Eagles Fall At Fluvanna
Having one of the youngest varsity football teams in Group AA, the Prince Edward County High School Eagles knew one challenge facing them was to find a way to put together a 48-minute football game.
Scrimmages can only prepare a team so much.
As expected, mistakes were made along with a few positives, but in the end, host Fluvanna proved to be too much in a 36-14 victory over the Eagles in Palmyra last Friday.
“We didn't do bad considering,” said PECHS head coach Terrence Edmonds. “But we also shot ourselves in the foot early on with a few penalties and a turnover that put us in an early hole.”
Prince Edward fell behind quickly 15-0. Fluvanna scored on its opening drive, aided by a number of offside penalties, and scored again on an easy interception return for a touchdown.
“We talked with our defense about last year how Fluvanna was able to convert repeatedly on third-and-long. I think our guys were trying to compensate for that, and it helped Fluvanna with a several offsides calls. They were listening, and you can't fault them for being aggressive, but now we have to work on not escorting a team down the field like that.”
Fluvanna scored its second touchdown in an intercepted swing pass that quickly ended up as a 33-yard touchdown.
Prince Edward settled down and capitalized on a Fluvanna miscue in the second quarter. Walter Christmas recovered a fumble on the Fluvanna six-yard-line, and PE tailback John Robinson converted the short touchdown on the next play to cut the lead to 15-7, which was the Eagles' halftime deficit.
Fluvanna made the necessary halftime adjustments to take control of the contest in the second half.
“With the young lines, there are things that they can only pick up through experience,” said Edmonds. “They're learning blocking schemes, but they haven't quite figured out what to do with blitzes, line shifts and changes that can happen after the huddle is broken. They'll learn, but they haven't figured out how to adjust yet.”
Fluvanna scored twice before Prince Edward capped off its best drive of the night, an 80-yard scoring drive that ended with a 11-yard run by Ralick Lockett to cut the game back to two scores at 29-14.
Prince Edward was unable to get a stop on Fluvanna's ensuing drive, as the Flucos answered with the final score of the night to put the game out of reach.
“We got a good effort from our defense in the first half, but unfortunately we didn't get that same effort in the second half. Our defense was on the field a lot, and though a lot of them play both ways, you don't get as tired when you're playing on offense. Success on offense gives you positives and an adrenaline rush that can help you when you have to go back out there and play defense.
“For us to be successful, our offense is going to have to be able to convert first downs and take time off the clock.”
Raheem Nash led the Eagles with 40 yards rushing on five carries, while Robinson and Lockett had short touchdown runs and two carries apiece.
Walker was 2-8 for 41 yards and an interception, while reserve quarterback Tyrek Goode was 4-9 for 31 yards. Raheem Smith had one grab for 36 yards, while Lockett had two catches for 16 yards.
Defensively, Prince Edward was led by Smith, who had eight tackles, two assists and an interception. Lockett had seven tackles and a sack, while Christmas had six tackles, an assist and a fumble recovery.
Prince Edward will host Cumberland on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
“It's Prince Edward and Cumberland,” said Edmonds. “We won't have to get our kids up for this one, but they'll be up too. Cumberland has athletes and speed.
“I remember that their defense scored a lot last year, or they made plays that led to easy scores. We ran for a ton of yards, but to their credit they made defensive plays when they had to. We'll have to make sure we take care of the ball, and hopefully, it will make for a different outcome.”