Trailing 28-7 at halftime of Friday night’s Class 4 Northwestern District matchup with host James Wood, it appeared as though the Culpeper County football team was well on its way to a fourth-straight lopsided defeat.

However, the Blue Devils found their footing on both sides of the ball and dominated the Colonels in the second half before ultimately coming up just short in a 28-21 loss.

The momentum swing came early in the third quarter after Culpeper’s Joe Holland intercepted James Wood quarterback Carson Hoberg.

“Coach [Brandon Utz] gave us a speech at halftime and we got really excited,” said the Blue Devils’ Austin Lentz. “We got that pick and that’s when it really showed.”

Culpeper (1-5 overall, 0-3 district) turned Holland’s pick into points when Lentz scampered for a 6-yard touchdown to cut the Colonels’ lead to 28-14 with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter.

Lentz, who also scored on a 1-yard plunge in the second period, finished the night with 101 yards rushing on 15 carries.

The Blue Devils’ passing attack, which had been relatively quiet for much of the night, finally showed signs of life on the next drive. Quarterback JoJo Crenshaw, who went 8-of-16 for 94 yards in the game, connected with Dejour McCray on a 27-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 28-21 with 2:31 left in the period.

That set the stage for a frenetic finish.

Down seven with under a minute to play, Lentz ripped off a 20-yard sprint to get Culpeper to the James Wood 23-yard line. On the next play, Crenshaw found Holland over the middle for a 22-yard gain that took the ball inside the 1.

With less than 10 seconds on the clock and no timeouts remaining, the Blue Devils hurried to the line and handed the ball to Cam Lacy, but he was stopped in the backfield and time expired, sending the Colonels into a wild celebration.

Lacy amassed a game-high 108 yards on 15 attempts.

Despite the loss, Utz was upbeat after the game when talking about the effort from his team.

“I love this group of kids,” he said. “I know we don’t have the wins to prove it, but I’ve got a talented group. They’ve bought in and it’s a special night for me as a coach”

James Wood (5-1, 2-1) jumped on Culpeper early, thanks to the play of Joseph Vitola.

Vitola blocked a Holland punt and recovered it in the end zone to give the Colonels a 7-0 lead with just under 10 minutes left in the first quarter. His 1-yard score later in the period extended their advantage to 14-0.

Jackson Turner added a 21-yard touchdown run with 2:23 remaining in the stanza to increase the James Wood edge to 21-0. Sam Adkins’ 4-yard dash late in the second quarter ensured the Colonels’ 21-point lead would remain intact at halftime.

Adkins finished the night with 92 yards on 19 carries.

Culpeper will host Fauquier in another district clash next Friday.

Culpeper County        0   7   14   0      21
James Wood    21   7     0   0      28

First Quarter

JW—Joseph Vitola recovered blocked punt in end zone (Christopher Garcia Ortega kick).

JW—Joseph Vitola 1-yard run (Christopher Garcia Ortega kick).

JW—Jackson Turner 21-yard run (Christopher Garcia Ortega kick).

Second Quarter

CC—Austin Lentz 1-yard run (Gabe Barros kick).

JW—Sam Adkins 4-yard run (Christopher Garcia Ortega kick).

Third Quarter

CC—Austin Lentz 6-yard run (Gabe Barros kick).

CC—Dejour McCray 22-yard pass from JoJo Crenshaw (Gabe Barros kick).

           CC          JW
First Downs             17           16
Rushes-yards      40-239    35-168
Passing yards           94         132
Comp-Att-Int     8-16-2   14-20-1
Fumbles-lost          0-0          1-0
Penalties-yards            6-35        5-50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Culpeper County—Cam Lacy 15-108; Austin Lentz 15-101, 2 TDs; Riley Harrison 5-23; Dejour McCray 1-6; Armani Hoffman 1-2; JoJo Crenshaw 3-(-1).  James Wood—Sam Adkins 19-92, TD; William Crowder 3-37; Jackson Turner 1-21, TD; Jaden Ashby 4-5; Carson Hoberg 7-12; Joseph Vitola 1-1, TD.

PASSING: Culpeper County—JoJo Crenshaw 8-16-2, 94 yards, TD.  James Wood—Carson Hoberg 14-20-1, 132 yards.

RECEIVING: Culpeper County—Dejour McCray 3-66, TD; Joe Holland 1-19; Armani Hoffman 2-16; Austin Lentz 2-(-7).  James Wood—William Crowder 8-71; Jayson Herndon 2-22; Jaden Ashby 2-19; Ethan Grooms 1-14, Sam Adkins 1-6.

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