A dominant Phoebus defense spoiled the debut of Ferguson freshman quarterback Mike Vick on Friday night and set the table for next week's Peninsula District title showdown against Hampton.
Phoebus boosted its record to 9-0 with a 17-0 victory against the pesky Mariners (4-4) at Darling Stadium. The Phantoms collide with likewise unbeaten Hampton (8-0) Friday 4 at Darling Stadium.
Linebacker Junious Slaughter and lineman L.J. Jones spearheaded a Phoebus defense that held Ferguson to season lows of 56 offensive yards and three first downs.``That's the kind of defense you want to be playing at this stage of the season,'' Phoebus coach Bill Dee said. ``We put pressure on the quarterback, did a solid job of pass coverage and went to the ball well.
``We were a lot more aggressive then we were last week. It was a tough defensive battle. That's a good Ferguson team.''
Vick, who threw 15 touchdown passes in his first six games for Ferguson's junior varsity, was 2-for-11 for 20 yards against Phoebus. The left-hander was sacked three times in the Mariners' first two possessions, but kept his poise despite facing that kind of pressure most of the game.
Regular Ferguson quarterback Marcellus Harris played both wide receiver and wingback against the Phantoms.
Ferguson coach Tommy Reamon went with the more pass-oriented Vick, knowing Phoebus had yielded an average of nearly twice as many yards passing (116.7) as it had rushing (62.3) this season.
Slaughter, Jones and Jay Brown recorded one sack apiece for the Phantoms, who did all their scoring in the first half.
With Ferguson keying on Peninsula District rushing leader Antoine Womack, fullback Charlie Russell scored his first two touchdowns of the season for the Phantoms.
Damien Jones, a 270-pound sophomore tackle, was instrumental in Ferguson's limiting Womack to a season-low 46 yards rushing on 17 carries. The Mariners used a 5-4 alignment to curtail Phoebus' normal running success. Linebacker Danny Latta was another Ferguson mainstay.
The Phantoms scored on three of their five possessions in the first half.
After Josh Jones gave them a 3-0 lead with a 26-yard field goal, Bryan Hargrove set up the initial touchdown by blocking a Ferguson punt.
The block provided a first down at the Mariners 20. Three plays later, Russell scored from 3 yards out.
The victors closed the scoring on Russell's 1-yard plunge with 1:53 left in the second quarter. A 37-yard pass from Terrence Dunn to Hargrove set up the score.
``We took a huge step forward defensively in this game,'' Dee said.
Phoebus gave up just 20 yards passing, its lowest total since the second week of the season when it held Kecoughtan to none.
Safety Wadell Saunders and cornerback Darell Wynder led the Phoebus secondary. Saunders had an interception and Wynder made a touchdown-saving tackle on a 48-yard run by Ferguson's Rayfield Wells in the third quarter.