Throughout the week, the John Paul the Great varsity football team kept the meaningful Ireton game in the back of their minds. However, before they could focus 100% of their attention on the Cardinals, they had one more task to complete. In a similar fashion to their sound defeat of Rappahannock County High School last season, the Wolves traveled down Friday night and made quick work of the Panthers once again.
John Paul wasted little time in taking the lead; a lead they would never relinquish. Michael Foster rushed for the first touchdown of the game less than four minutes after the opening kickoff and it was promptly 7-0. Robby Harper added a four yard rushing touchdown with 6:03 to go in the first, and the ground attack would not stop. When Michael Horan ran 41 yards to the end zone with about two minutes left, it was 22-0 after DJ Stefonsky and Brandon Perroots connected for the two point conversion.
Joe Simms rushed for a touchdown of his own in the first minute of the second quarter, increasing the Wolves’ lead to 29. The fifth rushing touchdown of the night came from the aforementioned Stefonsky at about the three minute mark. If the game wasn’t in doubt before, it surely was now, as the scoreline read 36-0. JP wasn’t satisfied with that margin though, and just before the half, Michael Horan* ran for his second touchdown to make the lead 42-0 when the game went to its elongated break.
After a field goal by Matt Nguyen early in the third, Rappahannock finally broke through, scoring their first touchdown. Minutes later, they crossed the goal line again, but this time the extra point was no good, and the Wolves led 45-13. As was the case in a previous game this year, younger Wolves entered the game to gain valuable experience. One even got in on the scoring action; sophomore Robert Domingue ran for the seventh and final JP touchdown of the game. Fellow sophomore Chris Craig tacked on the extra point, and it was 52-13 John Paul.
Rappahannock would score two more touchdowns before the final whistle sounded, cutting the deficit and final score to 52-26. Despite these late scoring additions, John Paul was never seriously threatened.
Six different Wolves accounted for the seven rushing touchdowns scored. JP finished with a total of 243 yards on the ground at an average of 14.3 yards per carry. They completed only three passes on five attempts, for a total of just 26 yards.
The one remaining regular season attempt at a playoff berth is this week’s game against Bishop Ireton. As with last season, when John Paul played Ireton in their last game, it is do or die for the Wolves. They must win for a chance at a playoff berth; lose and they are eliminated. With so much at stake, in addition to it being a rivalry game, it’s needless to say that it will be a hard-fought contest for both sides.
The game will be played at John Paul this Saturday at 1. If you cannot make it, be sure to follow the live updates from our Twitter account @JPwolfpack, which can also be found on the right side of this page.
*A correction from an in-game tweet which stated that touchdown was scored by DJ Stefonsky.
**This site’s URL is now simply Johnpaulwolfpack.com, instead of Johnpaulwolfpack.wordpress.com**