATRICK COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 0
MVHS – 7 7 14 13 – 41
PCHS – 0 0 0 0 – 0
6:50 – MVHS – Louis Taylor 2 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
3:19 – MVHS – Ty Grant 30 pass from Dryus Hairston (Cory Osborne PAT good)
11:02 – MVHS – Tyler Johnson 30 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
2:50 – MVHS – Tyler Johnson 67 pass from Dryus Hairston (Cory Osborne PAT good)
10:46 – MVHS – Louis Taylor 2 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
4:19 – MVHS – Isaac Ellison 25 pass from Dryus Hairston (PAT fail)
MAGNA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL
Louis Taylor, 21 for 133, 2TD; Tyler Johnson 2 for 38, TD; Dryus Hairston 3 for 21; Kylan Brown 3 for 10; Andrew Santoemma 1 for 5; Isaiah Neal 1 for -1. Total: 31 for 206, 3TD.
Dryus Hairston 11-21 for 185, 3TD.
Tyler Johnson 4 for 89, TD; Isaac Ellison 3 for 52, TD; Ty Grant 2 for 35, TD; Andrew Santoemma 1 for 11; Louis Taylor 1 for -2.
PATRICK COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
Dae’Shawn Penn 18 for 52; Carson Merriman, 6 for 26; Jonny Crowell 6 for 14, fumble; Will Sprowl 7 for 9, 2 fumbles. Total: 37 for 101, 3 fumbles.
Will Sprowl 8-15 for 105; Dae’Shawn Penn 0-1 for 0.
Dae’Shawn Penn 4 for 61; Bryson Fulcher 2 for 21; Wyatt Argo 1 for 16; Jonny Crowell 1 for 7.