The Essex Trojans varsity football team hosted and defeated the W&L Eagles in the region A semifinals on Friday, November 16. The Eagles recovered the opening kickoff to put them in good field position. The Trojans defense stopped the drive to give the ball to their offense. A couple runs by Antwain Greene had the home team on the move, but the Eagles defense halted their drive. That was how the first two quarters went; neither team’s offense could move the ball into scoring position because the defenses were swarming to the ball. Head Coach Todd Jones said, “We were playing a good football team and I think they [Eagles] were a big reason why our offense sputtered. Coach Joe Taylor and his staff had a good game plan and they executed it to stop us from scoring. Fortunately, our defense was equal to the task and stopped them [Eagles offense] until we could get rolling.” This included back to back sacks late in the second quarter by Anthony ‘AJ’ Crabbe and Jayson Bonilla-Kelly in Trojans territory. A fumble by the Trojans and an Eagles recovery with 3:20 to go before the half had the visitors close to scoring range. A sack by Rasheed Ellis jarred the ball loose and Keyshan Holmes fell on it for the home team. On the first drive of the third quarter, the Eagles put the ball on the ground again and Rasheed Ellis gobbled it up on the plus side of the field. Kevin ‘KJ’ Dameron followed his blocks 9 yards to the endzone for the first score of the game (8-0) with 10:16 to go in the third. The Trojans reached the endzone on their next possession after a KJ Dameron 1-yard run with 7:40 left in the third. He [KJ Dameron] followed with a 7-yard run to make the score (24-0) at the 1:46 mark of the third. An Eagles pass up the middle of the field was picked off by Tamaje Jones with 7:27 in the fourth. They hit pay dirt again after an Avante’ Banks 39-yard run around the left side to make it (31-0) with 5:22 left in the game. The Eagles got on the scoreboard with a Juwan Tolson 64-yard run to make it (31-6) with 5:01 to go. Defensive coach Tione Meade said, “Our defensive line [Rasheed Ellis, AJ Crabbe, Syncere Gray, Keyshan Holmes, Jayson Bonilla-Kelly] carried us. We switched a couple players responsibilities and it helped us control the run game. I wasn’t happy we gave up the long run for a touchdown, but we had a good game.” The Trojans milked the clock and won (31-6) to move onto the region A finals. Head Coach Todd Jones stated, “We made some adjustments at halftime then we came out and put some drives together to score. The players executed the scheme that allowed us to get into the endzone. We have a bunch of unselfish players [KJ Dameron, Roscoe Byrd, Takeyo Day Jr, Avante’ Banks, Antwain Greene, LaMonte Roane] that do their part whether they are carrying the ball, blocking, or carrying out a fake.” Eagles Head Coach Joe Taylor said, “The Trojans are a good football team so a missed assignment here, a bad play call, or a turnover and they took advantage of it.” Essex will face another NND team at Northumberland in the region A championship on Friday, November 23.