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Dukes' Loss To Cougars Dashes Playoff Hopes

With a shot at the playoffs still within their reach, the Cumberland High School football team was unable to secure a postseason bid with a 47-32 loss at Nottoway.

As has been the case for much of the season, the Dukes started out with a quick start, but were unable to sustain their early momentum.

“We couldn't get going after the first quarter,” said CHS head coach Mike Sutton. “We lost [Justus] Dowdy, and that hurt us on both sides of the ball, but we also couldn't stop their quarterback.”

Nottoway surprised Cumberland by going to a spread attack.

“You just don't think of Nottoway as a spread team. We haven't seen it all year, and when they went spread against us, it threw us off. It was almost an exact copy of the Amelia game. Both quarterbacks had big games.”

Cumberland scored three times in the first quarter, but still trailed 22-18.

“It was neck-and-neck,” said Sutton. “They kept going and we stalled.”

Cumberland, which was 14th in the VHSL Group A, Division 1 East Section Power Poll entering Friday's game dropped to 17th, one spot shy of the playoffs.

“There were a lot of scenarios that didn't happen for us, but it starts with our game. We could've taken care of everything by winning. We didn't get it done. We didn't get it done all year. This is a great bunch of seniors. I hate to see them go out like this.”

Quarterback Bo Winbush was 16-26 for 227 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Devonta Booker led the Dukes on the ground with 72 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Dowdy had 44 yards on six carries, before injury forced him from the game.

Booker also led the Dukes' receiving corps with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Ben Ricker had three grabs for 68 yards and a touchdown. Rashawn Sims had five catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. Booker also had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Defensively, Dowdy led the Dukes with six tackles (three solo), while Arthur Byrd and Winbush had five apiece.

It wasn't the season Cumberland was hoping for by a long shot.

“I think this shows us the importance of lifting,” said Sutton. “This team had success on the JV level, and the reason other schools have jumped us is because their players lift.”

Cumberland will have some holes to fill in the offseason, but the hope for continued improvement is there.

“Our JV team went 6-4, and 5-2 in the district, with the two losses coming to Buckingham and Goochland. It's going to be tough again. We've got the same, exact schedule, and the JRD will be the top district again. These teams aren't going to get any worse.

“Compared to last season, we had more close games. We've got to close those. One more win anywhere on this schedule, and we're playing this Friday night.”