Hopewell ATH Trey Henderson stiff arms a Phoebus defender (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit804)
Hopewell downs Phoebus 19-6 to advance to Class 3 State Semifinals
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit804
Hopewell last saw Phoebus in 2017.
It was a Region 3A semifinal matchup in which the Blue Devils had to travel out to Darling Stadium to matchup with the Phantoms. Hopewell reigned supreme that day due to a missed point after attempt on the part of Phoebus 7-6. During that postseason, the Blue Devils played just two games on the road after losing three-straight to enter the playoffs.
This year’s matchup proved to be a little more domineering on the part of Hopewell. The top seed in Region 3A came in averaging close to 48 points per contest through the first two games of postseason play. But more importantly, its defense was only allowing seven points per contest.
On a misty Saturday afternoon, the Blue Devils were able to come out on top against the Phantoms by a final score of 19-6. It was the second time in three seasons that the Blue Devils have been able to knock off Phoebus. The loss sends Coach Jeremy Blunt and Phoebus back to the drawing board while Hopewell has plans to host Goochland next week.
“I’m just so proud of our guys because I know how hard they work,” Coach Ricky Irby stated. “They put in the work and my coaching staff does and awesome job. It wasn’t pretty today and that’s a really good football team we beat over there.”
The work was started by the Robert Briggs and the Blue Devils offensive line in the first quarter. Briggs rushed for 72 yards on 16 carries on the afternoon. However, seven of those hard-earned yards produced the game’s first score on Hopewell’s second possession which was made possible by a Jaylen White fumble.
Hopewell kept the Phantoms at bay throughout the first quarter, but Phoebus sprung to life at the 4:57 mark of the second quarter. Jermond Davenport punched the ball loose out of the hands of Robert Briggs which was scooped up by Corey Wilson. However, penalties would put the Phantoms out of range to do anything with their possession.
Trey Henderson and the Blue Devils began to pick up speed on their next possession with Henderson finding the end zone on the ground from 29 yards out to put the Blue Devils up 13-0. The
Hopewell product did most of his damage on the ground as Briggs was the main beneficiary through the air accumulating 93 yards on two receptions.
And yet there were still opportunities for the Phantoms to cash in on, but they were unable to take advantage of Hopewell’s miscues.
With just 10 seconds left in the third quarter, an errant snap went over the head of the Blue Devils punter giving Phoebus the ball on the Blue Devils’ 40-yard line. However, on the Phantoms next possession, Chris Daniels was looking for Kymari Gray on a slant and found Zion Hubbard instead lurking behind the route.
Phoebus found momentum yet again at the 4:30 mark of the fourth quarter when Daniels found De’vontae White hanging out in the back of the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown pass. The score cut Hopewell’s lead to 13-6 after Moises Luna hooked the point after attempt toward the right goal post.
However, just as the Phantoms believed they had a good thing going, Henderson took a hand off from Joseph Eliades and followed his blockers 62 yards downfield for his second touchdown run of the evening. The point after attempt was missed leaving Phoebus with a 19-6 deficit with just 3:25 left in the fourth frame.
“You hate the results,” Coach Jeremy Blunt stated. “We felt very keyed up for the game. We knew that they had a few guys that were game changers. It was not the result that we wanted, but I couldn’t be anymore proud of my guys. This is a very special senior group leaving and a lot of them have been with us since the eighth grade.”
Coach Ricky Irby could breathe a sigh of relief after the clock ticked down to zero. The Blue Devils continue a perfect season, which is something they didn’t achieve when they won their 2017 Class 3 state championship.
“My hats off to Phoebus. They’re a great team and a great program,” said the coach. “We were able to come out and play well today. Our defense played well. We played well against the run very well and that was a big key for us today. I’m just so proud of our guys. I know how hard they work and I know they put the work in.”
Hopewell (13-0) will now match up with Goochland (12-1) for a shot at another Class 3 championship berth. The Bulldogs have reeled off 12-consecutive victories since losing to Lafayette at Wanner Stadium to start the regular season. Goochland has knocked off Independence, Skyline, and James Monroe in route to Hopewell. It’ll be the Bulldogs first time on the road in this year’s postseason.
FINAL: Hopewell 19, Phoebus 6
– Brandon Mitchell
Phoebus 0 0 0 6 — 6
Hopewell 7 6 0 6 — 19
HW—Briggs 7 run (kick good)
HW—Henderson 29 run (kick no good)
PH—White 34 pass from Daniels (kick no good)
HW—Henderson 62 run (kick no good)
HW: Eliades 6-9-123
PH: Daniels 8-19-131-1-1
HW: Henderson 18-134-2 Briggs 16-72-1 Eliades 5-8 Cox 2-1
PH: Turner 15-52 Daniels 5-17 White 2-5 Jacobs-Robinson 1-3
HW: Briggs 2-93 Hutchins 1-23 Henderson 3-5
PH: White 3-64-1 Gray 4-28 White 1-15