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High school football, Region 4B semifinal: Powell's TD reception propels King George over Varina

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Josh Powell concedes that he’s not the focal point of King George’s passing offense. There’s only one football, and it usually alights in the dexterous hands of NCAA Division-I darlings Chanz Wiggins and Mekhai White.

“I don’t get that many chances, so when I get my opportunity, I better make the best of it,” Powell said.

That opportunity arrived midway through the fourth quarter of Friday’s Region 4B semifinal against defending Class 4 state champion Varina. After the Blue Devils scored to pull within 17–14, the Foxes rewarded their tight end’s patience.

“We got a look that we thought we were going to get eventually,” Foxes head coach Vern Lunsford said. “We were kind of biding our time. We finally got it, and he made a great play.”

Powell corralled a bullet pass from quarterback Zach Ferguson over the middle, then raced 60 yards to the end zone for a touchdown that shifted the momentum for good in the Foxes’ 31–14 victory. King George (12–0) will face the winner of Saturday's game between Dinwiddie and Hanover in next week’s Region 4B championship game.

After a disastrous opening drive that ended in an interception, King George turned to a power rushing attack led by Ferguson and running back Aydin Woolfolk. The former rushed for a pair of scores, while Woolfolk racked up 112 yards on 24 carries and bookended King George’s scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

“Our offensive line is just doing a great job,” Lunsford said. "Everybody’s bigger than us, but that doesn’t matter to our guys. They can’t measure heart. They’re grinding it out.”

In a rematch of last year’s region semifinal, the Blue Devils struggled to gain any traction offensively. Varina (10–2) lost a fumble and saw another drive end on a spectacular one-handed interception by Wiggins.

“Penalties killed us,” said Varina coach Marcus Lewis, whose team was flagged a staggering 14 times for 140 yards. “With all that said, we still had a chance to win.”

Trailing 14–0 to start the second half, Varina got on the board when Eric Smith ran under a 48-yard bomb from quarterback Jonathan Derricott with 9:22 left in the third quarter.

Standout kicker Max Lipinski gave the Foxes some breathing room at 17–7 when he booted his first field goal of the season — a 37-yarder that cleared the uprights with ample distance to spare. Lipinski had been chomping at the bit to attempt a kick, especially after a Varina penalty for 12 men on the field on fourth down sent him back to the sideline late in the first half.

“We’ve got all the confidence in the world in Max,” Lunsford said. “It just hadn't happened this year. ... But he hit a big one. He’s clutch.”

While undoubtedly satisfying, avenging last year’s season-ending defeat didn’t seem like a climax for these Foxes. Bigger prizes await after Thanksgiving.

“We just have to keep the energy up,” Powell said. “If we come out like this, I don’t think anybody can stop us.”

King George  7  7  0  17 —  31
First quarter
KG—Zach Ferguson 11-yard run (Max Lipinski kick).
Second quarter
KG—Ferguson 5-yard run (Lipinski kick).
Third quarter
Va—Eric Smith 48-yard pass from Jonathan Derricott (Vy’Sean Royster kick).
Fourth quarter
KG—Lipinski 37-yard field goal
Va—Derricott 8-yard run (Royster kick).
KG—Josh Powell 60-yard pass from Ferguson (Lipinski kick).
KG—Aydin Woolfolk 4-yard run (Lipinski kick).
First downs1015
Rushes-yards   23-128   40-207
Passing yards99121
Punts-avg.  1-39   2-24
Fumbles lost1-10-0
Penalties-yards14-140  14-131
RUSHING: Varina—Tae’mon Brown 10-40; Derricott 9-38, TD; Naseer Smith 4-50. King George—Aydin Woolfolk 24-122, TD; Zach Ferguson 16-95, 2 TDs.
PASSING: Varina—Derricott 8-14-1, 99 yards. King George—Ferguson 7-9-1, 121 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Varina—Lamar Booker 5-50; Eric Smith 3-59, TD; Brown 1-6; Jordan Edwards 1-7. King George—Chanz Wiggins 1-3; Mekhai White 2-31; Mauricio Blanco 2-25; Josh Powell 2-63, TD.
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Final high school football stat leaders for the Fredericksburg-area schools in The Free Lance-Star coverage area. Stats collected through reporters, stats reported by coaches and teams' online websites.

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