The Buckingham Knights needed some unconventional assistance in their 19-7 victory over Fluvanna last week. A blocked field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter produced a nine-point swing that put them ahead for good, in what can best be termed a defensive struggle.
Fluvanna was idle the week before, giving the Flucos a two-week period of preparation for Buckingham. This week, the Knights host Chatham – another team that was idle the week before its contest at Buckingham.
The Cavaliers likely needed the open week. Chatham fell to Randolph-Henry 27-12 in its first week, and followed it up with a 28-18 loss to Tunstall two weeks ago.
In both games, the Cavaliers fell behind early and were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the night.
Buckingham will need to do the same this week, and they should as the Knights have scored first in each of their four games – only trailing against Fluvanna by one point last week.
Senior tailback Maurice Taylor had an off-week for his standards. He rushed for just 64 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, as both teams dug into their trenches for most of the contest.
Buckingham's defense continues to turn in strong performances. The Knights are giving up a relatively stingy 9.75 points offensively, while scoring 26.4 points per outing.
The Knights have won 16 regular-season contests in a row. Number 17 should be on the horizon if they can duplicate the offensive performances in Buckingham's victories over Nelson and Prince Edward.
Radio: WVHL 92.9 FM/www.wvhl.net
When a team scores over 40 points in a 48-minute game, chances are that's enough to win, but the Cumberland Dukes found out that it's not enough when the defending Group A Division 1 State Champions are across the field. Altavista won 61-44.
The Dukes enter their fifth week of competition with a somewhat disappointing 1-3 record that includes losses to the Colonels, William Campbell and Appomattox – none of which are slouches – but the opportunity is still there for the Dukes to work their record back to .500 by the time district play starts next month.
They'll have to do it against a motivated Nottoway team. The Cougars will have two things to prove. Cumberland has won two straight over Nottoway, including a 46-28 victory last year. Last week, NHS fell to Amelia 34-13, a week after posting a convincing 38-12 victory over Central of Lunenburg in the Cougars' season-opener. This will be Nottoway's final game against a James River District school before the Cougars join the JRD in 2011.
Cumberland is still having trouble getting its running game going, but the Dukes are having no problems moving through the air. Quarterback Devonte Booker threw for 431 yards and five touchdowns in last week's loss to Altavista. Rawhawn Sims led all receivers with eight catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while Demarius Trent had six catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Many high school football teams use the run to set up the pass. Cumberland may have to work backwards from here on out, but either way, the defense will have to work on stopping the opponents on defense. Should Cumberland be able to frustrate the more power-oriented Cougars like they have the previous two years, Cumberland's speed may be too much to overcome. If they don't Nottoway will have a big boost of confidence heading into next week's Southside District opener.
Radio: WBBC 95.3/bobcatcountryradio.com
If practice should ever get lackluster in the week prior to the Tidewater Academy game, the Fuqua School coaching staff needs to only mutter the date September 23, 2005.
Tidewater defeated the Falcons 14-6 that night. It also marks the last time the Warriors celebrated a varsity football victory. Thirty-four straight losses for TA since that night. The Warriors would love nothing more than to break that streak on their home field against the Falcons.
At first glance, that might be an insurmountable task. It's monumental, granted, but Fuqua's next three games (at Isle of Wight, at home against BS-Huguenot and at Roanoke Catholic) could have the Falcons looking past the Warriors.
Last year, the Falcons jumped out to a 37-0 lead with 9:02 still remaining in the first half. Naturally, the Falcons began to substitute liberally. Tidewater didn't roll over and made the final score much closer than the game actually was.
The two teams share one common opponent in Brunswick Academy. The Falcons easily dispatched of the Vikings 41-7 in the first week. Tidewater came close to breaking its streak the next week against BA, suffering a 27-24 loss at home.
Fuqua continues to be led by junior quarterback Charles Williams, who has 731 yards rushing on the year on 39 carries (182.8 yards per game, 18 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns. A good rushing night on Friday, should get him close to a half-mile of rushing, just five games into the season. Including his passing statistics, Williams has over 1,000 yards of total offense, and 13 touchdowns.
