Friday Blitz

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fuqua @ Isle of Wight Academy

7 p.m., Isle of Wight C.H.

The Fuqua School football team doesn't know what it's heading into this Friday night at perennial VISFA power Isle of Wight Academy. The Chargers were upset by Brunswick Academy 10-7 last week to fall to an uncharacteristic 2-2 on the season.

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“We don't know,” said FS head coach Skeeter Fore. “We could get the team that lost to Brunswick last week, or we could get a team that's so angry about last week, that they take it out on us this week. I'm guessing the latter.”

For good reason. Fuqua, despite having some rather solid teams over the last five seasons, hasn't beaten Isle of Wight since 2002 (a 21-6 victory for the Falcons). A number of times, it was the Chargers who handed the Falcons their first loss of the season.

Fuqua (5-0, 2-0 VCC) won't get the chance to return that favor this week, but they can take out some frustration on the Chargers. Additionally, the Falcons could start to turn the battle for the conference championship into a two-team battle with BS-Huguenot. Last week, a well-focused Fuqua team spoiled Tidewater's homecoming with a 41-20 victory in Wakefield. Fuqua scored all 41 of its points in the first half, and gave up two late scores in the final four minutes of play.

Fuqua junior quarterback Charles Williams has already accounted for over 1,000 yards (or over a half mile) of total offense this season. He has 811 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns on 45 carries (162.2 yards per game, and 18 yards per carry), and has 17 total touchdowns with (three passing and a defensive score last week).

Isle of Wight and Fuqua share two common opponents in Kenston Forest and Brunswick Academy. The Falcons defeated BA 41-7 on the first week and the Kavaliers 33-6 in week two. IWA defeated KF 28-20 two weeks ago, before losing to BA 10-7. Fuqua will likely be slowed by a wet field at Isle of Wight. The field doesn't drain well, and could be a factor due to the rains the area has received over the week.

Last year: Isle of Wight 42, Fuqua 12

Radio: none

Buckingham @ Manassas Park

7:30 p.m., Manassas Park

The Buckingham Knights will face their toughest task to date on Friday night when they travel to undefeated Manassas Park. The Knights have won every game in the series that dates back to the 2007 season. Last year, Buckingham routed the Cougars 51-0.

Don't expect a repeat of that score this year. Probably not anything close. Manassas Park, which is the third straight team to face BCHS coming in off a bye week, defeated Colonial Beach 27-0 two weeks ago, and hasn't given up more than 21 points at any point of the season.

MPHS is averaging 27.67 points per game offensively, while yielding 11.67 ppg. on defense. The Cougars are a run-heavy team, so field conditions will likely play a role.

One question for Buckingham will be the health of senior tailback Maurice Taylor. He dislocated his left thumb last week, and saw very little action after the half. His status is day-to-day. He finished with 64 yards on nine carries. Freshman tailback Kenneth Johnson filled in nicely for Taylor on offense with 66 yards and a couple of touchdowns. The Knights will miss Taylor on offense if he's unable to go, but they may sorely miss him on defense. Chatham was able to move the ball better toward the end of the contest, using misdirection and play-action.

One key component for Buckingham has been the punting of Michael Layman. For two consecutive weeks, he's managed to place punts inside the opponents' ten-yard-line. For a ground-based offense, that extra 10 or 15 yards can be a double-edged sword. Take care of the ball, and it could slowly demoralize a defense. Make a mistake, and it means the opponent will get the ball in decent field position.

The winner of this game will be in prime position for a home playoff game come November. The loser will have to fight to go on the road – perhaps for a rematch.

Last year: Buckingham 51, Manassas Park 0

Radio: none

Park View @ Prince Edward

7:30 p.m., Farmville

Prince Edward showed signs of improvement in its 28-7 loss to Southampton last week at home, and the Eagles will have to double those efforts this week if they hope to break out of an 0-4 start. Seven turnovers were crucial in PE's loss last week. That statistic can be looked at in two ways. It cost the Eagles a shot at a victory, but teams that lose the turnover battle 7-0 usually lose by more than three scores. For a program that's focusing on anything positive, the play of the defense – especially against the run – is a big plus.

