Buckingham's Win Streak Ends At Central
The Buckingham County High School football team got a taste of its own medicine last Friday night in its game at Central of Lunenburg.
The Knights, who are used to getting off to quick starts, had to withstand one by the host Chargers. Buckingham proved it was able to take a punch from an opponent, but the Knights were unable to come back to score a knock out punch in a 27-14 loss.
“Central is the quickest team we've seen all year,” said BCHS head coach Craig Gill. “It's tough to win on the road. I don't care wherever you go, but they really take pride in defending their home field, and you have to play an almost perfect game if you hope to come out with a win.
“I wouldn't be surprised if they go on to win the State Championship in Division 1. They're very good.”
Buckingham has made a practice of quick first quarter starts. Oftentimes, the Knights are ahead 14-0 before fans have an opportunity to warm their seats, but this time it was Lunenburg that jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
The potential for another big start for Buckingham was thwarted when a 50-yard run by Kenneth Johnson was called back for a penalty. Central gained possession after a punt and drove back down the field for a touchdown, aided by three long runs. Buckingham appeared to answer with a long return on the ensuing kickoff, but after the sizeable run, a fumble by the Knights was recovered by the Chargers. It didn't take long for Central to go ahead 14-0.
“I thought he was down by contact,” said Gill, “but maybe they had a better angle. Our job is to stop them.”
Johnson scored on a touchdown run just before the half to cut Central's lead to 14-7.
“I really felt good at that point,” said Gill. “We walked into a hornet's nest and withstood their start. Then we came back with one of our own, but they came out in the third quarter and really put things away with a long drive.”
The Chargers went on a drive that took up most of the third quarter and scored to go ahead 20-7.
“That was the drive of the game,” said Gill. “They converted a couple of fourth downs, and we had a penalty that kept the drive going, as well, but they had the ball for 11 minutes of the third quarter.”
Johnson scored his second touchdown of the night in the fourth to close to within six points at 20-14.
“I thought we had gotten the momentum back, but we couldn't get a quick stop. When we finally got one, they punted the ball to our ten. We were forced to pass, and they intercepted the ball and scored that last touchdown. We haven't been in a situation where we were forced to pass that deep in our own territory.”
Johnson led the Knights with 93 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Kyree Koonce rushed 14 times for 57 yards. Quarterback John Edwards, who started his second game, was 6-17 passing for 62 yards and an interception. Austin Seay had one catch for 28 yards, while Jesse Hickman had three grabs for 17 yards and Koonce had three receptions for 17 yards.
Defensively, the Knights were led by Tariq Bartee, who had 18 tackles (15 solo) on the night, including a tackle for a loss. Devin Smith had ten total tackles (eight solo) and a sack.
Kenneth Johnson had nine tackles and a forced fumble, while Seay had 6.5 tackles and a tackle for a loss.
“I was pleased in how we withstood their start and came back. We could've folded up, but we didn't. You're going to have games like this, where you make turnovers or get penalties at inopportune times.”
Central's win keeps the Chargers in contention for a shot at the James River District title. The Chargers lost to Goochland. If BC was to win out (which would include a win over Goochland), a three way tie for the title can be forced.
“Either way, we would still have to beat Goochland, but now we really need to finish the season strong to get a good playoff seed.”
The Knights will host Cumberland on Friday at 7 p.m.
“It's 'the Battle of Route 60,'” said Gill. “They've had a tough year, but they'll be ready, and we know they'll try to catch us while we're down.”