District play is in full swing across the area. Central of Lunenburg is at Buckingham, Cumberland is at Goochland, Prince Edward is at Brunswick and Fuqua is at Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot.
Friday's James River District contest between Buckingham and Central of Lunenburg will be a stark contrast of styles, pitting the Knights' more balanced spread option offense against Central's tight, double-wing formation.
Buckingham head coach Craig Gill warns against looking at Central's 1-2 record in the JRD and chalking it up as an easy victory.
“The two losses are to Goochland and Amelia,” said Gill. “The Lunenburg of old is back. They're good, and we're going to have to be ready.”
With the exception of one game, the Knights have been ready all season. In all five of their victories, Buckingham has scored on its first possession. In last week's victory over Randolph-Henry, Buckingham scored on its first play from scrimmage when Kenneth Johnson broke open a 60-yard run to give the Knights an advantage mere seconds into the game.
In the game, Buckingham rushed for 389 yards and Tarian Ayers threw for 161 yards. Add in 135 return yards, and the Knights moved the ball for a combined 685 yards on the night.
The Chargers will have to dominate the time of possession, and take care of the football. If Buckingham gets a three-score lead, it will be an early night. If not, the Chargers will show everyone why Gill is concerned.
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Prince Edward and the rest of the Southside District got an early-season present from The Greensville Eagles when they beat Southampton in the Southside District opener. The Indians looked to be the odds-on favorites to win the league. They still may, but if the Prince Edward Eagles have their way, it could go down to the last week of the season.
It hasn't been a good year for the Southside District. Two teams – Park View (4-2) and Southampton (3-3) – have winning records. The other three – Brunswick, Greensville and Prince Edward – are each 1-5. Even so, the district race is now wide-open with Greensville's upset victory over Southampton.
Brunswick completed its non-district portion of the schedule with an upset victory of its own last week when the Bulldogs outlasted previously undefeated Group A power Sussex Central 12-8.
Prince Edward got a big night from Ralick Lockett in last week's loss to Park View. The senior tailback picked up a rushing touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and returned the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. The Eagles will need a similar effort this week. One thing Prince Edward is going to have to do is take care of the football. The Eagles have turned the ball over 15 times thus far this season (10 interceptions, five fumbles). To the credit of the PE defense, the Eagles have forced 14 turnovers (10 fumbles, four interceptions).
Prince Edward last defeated Brunswick in the 2008 season. The Eagles will have to hold onto the ball if they're serious about ending that streak on Friday.
The last time Cumberland played Goochland, the Dukes celebrated with a victory over the Bulldogs and the school's first-ever James River District title. If Cumberland can run its win streak over Goochland to two games, the Dukes will be celebrating a big upset victory.
Last week, the Dukes had no trouble with Bluestone – winning 55-8. A victory by a large margin was expected, but there are a couple of reasons for optimism. Reserve quarterback Bo Winbush moved behind center for the first time in a starting role, which put senior signal-caller Devonta Booker out on the wide side of the field as a compliment to Rashawn Sims on the other side. It seemed to pay off instantly, as Winbush threw for three touchdowns in his first five completions of the night. The Dukes used their speedy receivers on the ground, running sweeps and other wrinkles to keep the Barons off balance.
Will that work against Goochland? Probably not as well, but it does allow Cumberland to take full advantage of its speed and athleticism.
The Dukes switched some things up on defense as well, which also seemed to work. All-in-all it was a good night for the Dukes, and not just because they picked up a victory. A lot would've had to go wrong for the Dukes to lose that game. However, the changes do give the Dukes hope as they enter a very tough four-game stretch of Goochland, Buckingham, Amelia and Nottoway.
Goochland is one of, if not the best team in the state. Things could get ugly, and the Bulldogs are clear-cut favorites. However, Cumberland does have enough speed to match the Bulldogs in several areas. Things would have to fall right for the Dukes, but with a renewed enthusiasm, if one or two things do fall in Cumberland's favor early-on, the Dukes will likely push Goochland more than most think they will.
The Fuqua School Falcons had the distinct pleasure of meeting Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot's football team twice last season. The good news was that it did mean that the Falcons were playing for the VISFA Division IV State Championship. The bad news was that the Knights were about as good as any team in the state – regardless of division or sanctioning body. It translated into two lopsided losses for a Fuqua team that handed out several lopsided decisions of its own in 2010.
Fuqua enters Friday night's game coming off two straight losses to Division III opponents. The Falcons were shut out by Fredericksburg Christian 28-0 last week. It's not going to get any easier this week, but Fuqua may get a couple injured players for Friday's game.
Fredericksburg Christian did contain Charles Williams about as well as he's been contained since…the last time Fuqua played Blessed Sacrament.
Williams needs to have a career night this week for the Falcons to get back on track in Powhatan. Yep, it's the most obvious thing you've read all week, but it's that simple. The bigger the night Williams has, the more things will open up for Fuqua's passing game and senior tailback Larry Haskins, as all will have to be equally up to the task.
If BS-Huguenot gets a large lead, the question will become how long should the Falcons keep their starters in the game? The next two weeks are crucial to Fuqua's playoff hopes, as five teams are battling for four playoff spots.
The Falcons will need to be as healthy as possible for their upcoming games against fellow playoff hopefuls Roanoke Catholic and Hampton Christian.
(VISFA Title Game) BS-Huguenot 41, Fuqua 6
Standing at 2-0 in the ODAC for the fifth consecutive season, Hampden-Sydney (5-1, 2-0) will hit the road to face the Wasps of Emory & Henry College (4-2, 1-1) this Saturday.
While the Tigers are coming off of a 28-14 win over Bridgewater College, the Wasps fell 17-14 to defending ODAC Champion Washington & Lee on a last second 40-yard field goal.
The Tigers were led last week by Kirk Rohle who netted 181 yards of offense and two touchdowns. For the Wasps, free safety Tyler Houk was named the ODAC Defensive Player of the Week after tallying an ODAC-high 15 tackles and an interception.
Last season, Hampden-Sydney took a 48-10 decision on Homecoming at Everett Stadium. The last time the two teams met in Emory, the Tigers took a 23-12 win en route to a 10-0 season.
Though the Tigers have had the recent success, Emory and Henry still leads the series 36-31 and holds the biggest margin of victory of 54 points (68-14 in 1968).
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