Dukes Fall At Central

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An impressive opening drive by the Cumberland High School football team in last Friday night's game at Central of Lunenburg was quickly forgotten as the Dukes fell to the Chargers in Victoria 36-8.

For the first time in a little over a month, Cumberland (1-4, 0-2) was playing with the services of senior receiver Rashawn Sims. It paid off instantly. The Dukes scored on a time-consuming opening drive on a 30-yard touchdown strike from Devonta Booker to Sims. A two-point conversion by Ben Ricker put them ahead 8-0 with around three minutes to go in the first quarter.

Central, which also runs a deliberate offense, drove down the field and scored in the second quarter on a sweep to trail 8-7. Cumberland then fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, and gave the Chargers the ball on the Dukes' 35 yard-line. The Chargers capitalized on the CHS miscue with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to take a 15-8 lead.

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Cumberland moved the ball on its second offensive possession, but was forced to punt.

Central drove back down the field with another time-consuming drive and scored just before the half to take a 22-8 lead at the break.

“It was an impressive way to begin the game,” said CHS head coach Mike Sutton. “We marched down the field and scored, but again, we let that adversity bug bite us when Central scored and then recovered the fumble on the kickoff.”

The Chargers scored on their opening drive of the third quarter to extend their lead to 29-8, and Cumberland was unable to answer. Central tacked on its last score in the fourth quarter.

Booker was 5-8 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 11 times for 68 yards. Sims had two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown, and Winbush had two grabs for 27 yards.

Defensively, Justus Dowdy led the Dukes with 14 tackles and a fumble recovery. Arthur Byrd and Robert O'Conner had 11 tackles apiece.

“I stress each day that we're going to face challenges, but we have to continue to play and not hit the panic button. Now, we have to turn our focus to Bluestone.”

The Dukes will host homecoming on Friday night at 7 p.m.

“Our challenge is for our guys to stay focused and not get caught up in the homecoming hype. We can't overlook the Barons.”