Offensively, Prince Edward has been able to move the ball down the field early in the game and after halftime. The results have been mixed – either with scores or turnovers, but it does show that adjustments are being made, and they're somewhat effective. Last week, PE had a long drive on the ground that took about nine minutes off the third quarter clock, before it stalled in scoring position.

Park View edged Appomattox 15-14 last week – which is a big feather in the cap for the Southside District. A lead is not safe against the Dragons. They trailed 14-3 with a little over three minutes remaining in the game, before Park View scored twice to get the narrow victory. Appomattox helped the Dragons with two late interceptions, but they showed a quick strike capability in their two three-minute drill drives.

How things go for Prince Edward depends directly on the number of turnovers it has. Cut the number in half, while getting two or three of its own, and the game could be much closer than many would expect.

Last year: Park View 51, PE 0

Radio: WVHL 92.9 FM/

Clarke County @ Cumberland

7 p.m., Cumberland C.H.

When Clarke County defeated Cumberland 59-0 last year, CHS head coach Michael Sutton called the Eagles “perhaps most disciplined team he's ever seen.” A lot of names have changed for Clarke, which suffered heavy losses to graduation, but the discipline apparently hasn't.

Clarke hasn't skipped a beat. The Eagles are undefeated at 5-0, and are averaging 38 points per game offensively, while its stingy defense is allowing just 9.8 points on-average.

The Dukes will have their work cut out for them this week. But it's homecoming for Cumberland, and that may be the medicine a 1-4 team that is better than its record indicates.

The Dukes can move the ball through the air, at least. Junior wide-out Rashawn Sims has 29 catches on the season for 726 yards and eight touchdowns. Getting him the ball is quarterback Devonte Booker, who can be highly-effective when the rest of the receiving corps steps up. Running the ball continues to be a problem for the Dukes, who will need the upcoming off week to retool before the James River District schedule begins on October 15.

Cumberland committed six turnovers in its 39-12 loss to Nottoway last week. Clarke isn't the type of team to give up fumbles, so the Dukes will have to cut that number down to maybe one and score on nearly every possession.

Clarke will look to control the clock, but if the Dukes can survive the first quarter and maybe Clarke's first drive of the second quarter, the Dukes could frustrate a team that hasn't been challenged in three weeks.

Last year: Clarke 59, Cumberland 0

Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM

Hampden-Sydney @ Catholic

1 p.m., Saturday, Washington, DC

Hampden-Sydney moved up a spot in the American Football Coaches Association Division III poll to No. 22 after the Tigers outlasted Salisbury University 32-28 on the road last week.

Last week, Travis Lane returned to form, throwing for 383 yards and two touchdowns, mainly to Kyle Vance and Sean Cavanagh, who combined to haul in 17 passes for 228 yards and two scores. Sophomore tailback Evan King had a good outing in his first start with 76 yards and two touchdowns.

The Tigers kept a couple of streaks alive in the victory, running its consecutive regular-season win streak to 14 games, winning its 15th-straight against non-conference foes and its 17th-straight on the road.

For the second straight season, the Tigers will travel to Washington, DC to face the Cardinals.

Conference games begin this week, and the ODAC has posted a good out-of-conference overall record of 18-7, which includes an 0-3 mark by Guilford.

Catholic is 2-2 after falling to Albright College 41-31 last week. Quarterback Greg Cordivari and receiver Alonzo Cooke connected on five scoring plays, but Albright was able to out-score the high-powered Cardinals.

The Tigers have proven to be rather stingy on defense, but more importantly they have been able to come up with the big play. Senior free safety Bill Doody continues to press for the school record in career interceptions. His 17 is just three shy of the record.

The Cardinals usually play H-SC head coach Marty Favret pretty tough – especially recently. Two years ago Catholic upset the Tigers in Hampden-Sydney, and made the Tigers work for a 21-7 victory in DC last year.

Last year: H-SC 21, Catholic 7

Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM/