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No. 1 Highland Springs forces six turnovers, beats Colonial Forge 52-7
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No. 1 Highland Springs forces six turnovers, beats Colonial Forge 52-7

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On the first play from scrimmage, Highland Springs forced a fumble and recovered it deep inside Colonial Forge territory. That was only a preview of the night, as the Springers’ defense set the tone and kept its foot on the gas.

The Springers forced six turnovers en route to a 52-7 win over the Eagles on Friday night at Victor W. Kreiter Memorial Stadium.

Turnovers led to offense for Highland Springs, which is currently No. 1 in The Times-Dispatch rankings, scoring touchdowns following all six of them.

Braylon Johnson spearheaded the Springers’ defensive onslaught with two interceptions, including one he returned 52 yards for a score.

“That’s what it looks like when we play as a team,” Johnson said. “That’s Springer football. In the past couple of games, we allowed the big play. We’ve been getting better at it over time in eliminating the big play.”

The Springers didn’t allow Colonial Forge to find any rhythm on offense, holding the Eagles to just 64 yards offense, including seven passing yards.

“When everybody just buys in, you play well,” Highland Springs head coach Loren Johnson said. “Our defensive line was able to put pressure on them, the linebackers ran to the ball and that makes it easier for the secondary. It just works hand-in-hand and it worked well tonight.”

Colonial Forge’s lone score came off of a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Following the score, the Eagles recovered an onside kick, but it took only two plays for the Springers to force a fumble.

Not to be outdone by its defense, Highland Springs’ offense was firing on all cylinders as well. The team combined for 574 yards offense, including 356 rushing yards.

Jakyre Henley led the Springers through the air and on the ground with 113 yards on 13-of-17 passing and 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Henley’s two touchdowns? Both were runs where the sophomore found the edge and outsprinted the entire Eagles defense on carries of 37 and 40 yards, respectively.

“He’s a kid that has a lot of ability,” Johnson said of Henley. “He’s a kid that can run around and make things happen. He did that tonight. That’s kind of his first full game of playing.”

Highland Springs ran a two quarterback offense with standout sophomore Khristian Martin and Henley. Martin started, but Henley soon entered on the Springers’ third drive before they traded off the quarterback responsibilities.

Martin took a big hit on a deep shot in the second quarter and did not return to the contest, but was in uniform on the sideline supporting his teammates the rest of the game. He finished 6-of-11 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown, while adding another score on the ground with 39 rushing yards.

Henley, who played his first full game of the season after dealing with a nagging injury, said the alternating quarterback system is “great,” but it took time to get used to.

“I think as a team that’s preparing against us, you just don’t know what you’re going to get and when you’re going to get it,” Johnson said of the two quarterback system. “[Henley] throws the ball pretty well, but he can escape the pocket and make things happen. Both of them are really good, I like both of them a lot.”

Henley said he and Martin learn from each other each day, making them better at practice.

“We teach each other, he’s like my quarterback brother,” Henley said of Martin. “We teach each other at practice, we stand with each other, we do everything together. We’ve just got a connection.”

Michael Hodge led the Springers’ receiving corps with seven receptions for 89 yards, while adding six carries for 17 yards.

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