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Falcons earn No. 3 state seed

Fuqua School’s varsity football team scored early and often Friday night, fighting through the rain to defeat visiting Broadwater Academy 49-8 and secure its place among the four playoff-bound teams in Division III of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA).

The game marked the end of the regular season for the Falcons, who now possess the No. 3 seed and will visit No. 2 Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School (6-2) on Friday at a time to be determined in the VISAA Division III state semifinals.

Fuqua Head Coach Ben Manis was not sure of the details on his team’s exact placement in the playoff picture at the conclusion of Friday’s game, but he explained the process that led to the details listed above, which were announced late Saturday evening.

“Now it goes to committee,” Manis said Friday night. “It’ll be by points, it’ll be by coach’s poll and then it ends up going finally to the football committee. So, it’s a quality of a win thing and it’s also quality of opponents. They try to take all of that into account.”

On Friday at 7 p.m., the other state semifinal game will feature No. 1 Roanoke Catholic School (8-0) hosting No. 4 Portsmouth Christian School (3-5) at Vinyard Park.

Factors contributing to Fuqua earning the No. 3 seed include Portsmouth Christian falling 31-20 Friday to Atlantic Shores Christian School as well as the Falcons defeating visiting Portsmouth Christian 43-42 on Oct. 15.

As for Friday’s win against the Vikings, Fuqua had to lean on some of its basics, having played only four days prior at Isle of Wight Academy. “With that Monday game, it’s hard,” Manis said. “We didn’t have very much game-plan time. We had to prepare for a very good, tough opponent, so it is what it is. We ran some of our base stuff, which kind of works against most people, so that kind of is what’s great for us.”

Falcons junior quarterback Elijah Warner ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 105 yards and a score. Senior fullback Christian Adams had 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Jackson Allen gained 83 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards, junior wide receiver Matt Osborn had 97 yards receiving with one touchdown, senior running back Frankie Denaro ran for 62 yards and a score, junior running back Drew Osborn ran for 55 yards and a touchdown, and senior lineman D.J. Williams rushed for 13 yards.

Manis highlighted his team’s four seniors this year — Adams, Denaro, Isaac Drummond and Williams. Some of them served in unusual roles Friday in order to give them opportunities on offense.

“All the seniors got a chance to touch the ball,” Manis said.

The reality that they will end their Falcon careers on another playoff run was special for them.

“It means a lot to me,” senior Frankie Denaro said of making the playoffs. “I really didn’t think we were (going to), and I’m just so proud of my team right now.”

Fuqua started the year 1-4 but rallied to finish the regular season 4-5.

This is the third consecutive year that the Falcons have qualified for the playoffs.