Knights Get Another Shot At Gretna In Region B Title Game

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, November 25, 2010

Since its 28-22 overtime loss to Gretna in the Region B, Division 2 Semifinals last year, the Buckingham County High School football team has been shooting for a rematch with the Hawks.

Friday night at 6 p.m., they're going to get their wish, as Buckingham returns to the site of their final game in 2009.

“We've been looking forward to this game for over 365 days now,” said BCHS senior tailback Maurice Taylor minutes following the Knights' 7-0 victory over Clarke County last Friday night. “It's been a goal of ours to get another shot at them.”

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The motivation of the playoffs, and how Buckingham finished the season with two less than stellar performances in the final two weeks of the regular season has made practice more spirited.

“They had to pull us off of each other on Wednesday,” added Taylor. “We were hitting extra hard.”

The Knights, who have won 22 of their last 24 games stood tough on defense in last week's game against Clarke. They turned the Eagles away on downs four times, three times in the red zone.

“They played with a lot of heart,” said BCHS head coach Craig Gill, “and they found a way to win.”

The Knights will need a similar performance against a Gretna team that offers a totally different set of challenges.

The Hawks are led by dual threat quarterback senior Nick Miller, who leads the Hawks with 1,516 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing on the season on 164 carries. He's completed 80 passes on 138 attempts for 1,299 yards this season and has thrown for ten touchdowns.

Junior Tony Miller has 32 receptions for 552 yards and five touchdowns, while Joe McGee has 26 catches for 460 yards and four touchdowns.

Junior running back Kevin Moorman has 541 yards on 75 carries and nine touchdowns on the season.

As a team, the Hawks are averaging 38.5 points per contest, while giving up 10.5 ppg. Those averages include a 31-0 loss to Liberty Christian Academy in the first week of the season. Dan River played the Hawks to a 26-28 defeat in a non-district counting game in week two. Since the first of October, the Hawks have won their games (including its 40-10 district victory over Dan River) by an average score of 44-7. Last week, Gretna easily dispatched of fourth-seed Manassas Park 41-7.

“Their offensive line is larger than it was last year, and their quarterback was a little banged up last year,” said Gill. “He's at full-strength now, and he can run as well as pass. Their tailback graduated, but they really haven't missed a beat, so it's going to be a tough challenge for us.”

Buckingham's numbers, though not eye-popping, are quite solid, and are good enough for the Knights to be playing in their first post-Thanksgiving game since the 2002 season.

BCHS is averaging 26.9 points per game, while the Knights are giving up 11.5 ppg.

Taylor leads the Knights offensively with 1,945 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns on 253 attempts. As a team, the Knights have 2,307 yards on the season.

Junior quarterback Tarian Ayers is 84-159 for 1,207 yards on the season with ten touchdowns and four interceptions. LA Briley leads three receivers with 29 catches for 503 yards and seven touchdowns on the season, while Caleb White has 27 grabs for 319 yards and a touchdown. Camre Johnson has 20 receptions for 316 yards and three touchdowns.

Last week, Taylor provided a new wrinkle to the BCHS offense, as he led the team in receptions with three catches for 37 yards.

Defensively, Buckingham is led by Michael Layman, who has 64.5 tackles on the season. He has 21 assists, four tackles for a loss, a sack, two forced fumbles, two fumble returns and an interception.

Jackson Bryant has 49.5 tackles from his defensive end position, nine tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, a blocked kick and a defensive touchdown, while Caderious Bowles has 44.5 tackles, 6.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. Taylor has tallied 42 tackles, with eight for a loss and three fumble recoveries.

As a team, Buckingham has forced 22 turnovers (11 fumbles and 11 interceptions).

“We had two turnovers in last week's game and got away with it,” said Gill. “We'll have to be perfect on Friday night. We're not going to do anything different, though. Some teams change up how they approach games with Gretna. We're not going to do that. We're going to go down there and do what we've always done, and do it as well as we can.”