Eagles fly high in season opener

Published 11:49 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Prince Edward County High School’s varsity football team entered the 2016 season with concerns about things like replacing the tremendous offensive production of Delquan Bigelow and shoring up a thin line, but none of that seemed important Friday night in Windsor.

Eagles sophomore Rah’quan Payne took the opening kickoff of the season 87 yards for a touchdown, kick-starting a 62-7 blowout of host Windsor High School.

“We were able to just execute,” Prince Edward Head Coach James Ford said. “We were able to use our speed to get our guys out in space and able to run.”

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The Eagles scored 27 points in the first quarter and 21 in the second to lead 48-0 at halftime. The advantage grew to 55-0 in the third quarter before the Dukes scored in the fourth.

Ford said his team’s performance was both what he expected but also surprising to him given all of the injuries that have plagued it. He had been pleased with his players’ preparation, though.

“I really thought our guys were really in tune with the game plan and things of that nature,” he said. “And then, of course, … you don’t expect to score that many points, to be honest with you.”

Prince Edward piled up 366 yards of total offense, 306 coming on the ground.

“We only ran a little bit more than 30 total offensive plays, so we didn’t have to put the ball in the air much,” Ford said.

And Prince Edward boasted a multiplicity of scorers, with six different players reaching the end zone.

Junior Aneal Walker led the Eagles rushing attack with eight carries for 162 yards, including touchdown runs of 36, 33 and 2 yards. Junior Zion Lewis had three carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, while senior Brandon Scott, senior Joel Thomas and freshman Ty Foster each ran for a touchdown, as well.

Lewis also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Thomas, who went 4-for-8 passing in the game for 60 yards, with the touchdown and an interception.

Facilitating the running game was an offensive line that thrived, despite the toll graduation and injuries have taken on it. Training players on the line was a focus in the preseason, and it paid off Friday.

“We had some guys who were able to plug and play and some guys who really stepped up to give some of our starters good periods of rest,” Ford said.

Those players strong on the line included sophomore Alex Hardy, junior Naron Simon, sophomore James Morgan, senior Isaiah Marshall and senior Rhyan Harrison.

The offense really, really was clicking Friday night, so hopefully we can do more of the same against Altavista,” Ford said.

Prince Edward also had some standouts on defense, led by senior Markeem Trent at middle linebacker. He recorded 15 total tackles, nine for a loss, six sacks and one forced fumble.

Senior D’andre Bowler had nine total tackles, senior Michael Dupuy had seven total tackles and a fumble recovery and junior Khalil Smith had five total tackles.