Falcons improve to 3-0 with win over HRA

Published 1:52 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Fuqua School varsity football team opened up a 26-0 lead at halftime on Friday against visiting Hampton Roads Academy (HRA) and recovered from some stumbles in the second half to win 39-13.

“They’re not a bad team,” Falcons Head Coach Ben Manis said of the HRA Navigators. “One thing is they’re young — a lot of new guys, a lot of young guys, and that makes a huge difference. And having nine seniors this year, I believe, that makes a big difference for us, too.”

Several seniors for Fuqua (3-0) were key in a game Manis said was kind of a trap for his team because the undefeated Falcons were overlooking it a bit, leading to them being flat in practice and in pre-game warmups.

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Fuqua managed to maintain the momentum in the first half, though. It entered the second quarter with a 14-0 lead after senior Jeffrey Fariss ran for a four-yard touchdown and senior Ed Newman scored on a 55-yard run.

Fuqua turned the ball over in the second quarter on an interception, but the Falcons forced a punt, which the Navigators hiked over the punter’s head and into the end zone, resulting in a safety.

Next, some Newman power running set up his 9-yard touchdown reception from senior Devin Allen.

“Ed’s a big-time player, and he’s playing through some dings this week,” Manis said. “He can do a little bit of everything. He does a little bit of everything pretty well. He’s hard to stop, too.”

Junior Nick Fariss hit a 29-yard field goal to make the score 26-0 at halftime.

Fuqua struggled to start the second half. Bad field position helped lead to a punt. It had trouble containing HRA’s elusive freshman quarterback Kahleef Jimmison, who engineered a drive ending in a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The Falcons offense responded with penalties and a fumble at the Fuqua seven-yard line, giving the ball to the Navigators.

“This is the kind of team that, for a couple years now, if they get back into a game, they’re hard to get out,” Manis said of HRA. “Last year, we were in a dogfight with them all the way to the end.”

But Friday, Fuqua senior Mike Thornton robbed HRA of its golden opportunity to score again, intercepting the ball near the goal line and returning it 58 yards, setting up a 15-yard touchdown run by Allen soon after, suddenly made the score 32-7 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

Hard running by junior Ben Bailey set up Fuqua’s final touchdown — a 4-yard pass from Allen to Thornton that helped push the lead to 39-7 with about 5 minutes left in the game.

Bailey finished the game with 19 carries for 118 yards, Newman had eight carries for 102 yards and a touchdown, Jeffrey Fariss had four carries for 56 yards and a score and Allen had 11 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Fuqua produced 429 yards of total offense, with 355 of them coming on the ground.

Allen was 6-for-12 passing for 74 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Junior Tyler Thomas had three catches for 60 yards.

Leading the way on defense for the Falcons was junior Billy French, with seven tackles and one assist. Senior Nicholas Davis had six tackles, including a sack, and one assist, and Thornton had three tackles and the interception.

Fuqua now begins a stretch of three games on the road, starting with a visit to Isle of Wight Academy next Friday night at 7 p.m.