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Knights Cruise Past Dukes In Battle Of Route 60

Buckingham County High School showed it wasn't looking past Cumberland last Friday in The Battle of Route 60. The Knights, who are averaging over 48 points per game, wasted little time in building a comfortable lead en route to a 63-20 victory.

“We executed well offensively,” said Buckingham County head coach Craig Gill. “They changed their defense up a little bit, but we were able to adjust. Cumberland is a good team. Mike [Sutton] has done a good job there. They're young, but they're coming along. It's just a tough district this year.”

Buckingham scored on its first possession after recovering a fumbled kickoff on a pooch kick.

“Cumberland has scored first on every team they've played, except for Goochland,” said Gill. “With this being a rivalry game, we knew we couldn't give them anything at the start.”

“Poor tackling killed us,” said CHS head coach Mike Sutton. “We tried to do a lot of arm tackling, and you can't do that against a team that has athletes who lift weights.”

Buckingham rode the quick start to a 35-0 lead at the half. Cumberland tried to cut into the lead early in the third quarter when Justus Dowdy broke open a 60-yard run, but he was caught on the five-yard-line. The Dukes were unable to capitalize on the big play, and after turning the ball over on downs, gave up a 95-yard run to BCHS sophomore tailback Kenneth Johnson.

The Dukes were able to get on the board with two touchdown passes from Bo Winbush to Rashawn Sims.

“We were out-muscled,” said Sutton. “It's pretty simple. Their kids lift all through the year. We have athletes just like they do, but they lift weights, and over time they get stronger.”

Johnson led the Buckingham offense on the ground with 206 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Senior quarterback Tarian Ayers rushed 12 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Kyree Koonce, who was battling an ankle injury, rushed seven times for 48 yards.

Ayers was 5-14 passing for 93 yards and two touchdowns to Cam Johnson and Jesse Hickman.

Defensively, Laysean Hearns had seven tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, an interception and a pass deflection. Devin Smith tallied eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, while Tariq Bartee had eight tackles and two forced fumbles.

Cumberland was led in rushing by Dowdy, who had 64 yards on six carries. Devonta Booker gained 47 yards and scored a touchdown on 11 rushing attempts. Quarterback Bo Winbush was 7-19 passing for 171 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Rashawn Sims had five catches for 149 yards, including two touchdown receptions.

Defensively, Cumberland was led by Dowdy, who had eight total tackles, and Arthur Byrd, who tallied seven.

Cumberland, which played its final home game of the season on Friday night, will travel to Amelia this Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“It's a game against another team that's where we want to be,” said Sutton. “They hit hard on defense and are quick on offense. But the kids know there's still a lot to play for, and that's encouraging.”

Meanwhile, Buckingham will host Amelia on Friday at 7 p.m. in a game that has both James River District title and playoff seeding implications.

“It's going to be a big one,” said Gill. “Goochland is a team that has no weaknesses. Defensively, they're as sound as anyone we've seen, and they have developed a passing game to go along with a very solid rushing game.”

Next week, Goochland will face Amelia. Should Buckingham defeat Goochland this week, and Goochland defeat Amelia next week, the three teams could wind up sharing the James River District title.

“Our goal is to win the district championship,” said Gill. “We can't worry about anybody else. No matter what, we're wanting to get a good seed in the playoffs so we're able to host some games.”