Knights Not Able To Solve 'Bulldog Curse' In Rematch

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

GOOCHLAND – The Goochland High School football team has seemingly had the Buckingham High School team's number for a while. Usually, that number is just a point or two, but in Friday night's Group A, Division 2 East Region Playoff game, it was three scores.

Three scores that really came down to three or four plays, against the Knights (9-3) who lost 28-27 to the Bulldogs (10-2) in overtime three weeks prior to last Friday's game.

Still, it was the seventh straight victory for Goochland over the Knights – two of the James River District's best programs.

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“You hate to focus on a play here or one there, but that's what it came down to,” said BCHS head coach Craig Gill, whose teams have recorded a combined record of 38-9 over the last four seasons. “Goochland is a big reason for that. They made some good adjustments on defense from our first meeting, and that Nathan Adams is the best linebacker around. He really stepped it up tonight.”

The two teams battled to a scoreless first quarter, but Buckingham junior tailback Kyree Koonce put the Knights on the board with 10:39 left in the half. Koonce shed two gang tackles and dragged several Goochland players into the end zone on the 17-yard run that gave the Knights early momentum.

Goochland answered. A big conversion on third-and-long seemed to wake the GHS offense that really had struggled to that point. Moments later Goochland sophomore quarterback Jordan Jefferson completed the drive with a two-yard run to tie the game at seven.

Senior quarterback Cam Johnson, who was making his first start since the Nottoway game, threw an interception at midfield. Though less than a minute remained in the half, the Bulldogs made BCHS pay. Freshman quarterback and throwing specialist, Reid Chenault completed a 34-yard pass to Adams with 15-9 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 advantage.

“We weren't discouraged,” said Gill of his team's halftime demeanor, as BCHS had really outplayed the Bulldogs in the first, but had a seven-point deficit to show for it. “We had played a good half, and while we were disappointed we weren't tied or ahead, we felt good about our chances.”

Buckingham forced a three-and-out on Goochland's first drive of the third quarter, and appeared to be gaining momentum again, before a big mistake on a punt in the third quarter. A short punt by BC was fielded around midfield, but a penalty on the Knights before the change of possession pushed BCHS back to the shadow of its end zone. Goochland loaded up the left side of the line and bum-rushed the punter, recovering the blocked punt inside the five yard line. Two plays later, Jefferson put GHS up 21-7 with 8:11 left in the third.

“It's been a while since we gave up one of those,” said Gill. “That really hurt us. It changed the momentum of the entire game.”

Buckingham's defense, which played a solid game until tiring before the very end, forced three Goochland turnovers on the night, but the Knights were only able to take advantage of the one early in the second quarter.

BCHS defenders Cortez Johnson and Leon Ragland recovered two second half fumbles. The Knights moved inside the Goochland ten yard line midway through the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over on downs after a dead ball unsportsmanlike penalty after their third-and-goal attempt was stopped.

Goochland took over possession, drove the length of the field and scored on a Jefferson one-yard run with 1:58 left to play.

“The defense really played well until that drive, but they were tired, and Goochland knew what it needed to do in order to end the game.”

Koonce was held to 57 yards on 18 carries and the touchdown on the evening, while Kenneth Johnson had 46 yards on 11 carries. Cam Johnson rushed for 104 yards on 16 rushes, and was 3-10 passing for 16 yard. Jesse Hickman had all three catches.

“It's been a great year,” said Gill. “We weren't supposed to be in contention, but we were right there. This group has no reason to be ashamed. We'll lose some key players that we've depended on for three or four years, but we'll return a number of players that we can build on for next year.

“Maybe, we'll be able to get past this second round one of these days.”