Friday Night Football Notebook: It was a slow start to the season

Published 2:48 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

FARMVILLE – This year’s high school football season kicked off Friday night and it was a rough start for several teams. The Eagles, Dukes and Knights all showed strong signs at times, but fell short in their opening matchups. 

But before talking about the games, it’s worth recognizing that all of these teams played their heart out despite rough weather conditions. On Friday afternoon around 3 p.m., the temperature was 97 degrees in Farmville. By gametime at 7 p.m., that had dropped down to 89 degrees, just around 95 on the field. 

Prince Edward struggles in 4th 

For three quarters, the Prince Edward Eagles had control of Friday’s game. They set the tone early, scoring 16 points in the first quarter. 

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“My philosophy has always been run first,” Prince Edward Coach Larry White told us in his preseason interview. “I’m gonna run to open up the pass. I’ve been a run first man ever since I’ve been coaching.”

The Eagles did just that in the first quarter. After scoring a touchdown to make it 14-8, they lined up and went for a two-point conversion, tearing through the defense. The Eagles defense also did their part early. At the end of the first quarter, Chatham had just scored and wanted to go for their own two-pointer, to tie things up. But the Eagles held the line, stopping them on the 1.

We’re going to also make a prediction. You’re going to hear Kamron Ligon and DeJuan Little’s names several times this year. The junior quarterback and senior tailback connected throughout Friday night’s game. Ligon had a rushing touchdown in the second quarter, then with five minutes before halftime, connected with Little for a 14-yard touchdown pass, with another two-point conversion. Little added a rushing touchdown of his own with 10 minutes to go in the third, making it 30-14 at that point.

But unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends. Chatham scored 30 points from the third quarter on, winning with a 44-30 final. Prince Edward goes on the road next Friday, to take on AltaVista. 

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A bad night for Buckingham football

Much like the Eagles, things started out great Friday night for the Buckingham Knights. With 11 minutes left to go in the first quarter, quarterback Zahir Chambers threw a touchdown pass that put the Knights up 6-0. They missed the extra point and wouldn’t score again the rest of the game. 

Appomattox County put up 14 points in the first half and another nine in the second, en route to a 23-6 win on the day. Buckingham coach Seth Wilkerson had cautioned in the preseason that there might be a slow start. After all, the team lost 13 starters to graduation. The Knights are home again next Friday against Madison County. 

Cumberland stumbles at home 

Friday night’s matchup was a tale of two halves for the Cumberland Dukes. In the first half, they seemed overwhelmed, giving up 33 points and scoring none. But after halftime, a different team came out of that locker room. Cumberland completely shut down William Campbell in the third quarter, while scoring 16 unanswered points.

The defense kept that up for part of the fourth quarter as well, but it just wasn’t enough. Cumberland gave up two late touchdowns, falling by a final score of 46-16. The Dukes go on the road next week to face Parry McCluer, who absolutely dominated Rockbridge County 55-14 in their own opening week football game.

To read the 2023 High School Football Preview, click here.