Woodgrove gets past host Champe with long touchdowns and red-zone defense
Final score –
Woodgrove Wolverines (1-0) 10 13 7 0 = 30
John Champe Knights (0-1) 0 3 0 0 = 3
1 / 6:48 – Woodgrove TD (Mike Kovich 55-yd pass to Mason Gryniuk; Cameron Gieseman kick)
1 / 0:45 – Woodgrove FG (Cameron Gieseman 24-yd kick)
2 / 8:41 – John Champe FG (Jake Morril 25yd kick)
2 / 4:45 – Woodgrove TD (Mike Kovich 4-yd run; Cameron Gieseman kick)
2 / 2:55 – Woodgrove TD (Mike Kovich 1-yd run; Cameron Gieseman kick blocked)
3 / 1:20 – Woodgrove TD (Chima Kpaduwa 67-yd run; Cameron Gieseman kick)
John Champe High School, Aldie, Va. (August 26, 2016) — Right after the final whistle, the team that won by their season opener by 27 points whooped and danced and celebrated like they’d just won a championship by 1.
The Woodgrove Wolverines quieted down long enough to pose for pictures in front of the John Champe scoreboard displaying the 30-3 outcome that had them in such good spirits. In a showdown pitting two 11-win teams of a year ago, the host Knights struggled with penalties and inconsistency while Woodgrove looked veteran and polished.
They did it with quick-strike offense and bend-don’t-break defense. Mason Gryniuk struck first with a 55-yard touchdown catch-and-run, Chima Kpaduwa struck later on a 67-yard TD sizzle, and Mike Kovich capably controlled offensive tempo as the Wolverines melted away the final eight minutes just pounding it behind a young but big offensive line.
“I thought we played really well on defense,” Woodgrove head coach Mike Skinner began his praise, “and we had a couple guys really come through on offense.”
It’s a measure of revenge for the Wolverines, who opened 2015 with a 20-17 loss at home to Champe, Woodgrove’s only setback till the playoffs’ third round.
Champe head coach Jason Dawson said he was disappointed, but not surprised. After all, his quarterback last year is now wearing a William & Mary uniform. His entire starting defense, save for one, graduated away.
“The good news is we’re young. The bad news is…we’re young,” Dawson quipped, adding that several Knights had zero snaps of varsity experience before that night. “But I understand the process. I understand that we’re going to be fine. Just believe in the process.”
It was a fun night for the Wolverines and their strong contingent of fans who trekked South from the West. On top of the lopsided triumph, they saw their tall senior wideout put on a show.
“I’m going to be going after some big school records this year,” said Gryniuk, who added plenty to his statistical totals in the opener. “I want all the records here.”
Gryniuk and Kovich, who’ve been hooking up as receiver and quarterback since middle school, connected on Woodgrove’s second possession when Gryniuk streaked downfield and slanted inside to open space. Kovich hit him in stride, and Gryniuk motored the remaining 40 yards to paydirt, getting sprung by a great downfield block from fellow receiver Russell Blackwell.
“That gave us a bunch of momentum,” Gryniuk said.
On Woodgrove’s following drive, Gryniuk showed off his hands with a sliding snag of a deep ball just off the turftop, converting a third down and setting up Cameron Gieseman‘s field goal from a severe angle.
Champe answered. Carl Garmon III had a nice gain on the kick return, ending the first quarter. Then Garmon had a nicer gain on the first play of the second quarter when Cameron Parson hit him on a wheel route, and Garmon sailed down the sideline to the 10. Jake Morril boomed through a field goal to get the home team back within seven.
The Knights would get no closer. The Wolverines answered back when Kovich and Gryniuk combined on a 27-yard completion leading to Kovich’s 4-yard scoring scamper. The senior QB did the honors on Woodgrove’s next drive too, taking it in from a yard out right after Kpaduwa performed a spinning, pinballing 17-yard run. Woodgrove’s cushion was 20 points at intermission.
Champe reached the red zone three times in the second half, but was repelled each time. The Knights suffered from self-afflicted damage, as most of their 10 penalties were unforced procedural infractions. Champe’s offense also misconnected on two would-be touchdown passes.
The Wolverines did not play a perfect game either. They coughed it up twice, both fumbles recovered by Champe, and Kovich threw a third-quarter interception corralled by Brandon Burdick.
But any thoughts of a comeback were dashed late in the third when Kpaduwa burst through a left-side hole, shifted into high gear at the 50 and won an all-out sprint to the goal line.
Skinner saw some players rise up in Week One, such as senior fullback Mike Stephens who, the coach said, “came out of nowhere” to impress.
“We controlled the ball, I don’t think we ever really got stopped with negative yardage. Defensively I thought we played well. We took the run away,” Skinner assessed. “Great win for us. We’re still tough.”
Before he even got back to see his family, Dawson took time to console and reassure his Knights individually as they trudged off the Champe Stadium grounds for the weekend.
He pointed out that many of his current players enjoyed nothing but wins on their freshman and junior varsity squads, plus last year’s 11-1 varsity campaign.
“Not how you envisioned your first game,” he told one of his players. “Listen, this is life, okay? It’s what you do next, right? We’ll be alright. Alright? Okay, I’ll see you in the morning. Ready to work.”
When the Knights Come Marching In
The halftime festivities were a pleasure to behold, with the Marching Knights already showing mid-season form as they staged an intricate 10-minute routine with a patriotic theme. The flag guard waved banners portraying those famous first words of the United States Constitution: We The People.
Woodgrove stats –
Rushing: Chima Kpaduwa 15-130, 1 TD; Mike Kovich 16-50, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Michael Stephens 15-71; Russell Blackwell 1-6
Passing: Mike Kovich 9 of 13 for 166, 1 TD
Receiving: Mason Gryniuk 6-125, 1 TD; Russell Blackwell 3-42
John Champe stats –
Rushing: Carl Garmon 20-76; Branden Caffrey 1-0; Chad White 2-0
Passing: Cameron Parson 2 of 14 for 100
Receiving: Carl Garmon 1-57; Branden Caffrey 1-43
Other scores –
Potomac Falls 16, Broad Run 10
Rock Ridge 12, Riverside 6
Briar Woods 21, Tuscarora 0
Park View 30, Manassas Park 12
Dominion 38, Charlottesville 13
Heritage 34, James Wood 7
Loudoun Valley 56, Kettle Run 27
Freedom 42, Fluvanna 0
Fauquier 42, Loudoun County 12
Off week for: Stone Bridge
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications