Dukes fizzle at home with 33-6 loss to Charles City Panthers

Published 11:53 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The first play of the Cumberland High School varsity football team’s season opener Friday ended up setting the tone for the Dukes, who were hosting Charles City High School.

“We didn’t field a pooch kick to start the game, and the kids lost focus, and it just unraveled from that point forward,” Cumberland Head Coach Edgar Knapp said.

The Panthers led 14-0 at halftime and went on to win 33-6.

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“Charles City came ready to play, and we — for some reason or another after having a really good couple of scrimmages and a good week of practice — just unraveled,” Knapp said.

With the win, the Panthers avenged a 22-8 season-opening loss to the Dukes last year. Knapp said this year’s Charles City squad was largely similar to its 2015 counterpart.

“Now, they may be slightly better than last year, certainly they have some really good skill athletes, but nothing that we shouldn’t have been able to handle,” he said. “It was pretty disappointing.”

Cumberland struggled with taking care of the football, fumbling eight times Friday, losing the ball five of those times, one of which the Panthers returned directly for a touchdown.

“We worked ball security every single day at practice, so that was pretty disappointing, as well,” Knapp said.

The Dukes’ only points of the game came in the fourth quarter when sophomore Kahare Sutton connected with senior James Booker for a 13-yard touchdown pass.

Booker was one of the individual bright spots for Cumberland. On defense, he had three solo tackles and an interception.

“He made a saving tackle on a long run, ran a guy down to stop him from scoring at the end of the half and also, as our punter, kicked the ball well,” Knapp said.

On defense, senior Jamie Trent had seven solo tackles, senior Brandon Leabough had six solo tackles and one assist and senior Kaleb Boyles had four solo tackles and four assists.

Senior De’Suan Jennings led the Dukes with 115 yards rushing but struggled to maintain possession, fumbling four times.

Knapp outlined Monday the plan moving forward as he and his team begin to prepare for Friday’s home game against the Central Virginia Homeschool Disciples.

“We’re going to watch the film,” he said. “Obviously, by the number of folks that we had who cramped up, we’re going to up the conditioning regimen. We had probably 10 different guys who had cramps and came out of the game on Friday night, so we’re going to take care of that in practice. And we’re going to keep fine -—tuning what we do.”