It isn’t often that the Eastern View football team has to adjust its defensive gameplan on the fly, but Friday night’s Battlefield District showdown at King George might be one of those rare occasions.
The Foxes boast a dangerous offense capable of breaking big plays both on the ground and through the air. But one play during last week’s game with James Monroe could render them one-dimensional heading into their matchup with the Cyclones.
King George quarterback Charles Mutter was thrown hard to the ground by JM’s Andrew Williams during the second half of the Yellow Jackets’ 22-21 win over the Foxes. He was immediately transported to Mary Washington Hospital, where he spent 3-4 hours being evaluated.
A CT scan came back negative, but the junior signal-caller was left with a severe case of “whiplash.”
“It hurt,” Mutter said of the hit. “The guy made a clean hit on me. There was nothing wrong about the play. I landed on my head wrong. He hit me across the side of the face in between my shoulder pad and helmet and jolted my head back. I landed on top of my head and he kind of landed on top of me, too. But it was a clean hit and the guy’s a good player.”
Having passed concussion protocol, Mutter hopes to take the field as King George (3-3 overall, 0-2 district) looks to upset unbeaten Eastern View (7-0, 3-0).
Mutter, who completed 15 of 19 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns against JM prior to the injury, could make a huge difference for the Foxes if he’s able to take the field against the Cyclones. He leads the district in passing yards with 1,235 and has thrown for seven touchdowns while completing 54% of his passes.
“He’s a really good football player,” Eastern View head coach Greg Hatfield said of Mutter, who holds a Division I offer from William and Mary. “He’s calm in the pocket and he’s an accurate passer. He’s also obviously a very tough young man to have bounced back so quickly after what happened to him last week.”
Hatfield said the Cyclones’ defense, which has intercepted opposing quarterbacks a total of 10 times this season, will need to be very disciplined if it faces Mutter.
“[King George] likes to call a lot of run-pass option plays with him on the field,” Hatfield said of Mutter. “Our defense has been very assignment-oriented all year long, and it will need to be again if we’re going to stop him from moving the ball down the field on us.”
King George has other weapons besides Mutter, and they’ll likely lean heavily on them if he’s unable to play Friday night.
In the backfield, Mutter is often flanked by running backs Javon Campbell and Gabe Aley.
Campbell, a 6-2, 195-pound junior, is big enough to run over defenders and fast enough to run around them. He rumbled for 146 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in a 21-20 victory over Washington and Lee two weeks ago. He’s also displayed an ability to catch the ball, hauling in three receptions for 136 yards and two scores in a Week 2 win over Stafford.
Chris Cox is Mutter’s favorite target in the passing game, with 20 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns so far this season. But if Mutter can’t play, Cox slides from wide receiver to quarterback, where he isn’t as dangerous of a passer as Mutter is. Cox connected on only one of his three pass attempts after taking over for Mutter last week, as the Foxes deferred to Campbell and Aley in their running game.
In addition to the 10 interceptions, Eastern View’s defense has allowed just 42 points through its first seven games. The Cyclones are suffocating opposing offenses to the tune of 116.3 yards.
A victory over King George would be Eastern View’s 44th consecutive regular-season win.
Eastern View Statistical Leaders
Passing: Till Butler 45-69 (65.2%), 987 yds, 18 TDs
Rushing: Raq Lawson 69-458 (6.6 avg), 4 TDs; Ronta Robinson 35-351 (10.0), 6 TDs
Receiving: Alex Spangler 12-441 (36.8), 7 TDs; Chance Graves 14-308 (22.0), 5 TDs; Blake Leake 12-172 (14.3), 5 TDs
Interceptions: Josh Logan 2; Drew Shurina 2
Kicking: Garrett Hutchinson 45-47 XP, 2-3 FG (long 38)
Punting: Garrett Hutchinson 10-363 (36.3)