Knights Surge Past Central
When Buckingham fell behind in the third quarter of its home game against Central of Lunenburg on Saturday night, it was only the second time all season that the Knights have trailed in a game all season.
The first, was in their blowout loss to Amelia. Determined to not let that happen again, Buckingham refocused to score 30 unanswered points en route to a 49-21 victory over the Chargers.
“I think that woke us up,” said BCHS head coach Craig Gill of a third-quarter interception by Central that was returned for a touchdown to put the Chargers ahead 21-19. “Our seniors really stepped up. They came over to the sidelines, and were very vocal about getting our acts together.”
It took the Knights two plays to retake the lead. Sophomore tailback Kenneth Johnson gave Buckingham the lead for good with a 45-yard touchdown run to give BCHS a 27-21 lead after the two-point conversion.
That turn in momentum was the spark Buckingham needed. With 9:48 remaining in the game, Kyree Koonce scored on a five-yard touchdown run, and Cam Johnson converted the two-point conversion.
Seconds later, senior quarterback Tarian Ayers, who was playing in the defensive secondary, intercepted and returned a 60-yard pass to put the game out of reach, given Central's methodical, time consuming offense.
Koonce added a late touchdown on a 30-yard run for the final score of the game.
“I was really proud in what we were able to do,” said Gill. “Central is a good ball team. They're well coached, and they do what they do very well, but I'm proud of the defense. They bent, but they didn't break.”
Knowing that Central runs a tight, double-wing offense, Buckingham began the game with a successful onside kick that eventually turned into a score when Ayers hit Landon Allen for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the Central nine.
Central tied the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter, but Buckingham took the lead with two second quarter scores, the first by Koonce on an 11-yard run, and the second on a 73-yard pass from Ayers to Briley.
Central scored with 4:46 left in the half to cut the lead to 19-14 at the break, before taking the lead early in the third quarter.
Kenneth Johnson led the Knights on the ground with 12 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. Koonce had 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 carries, while Ayers rushed 16 times for 100 yards.
Ayers was 8-18 for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Briley had four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown, while Allen had two grabs for 21 yards and a score.
Defensively, Tariq Bartee led the Knights with 14 and a half tackles. Cam Johnson had ten, and Ayers had eight tackles and the interception return for a touchdown. On the line, Cody Herndon had four tackles and a fumble recovery, while Daniel Braxton recorded four stops.
Buckingham will travel to Cumberland this Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff in the “Battle of Route 60.”