King George at Lake Taylor (Video Still: Antowyne Shaw/recruit757)
Lake Taylor leads early, closes strong against King George
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
King George won their first regional title in 26 years last weekend, has played the underdog role several times this year. Saturday’s state semifinal was no different.
The Foxes hit the road, coming to Norfolk to take on reigning state champion Lake Taylor.
They took several haymakers from the Titans, fell behind, but with minutes left in the game managed to pull themselves to within a score.
Lake Taylor rolled to three quick scores before King George could get going. A 65-yard Elijah Washington fumble recovery for a touchdown, a 20-yard Chuck Fisher touchdown run, and a 35-yard touchdown run on a keeper by Jeff Foster had Lake Taylor up by 20-0 with 7:38 left in the second quarter.
King George quarterback Charles Mutter was knocked out of the game with a separated shoulder and it would have been understandable if the wind came out of the Foxes’ state championship hopes.
Instead, Mutter gutted himself into returning to the game and the Foxes managed two scores in the second quarter in order to take the score to 28-14 at the half.
“It was my senior year, I didn’t want it to end like that,” Mutter told the Fredericksburg Star. “I had to come back.”
Jeff Foster kicked a field goal to start the second half scoring, putting Lake Taylor up 31-14. By the end of the third quarter, Lake Taylor expanded their lead to 37-14 with a three-yard Tarrion Washington-Jacobs run, and the game seemed in hand.
Not so fast.
Mutter hit Javon Campbell with an 80-yard bomb to kickstart a comeback. Campbell then picked off a Jeff Foster pass, returning it 78-yards for a pick-six. With 3:03 left in the game, King George recovered an onside kick giving them the ball again, down only 8 points.
The Titan defense clamped down on King George and Chuck Fisher added a 46-yard touchdown run to close out the game, allowing Lake Taylor fans to breathe a sigh of relief.
“I’m feeling pretty good. We’re going back to the state championship game for the third year in a row and that’s an awesome accomplishment for the kids. The kids have been telling me all week they want to go back,” said Lake Taylor head coach Hank Sawyer after the win.
The twist this year is that the Titans (7-0) don’t have to go anywhere. They’ll host the VHSL Class 4 State Championship game this year as the Salem Spartans (near Roanoke) will travel to Norfolk next weekend. Salem (9-0) defeated Tuscarora on Saturday to earn the bid.
FINAL: Lake Taylor 44, King George 29
– Andy Hilton