The Orange County football came in with a simple, yet very effective game plan for its Jefferson District matchup with Charlottesville: Get Jaylen Alexander the ball and watch him go to work.
Alexander did just that, finishing with 198 rushing yards and three touchdowns to carry the Hornets to a 41-14 victory over the Black Knights on Friday night at Theodose Stadium.
Alexander and the Hornets got things going only early.
After forcing a Black Knights three and out on the opening possession of the game, the Hornets turned and handed the ball to Alexander, who quickly marched the Hornets down the field. The senior capped off Orange’s opening drive with an 18-yard touchdown run to give the Hornets an early 7-0 lead.
OCHS coach Jesse Lohr loved what he saw from his running back, but has come to expect big production on a nightly basis.
“He’s a pretty big part of the game plan every week,” Lohr said. “We did a really good job of winning the point of attack, and getting all of our backs going.”
Charlottesville can chalk this one up as the game of missed opportunities. On three separate occasions, the Black Knights took over with excellent field position, and all three times they turned the ball back over to the Hornets.
One of those turnovers was created by Orange defensive lineman Chance Williams in the second quarter. Williams intercepted what was supposed to be a pitch to the running back, then went streaking 63 yards down the field for a touchdown and a 21-0 Hornets lead.
Just when it looked like all hope was lost for the Black Knights, they got a much-needed spark from senior Latarius Jackson, who took a reverse 60 yards to the end zone to get Charlottesville on the board.
Unfortunately for the Black Knights, Alexander answered Jackson’s touchdown with a 54-yard touchdown run, his second of the night.
Trailing 28-7 late in the third quarter, Charlottesville found another big play to help inch closer. After an Orange screen pass that was thrown behind the line of scrimmage went straight into the ground, Charlottesville defensive back Jamez Lynch made a head’s up play, scooping the live ball and returning it for a touchdown.
With Charlottesville showing signs of life, the Hornets knew they needed to put the Black Knights away, so they turned to their workhorse and he delivered. Alexander fired off a 45-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach for the Black Knights.
“I felt confident coming in, everything felt like it was clicking,” Alexander said. “Everyone who touched the ball tonight, across the board was producing.”