YORK — York's defense has been solid all season and its passing game increasingly effective. Both were very good on Friday in a 26-6 win over Poquoson in the first round of the Region I Division 3 playoffs at Bailey Field.
The Falcons (9-2) gave up a season-low 50 yards, while netting a season-high 189 through the air. That combination led to an easy victory but a very difficult challenge.
Next up is a semifinal Friday at 7:30 against defending regional champion
"The goal the kids have had in the locker room is to get back and get another shot at James Monroe," York coach Doug Pereira said. "They're good, we all know that, but they're beatable."
York brings a better defense than a year ago into the rematch. The Islanders (4-7) generated only 48 yards in 34 rushing attempts, as Cody Hendrickson, Collin Mandrick and Malcolm Reynolds were dominant up front for the Falcons. With the defense in control, Austin Norman displayed his continuing improvement as a quarterback, completing 13 of 20 passes.
As Pereira pointed out, Norman got plenty of help from a receiver corps that caught the ball well. The star was Tywaun Lewis, who caught six passes for 101 yards, with touchdown receptions of 9 and 33 yards.
Poquoson's inability to move the ball, and its poor punting game, put it in a hole early. The Falcons' first possession, following an 18-yard Poquoson punt, began at the Islanders' 33. All it took was a 17-yard Norman pass to Lewis to set up Hunter Strack's 34-yard field goal.
A 19-yard Islanders punt started York at its own 41. The Falcons used 12 plays, the biggest Norman's 21-yard pass to Ben Jagt, setting up Strack's 24-yard field goal that made it 6-0 with 8 minutes, 57 seconds left in the half.
The Falcons next took over at the Poquoson 34 after an 8-yard punt. More solid aerial work from Norman, including completions of 9 yards to Dalton Dye and 14 yards on a swing pass to JoMari Becnel, pushed the Falcons inside the 10.
Norman ran the final 5 yards on that drive and York led 12-0 with 4:00 left in the half. Becnel's 40-yard gain on a reverse-field run set up Norman's 9-yard TD pass to Lewis that made it 19-0 early in the third quarter.
Norman hit Lewis on the run in double coverage on the 33-yard touchdown connection that made it 26-0 late in the third quarter. Poquoson's lone score, a 1-yard touchdown run by Austin Turner, could hardly be laid on the Falcons' defense because it was set up by a fumbled punt in the red zone.
"We locked them down," Pereira said. "Numerically, that's as good a defensive effort as we've had this year."
YORK 26, POQUOSON 6
Poquoson. 0;0;0;6 - 6
York 3;9;14;0 - 26
York: FG Strack 34, 6:43
York: FG Strack 24, 8:57
York: Norman 5 run (run failed), 4:00
York: Lewis 9 pass from Norman (Strack kick), 10:37
York: Lewis 33 pass from Norman (Strack kick), 2:25
Poquoson: Turner 1 run (kick failed), 4:21
First downs 4; 12
Rushes-yards 34-48; 32-82
Passing yards 2; 189
Comp-Att-Int 1-7-0; 13-21-1
Penalties-yards 4-30; 7-53
Punts-avg. 8-26.3; 3-44.7