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Friday Blitz

Buckingham @ Cumberland 7 p.m.

Cumberland C.H.

After a week off, the Buckingham Knights resume their football season with a 6-0 record. As of right now, that doesn't mean much. James River District play begins Friday night.

After a week off, the Cumberland Dukes resume their football season with a 1-5 record. As of right now, that doesn't mean much. James River District play begins Friday night.

Same story. Different records. Then, records mean nothing when it comes to the “Battle of Route 60.”

Based on the first month-and-a-half of the season, it's not a stretch to assume that Buckingham will run away with this year's renewal of the district's best rivalry. But when one looks deeper into the records, that's not necessarily the case.

In the Virginia High School League's rating system, teams get a certain number of points for winning games (16 over a A school, 20 over a AA school, and 24 over a AAA school). For losing a game, a team will also get points (four for an A, eight for a AA, and 12 for a AAA). Teams also get points for victories by those opponents (two for defeated opponents and one for a loss).

Buckingham has 104 points for its six victories, plus 26 rider points. Cumberland has 44 game points, and 22 bonus points. In other words, Buckingham's opponents have a combined win total of 13, while Cumberland's opponents have a combined total of 21.

The Knights should get a big contribution from Maurice Taylor, who had an extra week to rest his dislocated thumb he suffered in BC's victory over Chatham. Through six games, he's rushed for 904 yards and 11 touchdowns on 117 carries (150.7 per game, and 7.7 per carry).

The cliche is that defense wins games, and that's borne out in the Knights' results. Buckingham is giving up just 12 points per contest. With the exception of Buckingham's 28-22 overtime playoff loss to Gretna last year, the Knights haven't given up more than 20 points in a game since losing to Prince Edward on September 12, 2008. Offensively, BCHS is averaging 27.67 points per game, using a balanced attack with Taylor on the ground, and Tarian Ayers passes to LA Briley and Caleb White.

Cumberland lives on the pass. Especially the Devonte Booker to Rashawn Sims. Sims has 32 receptions for 805 yards and eight touchdowns. He's averaging 25.2 yards per catch. The Dukes haven't been able to get their running game going, until two weeks ago when Clarke basically focused on Booker and Sims.

Teams have been getting fast starts on Cumberland, some due in part to the inability of Cumberland's offense to control the clock. The Dukes are allowing 38.83 ppg., though are scoring at a clip of 23.34 ppg., mainly through the air.

Buckingham will want to end this one quickly. The Dukes are fighting for their postseason lives, and a victory over the Knights can not only give them a leg-up in the JRD race, but 28 VHSL ratings points alone.

So, yeah. The records don't matter. Throw them out and enjoy the game.

Last year: Buckingham 32, Cumberland 0

Radio: WVHL 92.9 FM/ www.wvhl.net

BS-Huguenot @ Fuqua 7 p.m.

Farmville/Gilmer Field

It's hard to imagine a game in the area that can live up to the Battle of Route 60, but in the Virginia Independent School ranks, there won't be a bigger game than Friday's contest at Fuqua School, as the Falcons host homecoming against Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot.

The winner will likely move up to the top spot in the VISFA Division IV ratings, and will have the inside track on gaining home-field advantage for the playoffs.

Yep. There's a lot riding on this game.

Offensively, the two teams compare quite favorably. Fuqua is averaging 39.16 points per game offensively, while BS-H is averaging 41 ppg. It's fair to mention that both teams have played games where the coaches have called off the dogs on offense in the second half. The Falcons are giving up a stingy 12.33 points per game on defense, but that looks highly generous against the Knights' defensive average yield of 5.33 ppg.

Fuqua is led by junior quarterback Charles Williams, who in just 64 carries, has rushed for 1,113 yards and 16 touchdowns. That computes out to an average of 185.5 ypg, and 17.4 yards per carry. He has a total of 20 touchdowns (three passing and one fumble return for a touchdown).

Junior Larry Haskins accounts for a good chunk of the remainder of Fuqua's scoring offense. He has 553 yards and ten touchdowns on 68 carries (92.2 ypg., 8.1 ypc.) He has 12 touchdowns on the season (one catch and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown).

