Buckingham Tops Central On Sr. Night

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Though it had already clinched a spot in the playoffs, the Buckingham County High School football team needed a victory in last Friday's regular-season finale against Central of Lunenburg for a number of reasons.

With a 24-20 victory over the Chargers, Buckingham was able to clinch a share of the James River District title, the No. 3 spot in the Region B, Division 2 Playoffs, and, perhaps most importantly, some needed confidence as the postseason begins.

“Central of Lunenburg is a very, very good team,” said BCHS head coach Craig Gill. “They had a lot to play for, and we knew we had to play our best if we were going to get a win, and that's what it took.”

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Buckingham scored the only points in the first half after senior tailback Maurice Taylor on a 12-yard run. The offenses opened up after halftime, as Central tailback Brandon Townsend quickly knotted the score at seven apiece on a run up the gut on the second play of the third quarter.

Buckingham junior quarterback Tarian Ayers, who was injured in the first quarter, came back in the third period to help move the Buckingham offense.

Ayers hit receiver Camre Johnson on a slant pass that moved the ball inside the Central ten-yard-line, and Johnson, who is the team's back-up quarterback, capped the drive with a one-yard dive into the endzone on a quarterback sneak.

Central again tied the game at 14-apiece, but Ayers, again, came up big for the Knights with 8:44 left to play on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Antonn Briley on fourth down to put the Knights ahead for good.

The Knights recovered a Central fumble and drove to the 11-yard line with under three minutes remaining. Kicker Russell Taylor connected on a 25-yard field goal to push Buckingham's lead to 24-14.

Central wasn't finished, and scored on a halfback option pass with 1:30 remaining to close to within four points, but the Chargers failed to score on a two-point conversion attempt and Buckingham recovered the onside kick and was able to kill the clock.

“We kept stressing to our team that this isn't the same Central team that they've seen for the last couple of years,” said Gill. “The tradition is returning, and I'm proud of the way our guys were able to get this win.”

Taylor led the Knights offensively with 205 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Ayers was 6-8 passing for 78 yards. Briley had four catches for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Johnson had two grabs for 37 yards.

Defensive end Jackson Bryant had 13 tackles and a sack on the night to lead the Knights.

“He played his best game of the season,” said Gill. “I'm really proud of the defense. They played hard.”

Michael Layman had eight tackles, two assists and an interception, Caderous Bowles had seven tackles and two assists, and Tariq Bartee six tackles.

Buckingham will advance to the Region B, Division 2 Playoffs, but despite having a 9-1 record, will have to go on the road in the first round. The Knights will travel to Clarke County (9-1), which defeated Madison County to finish in a three-way tie for the Bull Run District title with Madison and Manassas Park.

Clarke edged Buckingham for homefield by mere percentage points.

“We'd like to be hosting, but we're glad to still be playing. We'll have to get ready for another rushing attack. Clarke County is big, tough and fast. We'll surely have to play our best.”