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Falcons win by 23

Fuqua School’s football team trailed after the first half against host Broadwater Academy on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, but the Falcons leaned on their experienced players to help lead a second-half rally that resulted in a 53-30 victory to conclude their 2019 regular season.

“We had some guys that were kind of banged up, pulled muscles and all, and we really started off slow, and we didn’t play a lot of guys till the second half,” Fuqua Head Coach Ben Manis said. “We tried not to play Jackson Allen and Matt Osborn … And then Matt ended up just playing on offense, and Jackson played a little bit on both in the second half and kind of brought us back into the game to help us win.”

Senior quarterback Elijah Warner threw four touchdowns passes, including two to senior Jaylen Hempfield, one to Osborn and one to junior Sean Bradley Jr. Warner also returned a blocked kick 97 yards for a score.

“Elijah played very well on defense and so did Sean as far as kind of shutting down the middle of the field,” Manis said.

“Then on offense, we couldn’t quite get it going till the second half, missing that many guys, and we had some mental mistakes early, and I think Sean was the only guy that scored,” the coach continued. “Early in the game I believe he scored twice. And then we got Matt back and opened it up and went with a pass play that Elijah scrambled on and threw it to Matt and scored right there at the beginning of the second half that kind of got us back on track and kind of got our emotions back into the game. So props to the kids, they fought again …”

Broadwater led 30-15 at halftime.

“They kind of gave us their best shot, and we took a little while to respond to it, but again, we were banged up,” Manis said.

Other players seeing limited time in addition to Allen and Osborn were senior lineman/kicker Jarrod Cooper and Hempfield.

Roanoke Catholic School moved ahead of Fuqua in the latest Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III rankings, shifting the Falcons down to No. 2 in the state.

“We kind of figured that once we kind of looked at who they had played, who we played and just the way the numbers would work out,” Manis said. “… At least we get the first round of a home playoff game, so that helps a lot, but it would be nice to get them all at home.”

The No. 2 Falcons (9-1) host No. 3 St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School (8-1) on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the VISAA Division III state semifinals.