Cavaliers hold off scrappy Knights

Published 1:45 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

On a night in which Buckingham County High School honored the memory of Craig Gill, its beloved former football coach who died this past summer, the accompanying football game showed his legacy is alive and well, even though the contest did not end in a Knights victory.

The undermanned Knights certainly showed heart in their home opener and had a chance to win with a minute left in the game, but ultimately, the visiting Chatham High School Cavaliers withstood a rally and left with a 28-24 win.

“We chose to fight, and we came together in some places, but we’ve got to get better still, and that starts in practice, and I think it was a good lesson for them, and I’m curious to see how we respond to that this week going into our next (game),” Knights Head Coach Joshua Wallace said.

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Chatham was led by 24-year-old Matt Allen, a first-time head coach, who played for Gill at Buckingham and coached under him for the past six years.

“I’m just blessed,” Allen said after Friday’s season-opening win for the Cavaliers. “God gave me this great opportunity to come out here and glorify Him and pour into these boys and try and lead them. I had a great mentor over here — Craig Gill.”

The Cavaliers got on the scoreboard first when junior Parker Martin ran for a 33-yard touchdown with 2:26 to go in the first quarter. Senior Aaron Martin ran in the two-point conversion to give Chatham an 8-0 lead.

Buckingham tied the game up nearly two minutes later as sophomore Tyrese Ayers passed to junior Daniel Brickhill for a 47-yard touchdown, and Ayers ran in the two-point conversion.

However, the Knights defense also had difficulty preventing big plays. With 10:04 left in the second quarter, Cavaliers senior Stevie Johnson scored on a 50-yard run, and sophomore Joseph Davis ran for the two-point conversion to make the score 16-8.

Parker Martin scored his second touchdown of the game off of an 86-yard run with 5:02 left in the half. The two-point conversion failed, but Chatham still carried a 22-8 lead into halftime.

Buckingham grabbed some early momentum in the third quarter which led to a six-yard touchdown run by Ayers. Senior Rajheem Holman ran for the two-point conversion, making the score 22-16 with 9:53 left in the third.

The Cavaliers built their lead back up when junior Peyton Astin completed a pass to Aaron Martin for a 20-yard touchdown. Chatham missed the extra point, but the score was 28-16 with 7:12 to go in the third.

For the Knights’ next score, Ayers passed into the end zone, looking to connect with senior Juwan Dibble. The ball bounced off of the outstretched hands of Cavaliers sophomore Hunter Furr, allowing Dibble to collect the rebound for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 left in the third quarter. Holman ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 28-24.

Despite multiple opportunities, Buckingham was not able to take the lead in the fourth.

The Knights (0-2) visit William Campbell High School next Friday at 7 p.m.