High School Football: Offenses explode in storm-delayed games

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023

In Prince Edward’s first three high school football games this season, the team combined for a total of 46 points. On Monday night, the Eagles doubled that. The offense exploded on the road, but the defense just couldn’t keep up, as Prince Edward lost to Northumberland 72-46. 

To put in perspective what the Eagles accomplished, Northumberland came into Monday night 3-1 on the season, having only allowed 56 points total in those first four games. Earlier this year, we said you’d be hearing the names of quarterback Dejuan Little and tailback ZyQuan James a lot. On Monday night, the two seniors showed why, helping Prince Edward stack up more than 500 yards of offense. 

“Yes, the offense played great,” Prince Edward Head Coach Larry White said. “(Give credit to) Dejuan Little, ZyQuan James and Anthony Morton, plus the offensive line.” 

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The problem, White said, is the same one Prince Edward has been struggling with all season. 

“We just can’t stop nobody,” White said. 

Now at 0-4 on the year, Prince Edward returns home to another challenge. The Eagles play host Friday to Central Lunenburg, who comes in at 4-1 after a surprise 13-10 loss to Buckingham. White pointed to missed tackles as a big reason why the Eagles are still winless. When asked how he was preparing the group for Lunenburg, White had a simple answer. 

“(We’re practicing) tackling and trying to stop them,” White said.  

End of a high school football streak 

The second team in Friday’s game saw a major streak end on Monday. Riding a 25-game regular season winning streak, the Central High Chargers couldn’t remain undefeated on the 2023 campaign as they lost to the visiting Buckingham Knights.

Dropping to 4-1 overall on the season, the Chargers fell by a count of 13-10, balancing the all-time series between the two James River District rivals to 17-apiece.

“Our kids played their tails off and it was a battle. They made some plays and we made some great plays, both offensively and defensively,” Central High Head Coach Will Thomas said. “After just about every play, there were like seven to eight kids getting up off the ground. It was one of those old-fashioned games.” 

“We had them at home, which can be an advantage, and we had a shot. [We] had the ball inside the 20 a couple times and inside the five, but couldn’t punch it in and credit them for good defense,” Thomas said. “We just couldn’t execute down there when it counted. We threw another interception at the goal-line going in, so we had our opportunities. It was one of those games where we didn’t capitalize enough and they did.”

As he has been much of the year, Connor Mattox served as the offensive catalyst for Lunenburg, scoring the game’s first touchdown in the second quarter to stake the Chargers to a 7-0 lead. Mattox finished with 112 yards rushing and a score on 12 attempts to go with a 45-yard pass reception. But Buckingham quickly responded with a touchdown to knot things up and from there the game became a back-and-forth tussle with several punts as the defenses seized control of the action.

In some respects, that proved to be an edge to the Knights.

“In order for us to keep it close, I thought our defense was going to have to play out of its mind. If you look at the stats, they gave up six to William Campbell and we gave up 30-plus. They also held Madison County to seven points. They have done a good job over there defensively for the last three to four years and given us all that we can handle,” Thomas added. “They had a couple of good passes that set them up for scores and went to a spread formation that generated big plays.”

Even in defeat, there were some individual standouts that Lunenburg leaned on to give them an opportunity in crunch time.

“Thomias Morrison had a great game from the safety position defensively with 12 tackles. One of our sophomores stepped up in Owen Barnette with about 12 tackles,” Thomas noted. “Cahlil Daniel played a great game at defensive end, too.”

Lunenburg now turns the page and gets ready for Prince Edward. The Chargers are 32-0 all-time in the high school football series.

High school football struggles continue

Tropical Storm Ophelia caused some problems in our area, pushing most games to Monday night. In fact, only one game happened as planned last Friday. Traveling to Charlotte Court House, Cumberland faced off against the Statesmen on Randolph-Henry’s homecoming night. The game didn’t exactly go the Dukes’ way, as they lost 28-14.

Two issues kept popping up throughout the night. The first was a penalty problem. In fact, both teams kept trading penalties, killing drives and even leading the Randolph-Henry PA announcer to comment on it. The second was something nobody could control and that’s Mother Nature. The rain started really coming down during halftime. Fortunately for the Randolph-Henry homecoming court, it waited just long enough for a king and queen to be crowned. But after that, mud ball was the name of the game, with heavy rain causing drops and fumbles. 

With the loss, Cumberland drops to 0-5 on the season. They’ll play host this Friday, as Nottoway County comes calling. 

Undefeated run continues for Kenston Forest

The numbers keep adding up for Kenston Forest, as the Kavaliers are putting up video game type scores this season. The team’s undefeated streak continued Monday, with a 58-28 home win over Southampton Academy. 

The offense was driven by a dominating running game, as Kenston Forest generated 489 rushing yards on the night. Junior Zain Queen had 11 carries for 164 yards and one touchdown, with 80 yards of that coming on one score. Senior quarterback Noah Cole added another 210 yards rushing on 10 carries, with 3 touchdowns on the ground. In the air, Cole went 11 of 20 for 91 yards and another 2 touchdowns. Most of that went to tight end Gergely Hudak. The 6’7 ft. senior caught 6 passes for 66 yards on the night. 

“Our boys came together in the second half and exploded through the air and on the ground,” said Kenston Forest Head Coach Joe Kaiser. “I’m proud of this team and now it’s time to prepare for Broadwater Academy.”

They’ll have some time to rest and prepare, as this is Kenston’s off week in the high school football season. Broadwater is coming off a 50-0 blowout win over Fuqua and will take on the 1-2 Blessed Sacrament before coming to take on Kenston Forest Oct. 7.