It’s been a long time coming, in fact, the last time Northumberland beat the Essex Trojans in football it was the year 2011. It was ironic that Northumberland’s head football Coach Aaron Lewis was playing on that team. The two teams entered into what was a strong defensive contest with neither scoring in the opening period. On the opening play of the second quarter Essex’s K.J. Dameron pushed over from three yards out. He also ran in the two point conversion. It looked like another Trojan win was in the making but the Indians came back strong. Taking the ensuing kickoff, they marched 65 yards in seven plays with Collin Saunders scoring on a one yard run. Harry Lee kicked the PAT. The drive was kept alive by a 35 yard Jerquist Morris run. Stopping Essex just across the fifty yard line, the Indian’s offense was once more in business. A six play, 58 yard drive was culminated in a 22 yard pass from Mason Adams to Delvin Palmer. A penalty nullified Lee’s kick. Northumberland went into the dressing room up 13-8.
Northumberland got the opening second half kickoff but had to punt the ball away. Essex began a drive from their own 39 yard line using a bruising ground game, they moved the ball to the Indian’s 18 yard line. There the Indian defense stiffened and Essex gave up the ball on downs. The offense was back in business. They moved the ball to the Essex ~5 yard line but an apparent Saunders’ score was called back by offsetting penalties. Three plays later the Adams to Palmer duo was again on the scoreboard. A shovel pass covered the last 32 yards and Lee’s kick was true. Midway the final stanza of play, Jerquist Morris got the call. He broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, another in the linebacker area and a couple in the secondary on a 23 yard run for the Indian’s final score of the night. Lee added the extra point on a kick. Ashton Ashlock, the Trojan’s quarterback had spent a lot of time in running for his life from the Indian’s aggressive defense, tucked the ball in and went 58 yards for the Trojan’s second TD. Dameron’s run for the two points brought them within nine points.
Their first opportunity went to the Indian’s Delvin Palmer who raced 65 yards for an apparent score. It was called back for an Essex off side penalty on the kick off. A second try was recovered by the Indians only to have that called back too for the same reason. On their third attempt the Trojans managed to recover the ball. That drive was stopped on the Northumberland 29. Their final attempt was also thwarted by the rock solid Indian defense. Mason Adams had his best night of his career, hitting twelve of fourteen passes for (1.66 yards and two TDs. He had no interceptions. His favorite targets were Delvin Palmer with five receptions for 123 yards and two TDs; Collin Saunders, 3 for fourteen yards; Keon Redmond, one for seventeen; and Phillip Bingham, one for twelve. The defense was once again a major deciding factor in the game as it has been all season long. Multiple tackles were recorded by Delvin Palmer also with an interception and three passes broken up, Carl Johnson plus a sack, Elijah Mclean with a sack and a fumble recovery, Jaheim Owen with a sack and Caleb Davis also with a sack.
An obviously delighted Coach Aaron Lewis said “A great game, we’re on a roll, our players played with such heart and pride. They refused to lose. Our leaders led all week and for the game. The game plan went as scripted.”
The Indians open the heart of their season with Saturday’s homecoming against the W&L Eagles. Homecoming balloons are not the only thing to fly Saturday. The Eagles have the top passing quarterback in the Northern Neck District in Chase Scott and the two top receivers in J.J. and Shane McNeill. Northumberland’s secondary is definitely in for stiff test on Saturday.