Published 4:30 pm Thursday, September 29, 2011
If not for the final horn blowing on Fuqua School's 38-14 victory over Isle of Wight last year, Charles Williams may still be running. Williams, who rushed for 302 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries (15.9 ypc.) helped the Falcons claim a victory over a program that has been a thorn in their side for most of the decade.
Isle of Wight was suffering through a down year in 2010 – that is if you can call a 5-4 record suffering. However, the Chargers appear to have righted the ship, and enter Friday's contest with a 2-1 record. Following a 28-21 loss to Bishop Sullivan Catholic, IWA rebounded with a 14-9 victory over Portsmouth Christian, and followed it up with a 47-19 win over Kenston Forest.
Due to the rain last Friday, Isle of Wight's home game against Brunswick Academy was postponed last week until October 28.
Isle of Wight has runs about as balanced of an offense as any team generally runs in the VISFA ranks. The Chargers are averaging just a little over 200 yards on the ground and 120 yards passing per game. Quarterback Ben Epps is 21-37 passing for 361 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Epps can also pull the ball down and run. He has 140 yards on 18 carries. Zeb Warnick has shouldered most of the workload on the ground for the Chargers, though they do spread ball-carrying duties among about six different players. Warnick has 210 yards and three touchdowns on 37 touches.
Matt Bratton has eight catches for 81 yards and three touchdowns on the season, while Michael McGuire has eight grabs for 99 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons are also coming into this week's contest off an impromptu bye week. Fuqua is led by Williams, Carter Cunningham and Larry Haskins. Williams leads Fuqua with 469 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, while Haskins has 318 yards on the season with two rushing touchdowns. Cunningham, who missed the season-opener at Brunswick Academy, has completed 10 passes on 14 attempts for 211 yards and a touchdown.
It will be Hall of Fame night for the Falcons (note the late start time), so expect a large crowd not only for that, but to see one of the better match-ups in the VISFA ranks to date. Williams will likely have another big game, because he usually does, but victory won't come as easy as it did last year, if at all.
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The Buckingham Knights are probably still smarting a little after their 36-7 loss to Amelia County on Monday night. Not having the luxury of the weekend to get over it may be a positive.
It wasn't a pretty night for the Knights who will get no break this week with James River District newbie Nottoway on the homecoming schedule this Friday night.
Nottoway also played on Monday night, but had a much easier time against a much easier opponent in a 46-0 rout of Bluestone.
Nottoway has two things that all football coaches covet. A big line and a speedy tailback, along with a quarterback that can throw the ball. Quarterback Johnny Coombs passed for four touchdowns and ran for another score.
Buckingham managed just 166 yards on the evening against Amelia on Monday night. BC senior quarterback Tarian Ayers was 10-23 yards passing for just 63 yards, while the Knights' only score came on a 59 yard touchdown run by Kenneth Johnson in the third quarter.
Buckingham is too good of a team for its offense to be down too long, but it might take a little time for the Knights to regain their swagger. If Ayers can get a little time in the pocket, expect Buckingham to return to their high-scoring ways. If not, the game could be a tight one well into the night.
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The Cumberland Dukes did almost everything they wanted to do in last week's James River District opener against Randolph-Henry, except out-score their opponents.
The Dukes ran for over 400 yards, controlled the clock and drove the ball deep into Randolph-Henry territory several times, only to come up frustrated in the red zone. Randolph-Henry used three big plays to tough out a 26-20 victory.
Central of Lunenburg dropped a 46-13 decision at Goochland in a game that was played on Monday night.
“We did something different in our film study this week,” said Cumberland head coach Michael Sutton. “We let our guys scout Central on film and do what we do as coaches when we game plan. They had to write down plays, situations and assignments.”
There was hidden objective to the exercise, though walking a mile in someone else's shoes may have a benefit. The coaching staff wanted Cumberland players to get a feel for the Central offense.
“We can't replicate their offense with our scout team,” said Sutton. “They run a double-wing, foot-to-foot, with all the pulling linemen and tricks – the offense Prince Edward used to run. Hopefully, this will give them some perspective on what they'll be facing Friday night. It will probably still take them a series or two to get the feel for it.”
The Dukes are in need of a victory if they hope to get to the playoffs and win a game. Even with just one victory, Cumberland is in the expanded field, but barely. If the season were complete today, not only would it be the shortest on record, but the Dukes would have to travel to a powerhouse like Sussex Central in the first round. A win over a team like the Chargers who already have three wins would go a long way toward, not only getting into the playoffs, but improving the Dukes' seeding.
With Central's double-wing and Cumberland's Power “I”, one may want to make plans for later in the evening. There won't be a running clock from the get-go, but the game has the potential to go very, very quickly.
With an off week coming after Prince Edward's 13-12 upset victory over Rustburg two weeks ago, it would've been hard to blame anyone on the team. That wasn't the case at the first Monday practice after the victory. PECHS head football coach James Ford liked to hear his team already talking about Powhatan.
The Eagles are hungry. Powhatan cruised to a 63-0 victory in the final game of the 2010 season, and that should serve as motivation as they go against their now, non-district foes.
One thing that Ford stressed going into the bye week was that the team needed to keep building on the strides it has made.
“I want them to be pleased with the win,” said Ford. “But I don't want them to be satisfied. There is a difference, and I want them to recognize it.”
Powhatan is off to an uncharacteristic 2-2 start in 2010, but had a relatively easy time with a 33-6 victory over another former SSD foe Greensville last week.
Junior quarterback Davon Adams is 25-63 passing for 382 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions, but has proven that he can hit the big play on a couple of occasions this year.
For the first time since the second week of the season, the Eagles should be healthy with both backs ready to go in the backfield. Jakeem Eddins has rushed 29 times for 265 yards (88.3 ypg.) and a touchdown, while Ralick Lockett has rushed 24 times for 215 yards (71.7 ypg.). The Eagles will quickly find out how much progress they've made over the open week. A victory may be a stretch, but an improved effort over their 2010 result, will go a long way toward building confidence as they head into the Southside District portion of the schedule.
Hampden-Sydney (3-1) is gearing up to host the Cardinals of the Catholic University of America (3-0) this Saturday to open up the conference schedule. While the Tigers are coming off of a long road trip to Montgomery, Alabama, the Cardinals will be well rested coming off their bye week.
Saturday will mark the 21st meeting between the two schools with Hampden-Sydney holding an 11-9 advantage, including a 9-2 record in the Favret Era. The last Catholic win came 33-21 in 2008, which is the last time it visited Everett Stadium. In the Cardinal's last game, they took a dramatic 29-28 win over Carnegie Mellon. It marked the third come from behind victory for the nation's leading passing offense at 373.7 yards-per-game.
Though Catholic is leading the nation, Hampden-Sydney is not far behind at third in the country with 366 yards through the air every Saturday. The Tigers are coming off their first loss of 2011 with a 34-27 loss to Huntingdon.
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