Knights Rally Past Manassas Park

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Though the Buckingham County High School football team has yet to play an in-district football contest, Friday night's 20-17 victory over previously undefeated Manassas Park carried a lot of weight for the Knights, who remained undefeated with the come-from-behind victory.

Buckingham rallied from a deficit three times in the victory.

“It was a tough game, and a tough situation for us,” said BCHS head coach Craig Gill. “They had two weeks to prepare for us, and we walked into a hornet's nest. I was really proud of the way our young men kept their composure, and battled back from being down three times.”

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Trailing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, senior tailback Maurice Taylor, showed no signs of suffering from a dislocated left thumb injury he suffered in Buckingham's victory over Chatham on September 24.

Taylor returned Manassas Park's go-ahead touchdown to midfield, and a few plays later put the Knights ahead for good on a 26-yard touchdown run with six minutes left in the game.

The Knights' defense then stopped the much larger Manassas Park offense on the ensuing series, drove down inside the MPHS ten-yard-line, and downed the ball to kill the final minute to escape with the narrow victory.

“To be honest, we don't match up very well against them,” said Gill. “They're like an old version of us. They're big across the front line, have a couple of bruising backs, and control the clock. We were able to battle through that, and in the end, we seemed to hit another gear.

“The emphasis we've put on conditioning after the opening week really paid off for us on Friday. It was a cool night. Still, by the end of the game, you could see that we were the fresher of the two teams.”

Manassas Park used most of the third quarter to score on an 80-yard drive to put the Cougars ahead 7-0, but Buckingham answered with a Maurice Taylor five-yard touchdown run to close to within a point at 7-6.

Just before the half, Manassas Park drove inside the Buckingham five-yard-line, but was forced to settle for a field goal, and go into the intermission with a 10-6 lead.

Buckingham made some adjustments at the half, and started to play better on both sides of the ball. It paid off almost immediately, when Tarian Ayers hit LA Briley for a 40-yard touchdown to put BC ahead for the first time at 13-10.

Manassas Park used its size advantage to bruise its way back down the field to re-take the lead at 17-13, before Taylor's two key late runs put BC ahead for good.

“I was proud of the way we maintained our composure and how we responded to the adjustments our coaching staff made at halftime.”

Taylor led the Knights offensively with 193 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns, while Ayers was 7-13 passing for 114 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Briley had two catches for 48 yards and a touchdown, while Caleb White had four catches for 34 yards and Landon Allen had one grab for 32 yards.

Defensively, Michael Layman led the Knights with 12.5 tackles, while Taylor had 12 tackles, with two coming for a loss. Caderious Bowles had ten tackles, while Cam Johnson and Laysean Hearns had eight and five stops respectively.

Buckingham enters the first of two bye weeks, and will begin district play on October 15 at Cumberland. Gill said that the off week will be used to heal and prepare for the four JRD games.

“We're relatively healthy. Just the bumps and bruises you get after six weeks of football games. We have some things we need to work on, as the toughest four games still lie ahead.

“This district has proven to be real tough this year in the non-district games, and we'll need to continue to improve each time out.”