Class 1-A -- Lejeune 34, Rosewood 16
By David Williams
Published in Sports on November 14, 2004 2:03 AM
The soaking, cold rain provided a provided a perfect backdrop for the mood after Rosewood's football season ended Friday night.
The Eagles watched as the clock ran down to zero and visiting Lejeune had taken a 34-16 victory in the opening round of the Class 1-A (small-school) football playoffs Friday night at Branch Pope Field. Each purple-shirted player lined up to congratulate their Devilpup conterparts.
"They're a good football team, and we wish them the very best," said Rosewood coach Daniel Barrow.
As the team gathered around Barrow, a trickle of parents began to walk slowly from the stands to join the team. Barrow walked slowly around the circle, stopping to hug a tearful player or say a few words.
The team broke the circle and walked to the center of the field, holding their helmets aloft as they sang their school song for the final time. The parents, now a large gathering, began to applaud, reflecting the pride they felt in their sons.
This was a community in mourning.
The Devilpups (5-6) beat the Eagles with a smothering defense that flattened the middle of the Rosewood offensive line, disrupting the Eagles' option attack before it had time to get started.
Quarterback Danny Langston often found himself down on the soggy turf just as he got the ball in his hands, losing 83 yards in 14 carries. Twice, Langston ate huge losses after falling on bad snaps that sailed over his head.
"They did a good job of sending folks in the gaps," said Barrow. "We handled it some of the time, and sometimes they made big plays."
Langston's passing game was also disrupted, throwing for seven completions in 26 attempts with a pair of interceptions.
The Devilpups opened the game by scoring on defense. Jacque Vanderpool ripped the ball out of a Rosewood ball carrier's arms on the opening series and took it 62 yards for a touchdown early and an 8-0 lead.
"These young men do not quit, said Lejeune coach Tom Childs of his players, most of whom are the children of Marines currently overseas. "They are a lot like their fathers."
Rosewood came right back as Ronnie Butler found a gap on the sweep to the right side and took it 64 yards to paydirt and an 8-8 tie.
From there, the defense and a wet ball forced both teams to struggle. The teams combined for 14 fumbles in the game.
Lejeune came alive to score a quick touchdown less than a minute before halftime. Quarterback Scott MaHaffey found Antwan Mullins on a deep route for a 36-yard touchdown pass and a surprising 18-6 lead at half.
"That was big, and it put us in a hole there," said Barrow.
Lejeune bloodied Rosewood's nose in the third quarter with a pair of scores. Mullins hooked up with MaHaffey again for a 24-yard touchdown early in the period. Later in the half, Rosewood recovered a Lejeune fumble at the Eagle eight-yard line, but returned the ball with another fumble to set up the 'Pups at the Rosewood 4. MaHaffey called his own number twice, scoring from a yard out for a commanding 28-8 lead.
The Eagles tried to rally, with Langston connecting with Dustin Overman for a 40-yard touchdown pass that featured a nifty fake from Overman that allowed him to score and close to 18-16.
Lejeune again gave up the ball on a fumble to set Rosewood up at midfield. But Langston could not move the team past the 'Pup 33, and Rosewood punted to the Lejeune 20. The 'Pups used two long runs from Brandon Heard and Jimmie Blair to score in four plays and put the game out of reach. Blair's 43-yard scamper for a score put Lejeune in commanding position.
Rosewood had 19 seniors play their final prep game.
"A lot of them have put four years into it, and they love it so much," Barrow said. "On Monday, we'll elect captains for next year and get started. But right now, there going to be a little mourning period."
Lejeune 8 8 12 6 -- 34
Rosewood 8 0 0 8 -- 16
L -- Jacque Vanderpool 62 fumble recovery (Harris run) 10:50
R -- Ronnie Butler 64 run (Kevin Shanle pass from Danny Langston) 10:30
L -- Antwan Mullins 36 pass from Scott MaHaffey (Heard run) :34
L -- Antwan Mullins 24 pass from Scott MaHaffey (run fail) 10:16
L -- Scott MaHaffey 1 run (run fail) 5:35
R -- Dustin Overman 40 pass from Danny Langston (Butler run) 11:50
L -- Jimmie Blair 43 run (run fail) 8:56
First downs 5 13
Rushes-yds 35-111 28-5
Pass yds 102 103
Total yds 213 108
Comp-att-int 4-5-0 7-26-2
Fumbles-lost 7-5 7-4
Penalties-yds 13-105 7-75
Punts-avg 3-39 6-32
RUSHING -- Lejeune -- Brandon Heard 24-102; Jimmie Blair 4-52, TD; Scott MaHaffey 7-(-43), TD. Rosewood -- Ronnie Butler 5-58; James Reusch 9-30; Danny Langston 14-(-83).
PASSING -- Lejeune -- Scott MaHaffey 4-5-0-2, 102 yds; Brandon Heard 0-1. Rosewood -- Danny Langston 7-26-1-2, 103 yds.
RECEIVING -- Lejeune -- Joseph Harris 3-76; Antwan Mullins 1-27, 2 TD. Rosewood -- Kyle Grey 3-36; Dustin Overman 2-57, TD; Brandon Daw 1-16; Ronnie Butler 1-(-6).
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