The Buckingham County High School football team hasn't won in Farmville since the 2001 season. The Knights should have their best chance at breaking that streak this Friday night when they travel to Prince Edward County High School for a non-district contest.
The two programs have gone in opposite directions since Prince Edward defeated BCHS 35-14 in the last meeting in Farmville on 9/12/08. Buckingham (2-0) has won 14-consecutive regular-season games, while Prince Edward has struggled, winning just one game out of its last 12. Since that last game at PECHS, Buckingham has posted a 16-3 (.842) record, while the Eagles (0-2) have a 5-14 (.263) mark.
Buckingham has gotten off to a strong start due in part to a balanced offensive attack. The Knights, who are well-known for a ground attack out of the “Power I” have instituted a spread package, and it has worked well for both their rushing and passing games. In last week's 27-13 victory over Nelson County, the Knights rang up over 400 yards on offense. Junior quarterback Tarian Ayers was 9-17 passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns, while senior tailback Maurice Taylor rushed 30 times for 212 yards. For the season, Taylor has rushed 47 times for 330 yards (7.02 yards per carry) and has three touchdowns.
The Knights have picked up where they left off on defense, giving up just 9.5 points per contest on defense, while averaging 20 ppg. offensively. Two of the three touchdowns BCHS has given up have come off turnovers. The first came inside the BC five-yard-line, while the second resulted in a 95-yard score by Nelson on two plays.
Prince Edward is still struggling to find its way on offense, but defensively the Eagles have played well enough to keep them in their first two games. Prince Edward trailed Fluvanna 14-7 at the half, before losing 36-14 in the first week of the season, and despite losing to Cumberland 28-3 last Friday, the Eagles moved the ball well, but saw three promising second half drives ended by turnovers. Cumberland, which led 22-3 at the half, failed to capitalize on any of the three PE second half turnovers.
Prince Edward is averaging 8.5 ppg. offensively, while the Eagles are giving up 32 ppg. However, ten of those points have come by an interception returned for a touchdown and a safety, knocking the defensive points allowed to a more respectable 27 ppg.
The Eagles are still hunting for a leader on offense. The Eagles have yet to find a go-to running back. Ralick Lockett (nine rushes, 42 yards), Raheem Nash (10 rushes, 103 yards) and John Robertson (seven rushes, 55 yards) have shouldered the brunt of the Eagles' rushing totals through two games.
If Prince Edward can keep things close, one advantage that will work into the Eagles' favor is kicker Michael Lawrence, a transfer from Bluestone, who is perfect (2-2) in extra point attempts and field goals (1-1).
Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM
The Cumberland High School offense finally got things going somewhat in its 28-3 victory over Prince Edward last week, but one big concern for the Dukes (1-1) entering the third week of the season is its running game. Cumberland struggled to run the ball against PE's defense, despite controlling time of possession for much of the game.
The Dukes' passing attack showed no such issues. Quarterback Devonte Booker threw for 260 yards on 12-16 passing and completed four touchdown passes. Three went to junior standout RaShawn Sims, who caught five passes for 184 yards, while DeMarius Trent caught a 30-yard touchdown.
Feature tailback Quinton Langhorne had 104 yards on nine carries, but the Eagles held Cumberland in check on the ground for most of the evening.
That will need to change over the course of the season if the Dukes hope to get back to the top of the James River District standings. They'll get a good test on Friday night at home against Appomattox (0-1). Appomattox fell to Buckingham 13-6 in the first week of the season, but was idle last Friday night.
Buckingham's defense held the Raiders to just 124 total yards, with 120 coming on the ground. The question remains to be seen if that was due to Buckingham's defense, or if Appomattox, which lost a lot of team speed from 2009 graduations (namely Kenny Scott, who averaged over 200 total yards per game rushing and passing), will struggle to gain yardage this year.
Appomattox was led in the game by Clarence Copeland, who had 44 yards on 19 carries, but four Raiders did carry the ball multiple times in the contest. Appomattox was 1-3 passing with two interceptions.