With what lies ahead on the schedule, expect Larry Haskins to get a large portion of work on the ground this week. He has 352 yards on 46 carries thus far (88 yards per game, 7.7 yards per carry), eight touchdowns (one receiving) and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on special teams.
A well-motivated Fuqua team should have no trouble this week in getting a comfortable victory. The key is to not be looking ahead.
Prince Edward received a much-needed bye last week and will try to notch its first victory of the season on Friday night at home against Southampton in the Southside District opener for both schools.
The bye came at a good time for the Eagles, who are 0-3 on the season, but unlike last year it's only a one-week deal as the Southampton contest was moved back to this week since both teams were able to accommodate the move in their schedules. That should be good for the Eagles, who, after two weeks off, basically had to start over from square one in 2009.
Prince Edward would like to forget its 47-13 humbling to undefeated Buckingham two weeks ago, and could get an opportunity to do so. Both teams are rebuilding. Southampton picked up its first victory of the season in a 28-14 victory over Windsor High School last week. The Indians used a balanced rushing attack of three primary runners to build a 28-0 lead, before allowing two late touchdowns.
Prince Edward should get some injured players back for Friday's game, and what last week's score doesn't show is that the Eagles were able to move the ball well against the Knights in spots. A five-minute stretch late in the second quarter allowed the Knights to pull away for the easy victory.
The Eagles have used three primary rushers with Ralik Lockett, Raheem Nash and quarterback Jeremy Walker getting the bulk of the work. Nash is averaging 40.7 yards per game, while Lockett is averaging 33.3 ypg., and has two touchdowns. Walker's numbers have been dwarfed by sack yardage, but he did have some productive runs against Buckingham two weeks ago.
The key for Prince Edward will be to limit turnovers, and make sure the ones that happen don't become key plays in the game. That's happened in each of the Eagles' three previous games. Prince Edward has five lost fumbles on the season and three interceptions that have either ended promising drives, or have set up quick scores by its opponents.
Meanwhile, the Eagles' defense has three turnovers to their credit on the season, and given the overall youth of the team, hasn't played that badly.
How the players handled the open week will determine what kind of team Prince Edward will field on Friday. If they were able to remain motivated, this is a good opportunity for a victory in front of the home fans. If the players treated it like a week of vacation, it will likely be more of the same.
Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM
1 p.m., Saturday
Following a nail-biting victory over North Carolina Wesleyan two weeks ago, the Hampden-Sydney Tigers got back on track with a 38-0 home victory over Sewanee last weekend.
Junior quarterback Travis Lane, who threw five interceptions against the Battling Bishops returned to form in the victory by completing 19 of 28 passes on the afternoon for 255 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. Lane also led the Tigers on the ground with 60 yards rushing.
The defense continued its strong play, getting its first shutout since blanking Bridgewater in 2009.
They'll need similar performances this week as the Tigers begin a three-game stretch of games on the road. This week's opponent Salisbury will test the Tigers both offensively and defensively.
After a season-opening 13-7 victory over North Carolina Wesleyan, Salisbury has managed to turn on the offensive jets. The Seagulls eased past Christopher Newport 58-10 in the second week and thumped Husson 84-7 last week.
Hampden-Sydney's defense has proven to be quite stifling. The Tigers are holding opponents to just 74.67 yards per game on the ground. The Seagulls are averaging 429.67 yards per game rushing.
In last week's contest, Trevor Ikwild led the Tigers defensively with seven tackles (2.5 for-loss) and a forced fumble. Offensivley, Kyle Vance had 11 catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
The two non-conference teams do share one common opponent in North Carolina Wesleyan. Salisbury defeated the Bishops 13-7 in week one, with H-SC escaping with a 21-19 victory in week two. Given the offensive out puts of both teams in their other respective games, it's safe to say that NC Wesleyan has a good defense.
A couple of streaks will be on the line for the Tigers this week. H-SC has 13-consecutive regular-season victories, and has won 14-straight out-of-conference. Perhaps more impressive, the Tigers have won 16-consecutive contests on the road.
Depending on which team sets the tone early-on, will determine if those streaks remain in-tact or come to an end.
Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM/