Falcons fall 34-14 to defending state champs

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Roanoke Catholic proved too tough for Fuqua School in a battle of Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division 4 heavyweights Friday night, beating the previously undefeated Falcons 34-14 on homecoming night.

Fuqua, ranked No. 1 in VISAA Division 4 heading into the game, was hoping to avenge a loss to Catholic in last year’s state championship game. Instead, the Celtics, ranked third in Division 4, exploded in the second half after leading 12-0 at halftime.

Email newsletter signup

“We didn’t play as good as we could have,” said Fuqua head coach Ben Manis. “We had a couple of miscues and didn’t capitalize when we were on offense. Kind of at the end, we didn’t do anything to help ourselves. That was for sure. But, we were one of the few teams to hold them under 60 points.”

Catholic improved to 6-1 and is almost certain to overtake Fuqua in the Division 4 rankings, which had not been updated as of presstime.

The Falcons, 4-1, saw a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter when Ben Bailey scored a 5-yard touchdown, followed by a Hunter Gilliam pass to Julian Gee for a two-point conversion to cut the visitors’ lead to 34-14. However, it was too late in the game for the Falcons to make a comeback.

The Fuqua defense worked hard in the first half to keep the game close at halftime.

The Celtics scored their third touchdown of the night during the third quarter, and Fuqua answered with a Devin Allen pass to Ed Newman for a 16-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

On the very next play, Roanoke Catholic took advantage of a short kickoff and ran it in for another touchdown. They scored once more before Bailey’s late touchdown.

“We were inches away from making the play over and over, and over. It is what it is. They played well and we didn’t match them,” Manis said.

Tyler Frink led the Falcons’ offense with 27 carries for 137 yards. Allen completed 5-of-11 passes for 94 yards and added 43 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Gee had four carries for 17 yards. Billy French had a carry for eight yards and three receptions for 42 yards, while Hunter Mottley had two receptions for 61 yards. Newman finished with two carries for 22 yards.

Gilliam completed 3-of-6 passes for 34 yards, an interception and two receptions for 23 yards.

The Falcon defense was led by French with 13 tackles. Jeffrey Fariss followed with 11, while Frink had eight. Warren Dabney had seven tackles and Newman and Michael Thornton had four each.

Fuqua will host the Isle of Wight Chargers on Friday at 7 p.m. in a game that was originally set for Oct. 2 but was postponed due to heavy rainfall.