Cumberland's defense recovered four Prince Edward fumbles, and also recorded a safety in last week's game. The Eagles were held to a little over 200 yards in last Friday's contest. The Dukes will need a similar performance this week.
Buckingham dominated most statistical categories against Appomattox two weeks ago, but didn't secure the victory until the final two minutes of the game. Cumberland needs to get a multiple possession lead early, and force the Raiders to the air. Otherwise, the confidence factor will swing toward Appomattox's favor as the night wears on.
Radio: WVHL 92.9 FM
The Fuqua Falcons will take to the road for the first time on Friday night after getting a leg-up on its competition in the Virginia Commonwealth Conference with two impressive home victories. The Falcons (2-0) step out of league play for the first time this year to face an unfamiliar opponent in Carlisle School.
What do the Falcons know about Carlisle? They've scored a lot of points in their first two games, but they've given up more. Carlisle (0-2) has losses at Roanoke Catholic (42-32) and at Hargrave Military Academy (45-37).
Fuqua, meanwhile has put up some impressive offensive numbers in its first two weeks of competition. The Falcons cruised to a 41-7 victory over Brunswick Academy, and scored 20 second quarter points in last week's 33-6 win over Kenston Forest.
Junior quarterback Charles Williams has been the catalyst in both Fuqua victories. For the season, Williams has already rushed for 402 yards on just 16 carries (25.1 yards per carry) and has six rushing touchdowns. When he's not toting the ball, junior tailback Larry Haskins is. He has 199 yards on 21 carries (9.47 ypc), and has four rushing touchdowns on the season to go along with one receiving touchdown.
Fuqua's defense has been just as impressive. The Falcons, who held Kenston Forest to just two medium-range field goals last week, haven't surrendered a touchdown in five quarters. Fuqua senior Michael Marquez has two turnovers on the season, a fumble recovery against Brunswick Academy, and a 40-yard interception return in last week's game.
Though it's out of conference, every game is important in the VIS state playoff structure. A victory for the Falcons here will go a long way in helping them secure a return to the postseason. Expect a lot of points to be scored. This won't likely be a 6-3 game.
No Corey Sedlar? No problem. Hampden-Sydney raced to a 45-30 victory at Averett last week in the Tigers' first contest following the graduation of their standout quarterback, and didn't appear to miss a beat, as junior quarterback Travis Lane threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns in his first collegiate start.
Junior tailback Kirk Rohle led the team with 158 total yards (118 rushing, 40 receiving) and two touchdowns as the Tigers raced out to a commanding lead before holding off a late Averett rally.
Kyle Vance led all receivers with 142 yards and a touchdown, while Kenny Fryman led the defense in tackles with 11.
The defense held Averett to just 67 yards in the first half of last week's game, as the Tigers raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead. H-SC extended its advantage to 45-7 entering the fourth quarter, before Averett roared back with 23 fourth quarter points to make a game of it, before H-SC was able to put away the game by controlling the ball for the final three-and-a-half minutes.
This week, with program victory No. 500 fresh in their pockets, the Tigers (1-0) will open up play at Lewis C. Everett Stadium against North Carolina Wesleyan (0-1) in a battle of two teams that made the NCAA Division III Playoffs a year ago.
North Carolina Wesleyan dropped a 13-7 decision at Salisbury University last Saturday. Freshman quarterback Jordan Vann threw for 287 yards in the loss, while tailback Teron Bush got the Battling Bishops' only score on a three-yard touchdown.
There are a number of streaks on the line for the Tigers this week. H-SC has won 11-consecutive regular season contests, and has won 12 straight regular-season victories over non-league opponents.
Hampden-Sydney put up 628 total yards of offense in last year's 55-23 victory over NC Wesleyan (tenth best in for the Tigers in the Marty Favret era).
Hampden-Sydney has proven time-and-again that it can score points in bunches, no matter who is quarterbacking the team. That's not likely to change this week, but with NC Wesleyan picked to defend its 2009 USA South title, the Tigers will have to put together four strong quarters and make sure the game is well in-hand before taking their foot off the accelerator if they're fortunate to get another big lead.
Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM