It's been a long time since Gilmer Field hosted a football game – almost ten months. It's been even longer since it hosted the Broadwater Vikings – over 11 years.
Despite playing in the same division of football, the Vikings paid a visit to Gilmer Field on September 1, 2000 when they defeated Fuqua 6-0. The last meeting between the two teams was in the 2007 VISFA Division III Semifinals – a game won by the Vikings 41-6.
The distance between the two schools was the main reason the series was cancelled. This game wasn't originally on the schedule, but when Tidewater, Southampton and Walsingham elected not to fill varsity football squads just before the season, about every private school across the Commonwealth scrambled to find games.
Fuqua (2-0) enters the contest after an open week. A bye this early in the season isn't usually viewed as an opportunity for a team to get healthy, but the Falcons were banged up before the season, and needed the time off to get back close to full song.
Junior quarterback Carter Cunningham returned to the lineup against Kenston Forest two weeks ago to bolster the offensive backfield of senior QB/tailback Charles Williams and Larry Haskins. It seemed to work, as the Falcons had no trouble with the Kavaliers on the road. Williams rushed for 211 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries, while Haskins gained 145 yards on 14 touches.
The two teams share one common opponent so far. Fuqua defeated Brunswick Academy 20-7 in the season's opening week. Broadwater (1-1) fell to Brunswick 14-0 in the second week, and defeated Carlisle 28-21 last Saturday.
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In their two games thus far, the Buckingham County Knights have proven that they don't waste any time. In the Knights' season-opener against Appomattox, it took Buckingham 55 seconds to score its first touchdown. Against Prince Edward last week, it took just 89 seconds to score. Teams that win the coin flip may want to think twice about deferring.
Buckingham senior quarterback Tarian Ayers is 19-31 passing for 279 yards on the season. However, he's proven to be just as dangerous for defenses on his feet – especially around the goal line. He's rushed 19 times for 118 yards (6.6 yards per carry), but seven of his rushes have been for touchdowns. Kenneth Johnson and Kyree Koonce have been as explosive. Johnson has rushed 16 times for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Koonce has rushed for 113 yards on just eight carries and has two touchdowns. Landon Allen leads the Knights in receiving with seven catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
The Knights (2-0) have been efficient. In their 48-14 victory over Prince Edward last week, they ran just 25 plays from scrimmage, and did not have to attempt a punt.
The Battle of the Bridge will be Buckingham's first road test of the season. The Flucos are 1-2 on the season with a season-opening victory over Prince Edward (33-22) followed by a pair of losses to Goochland (46-7) and Spotsylvania (26-10), respectively.
Buckingham will be going for its fifth-straight victory over their neighbors to the north. Barring anything unexpected, they should be going for six next year.
Last week's 41-0 loss to Appomattox, was a game the Cumberland Dukes would just as soon forget. One positive they can draw on is that they did hold the Raiders scoreless in the second half. Little consolation, considering that they were unable to get on the board themselves, but it does show that Cumberland is able to make adjustments at halftime.
The first half, is a different story. Cumberland will need to fix that by the time Altavista visits CHS on Friday night. The Colonels (2-1) throttled James River Buchanan 42-0 last week, and defeated Randolph-Henry 50-20 in the first week of the season. Altavista lost to William Campbell 42-14 in Week Two in what counts as a non-district contest.
Cumberland (1-1) is averaging 167 yards per contest on the ground, and 94 through the air. Devonta Booker has completed 11 of 20 passes on the season with a touchdown and an interception. The Dukes are led on the ground by tailback Justus Dowdy, who is averaging 79.5 yards per game, and has two touchdowns so far on the season.
Last year's contest was a high-scoring one, where the two teams combined to put up 105 points. Cumberland, which has moved into the “I” formation would like to cut that number in half with time-consuming drives, but if the Dukes get off to a slow start, they may be forced into a game that's faster than they wanted. The lower the combined score, the better for the Dukes.
Nobody can say that the Prince Edward Eagles are ducking competitive competition in their non-district schedule. Last week the Eagles faced one of the top teams in Group A in a 48-14 loss to Buckingham. Friday night, Rustburg, one of the better teams in Group AA, pays a visit to Farmville.
Though the score didn't necessarily reflect it, there were some positives in last week's loss to Buckingham that the Eagles (0-3) can take into this week. Prince Edward controlled the clock. Granted, it didn't take Buckingham long to score, but the Eagles were able to do so without tailback Jakeem Eddins, who was injured. Ralick Lockett shouldered most of the running responsibility, and was quite effective in the first half. He wasn't as effective in the second half, but if Eddins is able to return this week, it should help spread out the workload.
Lockett leads the Eagles on the ground with 215 toal yards on 24 carries (8.96 yards per carry, 71.7 yards per game), but has no touchdowns thus far. Eddins has 158 yards on 14 carries (11.29 ypc.) and just one touchdown. Tavon Adams is 19-43 passing for 280 yards with a passing touchdown (two rushing) and four interceptions.
It will be a tall task for the Eagles to pull the upset over a Rustburg (2-1) team that is giving up just 15.67 points per game thus far, including a 21-20 loss to Tunstall. Last week, the Red Devils defeated Allegheny 35-13, and topped cross-county rival William Campbell 38-13 in the opening week of the season.
After two big victories to start the season, #23 Hampden-Sydney (2-0. 0-0) is preparing to face the Panthers of Ferrum College (0-1, 0-0) this Saturday at Everett Stadium on Family Weekend. After two weeks, the Tigers are leading all of Division III in scoring with an average of 59.5 points-per-game.
Last week, Hampden-Sydney downed North Carolina Wesleyan 56-17 while racking up 552 yards of total offense. Ferrum College is coming off of its bye week but took a 41-12 loss to Emory & Henry in its season opener.
Saturday marks the first time these two programs will meet on the gridiron. Ferrum was picked to finish third in the USA South – just behind NC Weslyan – in the preseason coaches poll after a 4-6 record in 2010.
This season, the Panthers are being led by 2010 USA South Offensive Player of the Year Marcus Mayo. In the Panthers' season opener against Emory & Henry, the senior quarterback threw for 183 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while also rushing for a team-high 73 yards.
The Tiger attack is being led by senior quarterback Travis Lane who was recently named the ODAC Player of the Week and earned a spot on the D3football.com and Beyond Sports Network Teams of the Week. Lane is working with a 77.4 percent completion mark with ten touchdowns to just one interception.
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