By Michael Pittinger
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Aldie (August 26, 2016 ) – On opening night for varsity football in Loudoun County, John Champe High School hosted Woodgrove High School. The Wolverines used their powerful rushing attack to cruise by the Knights, 30-3.
“I thought it was a little sloppy but it’s the first game,” Woodgrove head coach Mike Skinner said. “I thought we played hard and that’s what you look for.”
Woodgrove senior quarterback Mike Kovich was ecstatic after the first win of the season — a game where he scored three touchdowns on 200-plus all-purpose yards.
“This game was crucial for us and our season. Win No. 1 felt satisfying especially after the game [ against John Champe] last year,” Kovich said. “We put so much work into this game and got the results we wanted!”
The feeling out process of the first game of the season for these two teams ended about midway through the first quarter.
The Wolverines would strike first at the 6:48 mark of the first quarter. Kovich took the snap and found receiver Mason Gryniuk wide open in the middle of the field for a 55-yard catch and run for the score, to give Woodgrove the 7-0 lead.
“We got a couple of breaks and made a couple of plays,” Skinner said.
The Knights would catch a break early in the second quarter when Woodgrove was careless with the football and fumbled it.
John Champe was in good field position to put seven points on the board but penalties – which were an issue all night for John Champe – pushed them farther away from the goal line. The Knights would settle for a 26-yard field goal from the foot of sophomore kicker Jake Morril, making the score 10-3 with 9:41 left in the first half.
The Knights momentum was short lived as Kovich ran in a 4-yard and a 1-yard quarterback keeper before the end of the half to give the Wolverines the halftime lead,23-3.
The second half kicked off with the Woodgrove return team fumbling the ball but luckily they recovered starting deep in their own territory. Two plays later the Wolverines would fumble the football, and this time it was recovered by the Knights at the Woodgrove 11-yard line.
John Champe, however, couldn’t capitalize on the great field position because of penalties.
“I thought defensively we played extremely well,” Skinner said. “We gave the ball away to them a couple of times deep in our own zone and did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone.”
On the very next play senior fullback Mike Stephens gained 41 yards to get the Wolverines to midfield. Stpehens got nothing but praise from his coach after the game.
“I thought fullback Mike Stephens really played well and we didn’t expect that,” Skinner said. “So he is a huge addition for us so we are real excited about that.”
Woodgrove would add on a little insurance when late in the third quarter. Kovich handed the ball of to senior running back Chima Kpaduwa who ran through the middle of the offensive line and then raced down the sideline for a 67-yard TD, to make the score 30-3.
“Our offense is so versatile this year, it’s hard to stop,” Kovich said. “We have the weapons we need to make a run, like Mason Gryniuk at receiver and Chima Kpaduwa at running back, along with our monster offensive line.”
The Knights head to Martinsburg, West Virginia to take on Spring Mills on September 18, while the Wolverines head down to Bealeton to take on Liberty.
“To keep winning we can’t let up,” Kovich said. “We have to treat every single game like this one and keep our foot on the pedal, keep working our hardest.”
1Q 6:48 WG Mike Kovich to Mason Gryniuk 55-yard TD pass (Gieseman PAT)
1Q 0:48 WG Cameron Gieseman 22-yard FG
2Q 9:41 JC Jake Morril 26-yard FG
2Q 4:45 WG Mike Kovich 5-yard TD run (Gieseman PAT)
2Q 2:55 WG Mike Kovich 4-yard TD run (PAT failed)
3Q 1:20 WG Chima Kpaduwa 67-yard TD run (Gieseman PAT)