Trojan football defeats the Godwin Eagles

Midlo’s First Home Playoff Game in School History

School history was made last Friday night, November 12, 2021, when the Varsity Football team, under the leadership of Head Coach Matt Hutchings, hosted the Godwin Eagles for the first playoff game at the start of the Virginia High School League Class 5 Tournament, given it was the first time that Midlo had hosted a playoff game.

Godwin, who entered with an overall regular-season score of 4-6, had previously emerged victorious with a home win over Thomas Jefferson 29-14. However, the Trojans, who remained 7-2, were coming off of two disappointing losses to the Powhatan Indians (42-7) and the James River Rapids (28-14).

The Midlo student section came out in full force at the first home play-off game.
(Photo by: Students Athletes Media )

Despite the back-to-back defeats, the enthusiastic student body, faculty and community members packed into F.W. Poates Stadium eager to watch the post-season battle that would soon go down between the two highly competitive teams. After a week of full-contact practices leading up to the game, Midlo was prepared physically and mentally.

Kicking-off the game, the Trojan’s kicker, junior Maxx Lawton, launched the ball to the 38-yard line in Godwins territory, which put Midlo in a strong offensive position. After a forced punt, the team followed up with an assisted touchdown from junior Cooper Meads that was then completed by junior Conor Harrington. The successful play put the home team at a 7-0 lead after the extra point was secured by Lawton.

Midlo’s starting line-up makes their way to the field for the historic game. (Photo by: Students Athletes Media )

After two disappointing possessions of the ball at the start of the game, Godwin failed to sustain any offensive consistency and they were forced to turn over the ball to the Trojans at the 37-yard line with only four minutes left in the first quarter. The Trojan’s second possession on offense was centered around juniors Ashby Berry and Makhi Jackson as they both rushed down the field for a combined 62 yards. Berry ended up scoring a 23-yard touchdown on the ground, setting the score at 14-0 in favor of Midlo after the extra point earned once again by Lawton.

The Trojans established a dynamic rushing attack throughout the first quarter, which was made possible by the team’s offensive line creating gaps for the running backs to shoot through. Averaging a combined 104 rushing yards in just in this quarter alone, Midlo headed into the second quarter with a staggering 14-0 lead.

Junior Ashby Berry secures a touchdown for Midlo. (Photo by: Shea Collins)

Following a successful opening quarter for the Trojans, the second quarter began with the Eagles initiating play their first possession of the quarter. Godwin managed to make it to Midlo’s 35-yard line, which was the farthest they had gotten so far in the game offensively. Unfortunately for Godwin, their promising drive came to an end as the Trojans stopped them in their own territory.

Following the turnover on downs, the rest of the quarter Midlo and Godwin struggled to score because of how well the two defensive units played. However, with less than a minute left in the second quarter, Midlo’s quarterback-wide receiver combination consisting of Meads and Kleski went into full effect. After a 9-yard pass completion from Meads to his counterpart, the two players scored a 59-yard touchdown. Once Lawton made the extra point to set the score at 21-0, both teams headed to their locker rooms to discuss their second-half game-plan and make any additional adjustments.

Midlo makes adjustments to their plays during the second half of the game to secure the win. (Photo by: Shea Collins)

When the game recommenced, Midlo attempted to sustain a smooth operating offense while also continuing to be assertive defensively. At the start of the third quarter, the Trojans, unfortunately, suffered their first turnover of the game with a fumble on their own side of the field. Godwin ultimately took advantage of the great field position that the Trojans had given them and carried out a 5-yard pass completion that put the score at 21-7.

Midlo, with a comfortable lead at the start of the second half, finished scoreless after the third quarter. Nevertheless, Midlo did not allow Godwin’s touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to stop them in their tracks. With the final quarter underway, Midlo looked to control the rest of the game.

While down two possessions, time was of the essence for Godwin to score or their season would come to an end. The Trojans, who had a 14 point advantage, had possession of the ball at the start of the last quarter. Berry secured a 2-yard rushing touchdown, putting the score at 28-7 after a field goal was made. Midlo carried on this momentum for the rest of the game as they scored 3 more touchdowns to round out the game with a final score of 42-13.

“It was a good win, we needed it considering our season would have been over if we lost. We looked ourselves in the mirror and came together as a unit against Godwin,” senior Will Haemker said.

Midlo was able to overcome their consecutive losses at the end of their regular season, which showcased the football team’s endless resilience. The win improved their game standings to 8-2 overall, as well as guaranteed them a position in the tournament moving forward. After a historic playoff victory, the Trojan football team now prepares for the upcoming home semi-final game against the Hermitage Panthers on Friday, November 19, 2021 in an effort to keep their post-season alive.

“If we play the same way we played on Friday against Godwin, we should dominate in our semi-finals game against the Panthers,” Haemker said.