A gaping hole opened in front of Orange County running back Jaylen Alexander on the first snap of Friday’s game at Charlottesville.
He didn’t hesitate.
Well on his way to a third straight 1,000-yard season, Alexander took the handoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
“Plays like that create a lot of energy for the team and for everyone on the sideline,” Alexander said. “The line did the hard work.”
With Orange County in town on Friday night, everybody in Charlottesville’s Theodose Stadium knew what was coming, but they couldn’t stop it.
Alexander did not play a down in the second half, but he finished with 299 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns as Orange improved to .500 on the season with a 30-14 victory.
His first two carries covered 120 yards.
“We’ve been looking for energy and looking for these guys to come out and just have some fun,” Orange County head coach Jese Lohr said. “Jaylen ran the ball hard in the first half, but I’m just so darn proud of the energy everyone showed.”
On his second touchdown, Alexander handled the snap himself and took it in from 10 yards for a 16-0 lead with 6:51 left in the opening half.
The Hornets (2-2) were gifted a couple points in the first quarter after a Charlottesville snap rolled past the punter and out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Orange went into halftime with a 23-0 lead thanks to an aggressive defense and an acrobatic catch by Jireek Washington.
Facing second down from the Black Knights’ 12 yard line, Orange quarterback Nathan Morris rolled right and lobbed a pass to the back of the end zone.
Washington and a Charlottesville defender went up for it and both got a hand on it, but Washington corralled the ball and clutched it to his chest as he came down just inbounds.
The Hornets’ defense not only held one of the area’s top running backs in check for the bulk of the opening half, but it pounced on a pair of turnovers.
Orange’s Wyheem Vessels recovered a fumble deep in Charlottesville territory to set up Alexander’s second touchdown. Early in the fourth quarter, the Black Knights were inside the Hornets’ 30 when quarterback Daimon Washington took a big hit and lost a fumble.
“Our scheme was sound as far as gap control,” Lohr said. “We keyed on their motion, our corners did a good job of getting off blocks, and we’ve been looking for difference makers on every level of the defense.”
Charlottesville running back Sabias Folley broke a 43-yard run to get the Black Knights (0-5) into scoring range late in the first half, but the drive ended with a missed field goal.
Folley did find the end zone twice in the second half, though.
In the third quarter, he broke at least five tackles on the way to scoring Charlottesville’s first points of the night on a 63-yard touchdown. He scored again on a 25-yard run late in the fourth quarter and finished with 159 yards on 14 carries.
“Sabias is a heck of a back, and it takes a team effort to deal with him,” Lohr said.
Daimon Washington added 115 yards on 21 carries.