KINGWOOD — On Senior Night at Knights Stadium, Preston hoped last week’s postponed game against North Marion would give it a chance to clean up some issues exposed in its season-opening 21-0 loss against Hampshire two weeks ago. The Knights’ opponent, John Marshall, had been pummeled 55-0 by University in Week 1, then turned the tables on Weir with a 36-0 victory last week.
So, would it be feast or famine – and for who?
Unfortunately, COVID-19 took a heavy toll on the Knights, as they were without almost half their roster, and while the Preston defense looked good early, the offense just couldn’t solve the Monarchs’ front seven. The JM offense turned some gash plays into a monster, four-touchdown second quarter, as John Marshall nailed the pandemic-ravaged Knights, 48-7
After the two teams traded three-and-outs, JM (2-1) got on the board early when fullback Nate Menendez hauled in a swing pass from quarterback Jacob Coffield, picked up a downfield block, and rumbled all the way for a 59-yard touchdown. On the Monarchs’ next possession, Preston safety Dillon Taylor scooped up a fumble and returned it into JM territory, but the offense was unable to capitalize. In the second quarter, John Marshall pumped in touchdowns on short scoring runs by Ethan Wallace and Coffield to take control at 21-0.
With the PHS offense unable to give the defense a blow, JM took advantage of an interception from Koda Moore to go up top on first down. A perfect pass from Coffield to Wesley Hughes on a go route turned into a 72-yard TD, and with just under a minute remaining in the half, Klypson Wallace scored his second rushing touchdown of the quarter to extend the JM advantage to a commanding 35-0 at the break.
It didn’t get any easier for the shorthanded Knights in the second half, as Ethan Wallace gathered in the kickoff at the 19, burst through the middle, and took it all the way to the house for an 81-yard return score. On its first offensive possession, JM added on one more time, as reserve running back J. D. Wells zipped off tackle and split the PHS secondary for a 55-yard touchdown. In the final quarter, the Knights finally put together a solid drive, capped by Dillon Taylor’s scoring plunge from the 1.
Coffield finished 6 for 10 for 173 yards and 2 TDs, while Klypson Wallace led all rushers with 125 yards and a pair of scores on just 11 carries.
After the game, first-year coach Mark Deep didn’t want to use his shortened bench as an excuse.
“We’ve got to be better, bottom line,” he said. “We need better habits, better attention to detail. Every one of us, in everything we do. It’s going to be the way we build our program. I thought we did some good things on the defensive side of the ball at times, but it’s tough when you just don’t have enough healthy bodies. You can get grinded down. But we have to own everything we put out there on the field.”
Deep was happy to see his time have some offensive success late.
“We needed something positive for sure,” he smiled. “It will be something we can build fro. We played an awful lot of kids today, and that’s a positive, too. I told them that this chapter is closed, and we get a chance to write a new chapter next week. Hopefully we can get a bunch of kids back soon, and we’re going to remain positive and encouraging. We have the long game in mind, and our seniors are buying into helping us to build the program. Every step is moving us forward, and we’re looking toward the future, one play at a time.”
The Knights remain at home next Friday, hosting Robert C. Byrd at 7 p.m.
John Marshall (2-1) 7 28 13 0 – 48
Preston (0-2) 0 0 0 7 – 7
Q – JM Nate Menendez 59 pass from Jacob Coffield (Connor Fitzpatrick kick)
Q – JM Klypson Wallace 3 run (Fitzpatrick kick)
JM Coffield 1 run (Fitzpatrick kick)
JM Wesley Hughes 72 pass from Coffield (Fitzpatrick kick)
JM K. Wallace 4 run (Fitzpatrick kick)
Q – JM Ethan Wallace 81 kickoff return (Coleman kick)
JM J.D. Wells 55 run (try failed)
Q – PHS Dillon Taylor 1 run (Cole Turner kick)
JM – Coffield 7-48 TD, DiMario White 2-9, Menendez 2-11, Wells 2-55 TD, K. Wallace 11-125 2TD, E. Wallace 7-11, Lyons 1-10, Brady Deem 1-1, Total 33-269 4TD.
JM – Jacob Coffield 6-10-0 173 2TD, Andrew Lyons 0-1-0. PHS – Trevor Thomas 7-15-1 90.
PHS- Thomas 7-(-13), Ethan Harper 10-17, Dillon Taylor 3-4 TD, Ethan Likens 4-3, Mason Sargent 1-1, Levi Lowdermilk 1-4, Isaiah Stewart 1-7, Total 27-23 TD.
JM – Menendez 3-87 TD, White 2-14, Hughes 1-72 TD
PHS – Jacob Burns 3-34, Harper 2-5, Taylor 2-51.
JM 1 (Koda Moore)