Regionally ranked rivals (say that fast three times) Virginia State and Virginia Union fought hard on Saturday afternoon in Ettrick, VA. VSU and VUU were fighting not only for bragging rights, but also to stay in D2 playoff contention. VSU came out victorious, 27-24, but VUU surely shot itself in the foot along the way.
VUU struck first on a field goal with 12:20 left before halftime to take a 3-0 lead. VSU’s Deme Strickland responded with a one-yard rushing touchdown on the next possession, followed by a 45-yard pick six from Elijah White with less than a minute left to take a 14-3 lead at halftime. VSU’s Nichol Woolfolk kicked a 27-yarder to push the lead to 14 points with 3:23 left in the third quarter, but a VUU touchdown with nine seconds left closed the quarter at 17-10. Momentum followed the Panthers into the final quarter. A 45-yard fumble recovery tied the game, and a rushing touchdown allowed a 24-17 VUU lead with 4:32 left. Quarterback Cordelral Cook found receiver Jevon LaPierre with a 36-yard touchdown to knot the game at 24 and send it to overtime.
Keep it simple
VSU couldn’t advance the ball much, but Woolfolk nailed a 34 yard field goal to the Trojans a three-point lead. VUU’s responding drive was… a head-scratcher. The Panthers went three-and-out also, but still had the opportunity to kick a field goal and potentially force double overtime. Interestingly, VUU lined up for a field goal but decided to fake. A confusion-filled incomplete pass to an empty backfield handed VSU the 27-24 victory.
Cook led in passing with 211 yards and touchdown and in rushing with 84 yards. Receiver Marquez Phillips led with three receptions for 64 yards. The Trojans’ regular season ends on a three-game win-streak with a 8-2 record overall. The Panthers finished the season 7-3, with all three loses coming against regionally ranked opponents.
The latest regional rankings will be revealed on Monday, and Virginia State must now wait to see if it will make it into the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The playoff pairings will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 17.