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6-Minutes of Chaos: Monarchs Maul Colonials 18-10

Colonials Beat Writer Michael Anderson

Sep 26, 2021

Dumfries, VA – On this crisp, Northern Virginia fall evening, the game plan for the visiting Williamsburg Colonials was simple: take advantage of the limited number of players the Monarchs fielded in hopes of eventually wearing them down in the second half.
But the Monarchs didn’t receive that message and turned the tables on the Colonials, continuously pounding the ball between the guards and tackles, then attacking the edges, effectively and methodically wearing the Colonials defense down. It was a game of attrition, both teams waiting to see which one of them blinked.
But the game within the game hurt the Colonials more than it did the hometown Monarchs. If this game were a Sesame Street episode, the letter they would talk about would be P…for Penalties.
Some will look at the 0-0 score at halftime and think it was a defensive struggle. But it could have very easily been a 3-touchdown lead for the Monarchs as they moved the ball at will on the vaunted Colonials defense. Yet turnovers on three drives kept the Monarchs from scoring.
Typically, a team looks to capitalize on turnovers, but the Colonials had difficulty moving the ball during the first half by not being able to establish a run game and becoming one dimensional.
After a 34-yard punt by Josh Soske and a 13-yard return by the Monarchs, the Monarchs moved the ball down to the red-zone. Instead of handing the ball off, the Monarchs quarterback decided to pull out and throw, and the Colonials intercepted the ball at the goal line, returning it 50-yards.
The Colonials went for it on 4th down and 2, and Taylor threw an interception, overshooting his double-covered primary receiver. Fortunately for Taylor, his defense intercepted the ball right back, and the half-ended with the teams tied at zero.
To start the 2nd half, it looked as if the Colonials made appropriate adjustments as they took the ensuing kickoff 44 yards, ending up with a 1st and 10 deep into Monarchs territory. Taylor then hit the big tight end, Boatwright, for a nice 20-yard gain down the middle, giving the Colonials 1st and 10 inside the 5-yard line.
During that series of downs, Akeem Taylor called his own number as he attempted a quarterback sneak. But he was met at the line of scrimmage by a swarm of Monarch defenders. Taylor’s second effort saw him stretch to extend the ball across the goal line, but it was knocked out of his hands.
What could have been a disastrous play turned into gold as Linwood Walker picked up the loose ball and strode into the end zone for the first score of the game. The point after was good and the Colonials led 7-0 after 2 ½ quarters of play.
The Colonials defense pinned its ears back and became the defense seen in previous games as Prince Graves lit up and stood up the Monarchs runner, allowing a teammate to successfully strip the ball and recover it. The Colonials had some success moving the ball, highlighted by a 20-yard completion by Taylor. And on 4th and 4 the Colonials kicked a field goal to go up 10-0.
As the game wore on, it seemed the Colonials were doing just enough to keep the Monarchs from mounting any serious threat, highlighted by a nice 23-yard pass by Linwood Walker. But then came the 6-minute mark and things got chaotic.
The Colonials suddenly struggled to move the ball and punted it away, giving the Monarchs good field position in Colonials territory. The Monarchs continued to pound away, eventually scoring on a nice 12-yard run right up the middle. The resulting 2-point conversion was no good, making the score 10-6, Colonials.
The next series for the Colonials went three and out, but not before a series of penalties buried them deep in their own territory. Soske shanked the punt, giving the Monarchs excellent field position at the Colonials 32-yard line with 3:22 left in the game.
On the first play from scrimmage after the punt, the Monarchs quarterback ran the RPO to perfection when he faked the handoff and pumped to his left. This was just enough time for the Colonials safety to commit to that side, and for the Monarchs wideout on the right to get by Isaiah Smith. Without any safety help over the top, Smith was left on an island by himself, and the Monarchs QB found his receiver in stride for a quick strike, 32-yard touchdown pass. Again the 2-point conversion was no-good, but the Monarchs took the lead 12-10 at 2:21 left in the game.
The ensuing kickoff was a touchback, and after some success to get back into manageable field position, there was an exchange issue with the snap resulting in Taylor dropping it and falling on the ball to keep it from being recovered by the Monarchs. But on the very next play Taylor, again, overthrew his receiver, the Monarchs intercepted it and took it to the house for a pick 6. The 2-point conversion was no good and Monarchs led 18-10.
Antonio Rawlings created some excitement, returning the ensuing kick-off 46-yards after taking the ball deep in the end zone. However, Taylor was hurt in the next series of downs, forcing the Colonials to replace him with Linwood Walker, who was the starter in the spring.
On his first play from scrimmage, there was an exchange issue with the snap again, forcing Walker to have to catch it while moving to his left, completely blowing up the play. Walker scrambled, was hit hard by the Monarch defenders, and fumbled the ball away, giving the ball back to the Monarchs deep in Colonials territory with 1:31 left to play, effectively ending the game.
“I think after we got that 2nd score and went up 10-0, we thought we had it in the bag and just blew it.” Coach Willis said after the game. “The defense just got tired. They weren’t prepared coming in because we didn’t have any kind of film on these guys, so we didn’t really know what to expect. So, we were just trying to feel them out there in the beginning, but they (the defense) just got tired there towards the end.”
To the Colonials defense, there was some concern going into the game that a few starting members of the offensive line were not going to be at the game, causing Coach Willis to use some of his defensive lineman on offense. The lack of consistency with not having the offensive lineman present hurt the offensive production.
Not having the linemen there, Coach Willis said it hurt the offense and was worse than he expected. “We couldn’t get any kind of run blocking going at all, and if we did get a good run block it was called back because somebody was holding.” He iterated. “The focus on Tuesday will be on blocking assignments. Hopefully our linemen will be there. Defense will be focused on swarming to the ball and gang tackling. At the beginning there were a lot of guys trying to tackle one on one and nobody was helping him out. So, we need to have more of that, slowing them down earlier so that the defense is not on the field as long as they were.”
It was noted that the Monarchs had success gapping the Colonials between the guards and tackles and attacking the edges with off tackle runs and sweeps. Coach Willis has a remedy in mind. “We got to focus on the linebackers playing their assignment.” He emphasized. “A lot of them got caught looking in the backfield and all it takes is for the running back to kick it out and he (the linebacker) loses his outside contain. Playing gap control, we got to get our middle linebackers to fill the middle. Right now, they are not really doing it. When they blitz, they do. But when they are in base formation, they are just sort of sitting there waiting for the ball to come to them.”
Come join us this Saturday, 2 October at 7 PM, Cooley Field as we host the Tri-City Cowboys in what should be an exciting conference matchup.

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