Slow Start Buries Dukes At Appomattox

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cumberland High School head coach Michael Sutton warned of the dangers of a slow start following the Dukes' victory over Prince Edward on September 2.

The team learned a much more stern lesson last Friday in a 41-0 loss at Appomattox.

After giving up a touchdown on the opening drive on a 37-yard run by Appomattox quarterback Josh Wilson, Cumberland (1-1) was flagged three times on its first offensive possession to pin the Dukes deep in their territory. Wilson quickly put the Raiders up by two scores with a punt return for a touchdown.

“Before we knew it, we were down by 14 after only five minutes of play,” said CHS head coach Michael Sutton. “This game is a clear example of what I was talking about last week. We have got to learn to come out of the gate ready to play, or it will get us, and it got us.”

Appomattox (2-1) held a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter, and scored three more times to take a 41-0 lead at the intermission.

“We continued to struggle stopping the option,” said Sutton. “Our defenders were there, but they missed tackles. Offensively, we couldn't get things going on the ground in the first half.”

Things did get better for the Dukes in the second half.

“At halftime, I didn't ask the kids for a miraculous comeback. All I wanted was to put together a solid drive to show Appomattox that we don't quit. The kids did that.”

The drive didn't end in a score, but Sutton said that he did see a much better effort out of the lines.

“Defensively, I was pleased with our effort in the second half. Most would assume that Appomattox's reserves played the entire second half, but they came in late in the fourth quarter, so I feel like we regrouped during halftime and played the way we were supposed to play in the second half. “

Devonta Booker was 4-8 passing for 43 yards, while Justus Dowdy led Cumberland on the ground with 87 yards on 11 carries. He also had two catches for 33 yards. Dajon Booker had 42 yards on 11 carries, while Ke'Ron Langhorne had 16 yards on five touches.

On defense, Robert O'Conner led the Dukes with eight tackles and a sack, while Martin Sustaita had five tackles.

“It's hard to find positives in a blowout, but the most important key is that we didn't quit. Robert O'Conner really stepped in and had a great game defensively, and Dajon Booker was impressive as well, but his youth got to him with two fumbles in the second half.

“Still, We've got to tackle and block better in the first half of play.”

Cumberland will host Altavista on Friday night at 7 p.m.