BS-Huguenot has been equally impressive – though slightly more balanced. Deon Watts leads the Knights with 389 yards on 41 carries and ten touchdowns on the season. John Moore has 313 yards and eight touchdowns on 40 carries.

The teams are quite comparable across the board. The difference might be in the BS-H kicking game. Nathan Temple has 28 PATs and four field goals on the season.

Last year: BS-Huguenot 46, Fuqua 18

Radio: WFLO 95.7

Nottoway @ Prince Edward 7:30 p.m.

Farmville

The Prince Edward County Eagles got a needed confidence boost last week when they defeated Bluestone 29-14. Things get tougher this week, as Nottoway visits Farmville for homecoming.

The Cougars are back to their power-game ways, and it's paying off so far as they're in the hunt for a Region I Playoff berth. Nottoway (3-2, 1-1 Southside) defeated Park View 18-0 last week. Its two losses have, so far, proven to be pretty decent ones (a 34-13 loss to Amelia and a 31-13 setback to Powhatan). The Cougars have to be feeling that at least a good portion of the toughest part of their schedule is now behind them.

There should be a little more spring in the Eagles' steps this week. Nothing is more therapeutic than a victory, but it doesn't change the fact that most on the PE varsity roster are sophomores, and they'll face upperclassmen-heavy line-ups the rest of the season.

Prince Edward unveiled a heavy offensive package last week with bruising running backs Tyrek Goode (48 yards on 10 carries) and Isiah Davis (56 yards on eight carries). Expect to see more of the combination over the balance of the season and into the 2011 season. However, yards will be tougher to come by than they were last week, and savvy defensive linemen will be looking to create turnover opportunities against PE's new, but inexperienced, offensive weapons.

Prince Edward's defense played a good game against the run for the second straight week. Should the Eagles be able to continue the trend, they'll have a chance at an upset victory.

Much like in Buckingham's game against Cumberland. Nottoway will need to guard against giving Prince Edward a reason to get happy early-on. The longer this game is in doubt, the greater PE's chances are at having a happy homecoming.

Last year: Nottoway 32, Prince Edward 22

Radio: WBBC 93.5 FM

Emory & Henry @ Hampden-Sydney 1 p.m.

Everett Stadium

It's been a month since the Hampden-Sydney Tigers last hosted a game on the natural grass turf of Fulton Field at Hundley Stadium. So, Saturday's homecoming will be true in more than one sense of the word.

The schedule wasn't kind to the Tigers on this road stretch, but they were triumphant with three narrow victories over Salisbury, Catholic and Bridgewater.

The old days of scoring way more than enough points to win may be on a temporary hiatus for the Tigers, but what they have gotten has been certainly enough, as the H-SC is putting up 32.5 points per game, while only allowing 20.17 ppg.

Counting a forfeited victory over the Wasps in 2007, the Tigers have won eight straight over this week's opponent Emory & Henry, including last year's 23-12 victory at Emory.

The Wasps started the season 4-0, but has suffered consecutive in-league setbacks to Randolph-Macon (34-22) and Washington & Lee (45-24).

E&H rusher Cabel Jennings leads the league in rushing yards with 792, but for the second straight week, he was held to under 100 yards in last week's loss to the Generals.

Hobbled by several injuries, Hampden-Sydney still managed to wear down Bridgewater. The Eagles amassed 273 yards in the first half, but came to a grinding halt after the intermission against a suddenly stingy H-SC defense that shut out the Eagles in the second half, as the Tigers won their fourth game of the season by fewer than eight points.

Thomas McDonald provided the momentum change in the game early in the third quarter, when he recovered a high snap on the Bridgewater 12-yard-line.

Evan King secured the shift with a 12-yard touchdown to tie the contest at 17 apiece. Later, a Shane Clarke interception led to the Tigers' go-ahead touchdown.

Hampden-Sydney will need to be just as opportunistic against an E&H squad that will be staving off elimination from the ODAC Championship chase. Containing Jennings will be the key.

Last year: H-SC 23, E&H 12

Radio: WFLO 95.7 FM/ www.hsc.edu/athletics