High School Football Notebook: Buckingham falls, Central advances

The sixth-seeded Buckingham Knights saw their 2022 season come to a close last Thursday. In a hard-fought game, the team lost 17-12 to the reigning Region 2B Champion Central-Woodstock Falcons in the opening round of the playoffs.

Coming in, the Woodstock offense averaged 35.6 points per game. Yet, the Knights limited them to a season-low in points as well as 127 total yards and two pass completions.

Buckingham struck first when senior Kymeir Lockett scored on a two-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds to go in the first quarter.  However, the extra point was blocked, leaving the Knights ahead, 6-0.

Late in the first half, Buckingham lost one of three fumbles on the night, giving Woodstock golden field position just inside the 50, at the Knights 48-yard line, with 2:25 to go in the second quarter.  With 25 seconds till intermission, Central scored on a touchdown run from a yard out.  Even though the Falcons missed a chance to extend that lead with a 15-play, 49-yard drive to begin the third quarter when they missed a 44-yard field goal, miscues on both sides kept the offenses from exploding.

Each team had three lost fumbles on the night, but Buckingham lost the turnover battle with an interception also thrown and managed to only complete three passes for 38 yards themselves.  Two Buckingham’s turnovers came within a span of 1:41 in the fourth quarter, leading directly to 10 points that Woodstock scored to keep the Knights at bay.

Down 11 with 4:47 to play, Buckingham quickly pieced together a 52-yard drive in four plays with junior Zahir Chambers connecting with senior James Motley for a nine-yard touchdown pass.  But a missed two-point conversion and unsuccessful onside kick try prevented them from getting any closer.

Central Lunenburg gets a rematch

Fresh off their first unbeaten regular season since 1995, the Central Lunenburg Chargers get a chance for a measure of revenge against the team that last beat them.  That would be the Buffalo Gap Bison, who knocked the Chargers out of the playoffs in the Region 1B semifinals last November, 44-20.

It ended Lunenburg’s 2021 campaign at 8-3 overall, whereas Buffalo Gap would move on to play Riverheads in the Region 1B title game.  Riverheads took that with ease, 37-0, on their way to a VHSL record sixth straight state title.

In last year’s matchup, the Bison ground attack proved too much for the Chargers.  Buffalo Gap got touchdown runs of 42 and 53 yards from Bryce Hildebrand in building a 38-14 half-time lead.

Once again, the Buffalo Gap (7-4) offense comes in with sky high confidence.  Their senior tailback, Dylan Alphin, rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries as they beat William Campbell 56-36 in the opening round of the Region 1B playoffs last Thursday.  He’s not the only rushing threat either as the Bison finished the night with 47 attempts for 401 yards on the ground, plus junior kicker Kody Bright made all eight of his extra point tries.

It’ll certainly be a battle of wills as Lunenburg rushed for 3363 yards during the regular season with 13 different ball carriers, plus generated 30 turnovers on defense.  An extra week of preparation could play into Lunenburg’s favor as well because last year they had to face Surry in a quarterfinal that they won 57-14, whereas Buffalo Gap got to rest up for the regional semifinals.

In between their 47-6 win over Prince Edward and 14-0 shutout of Buckingham, the Chargers were idle, so if recent history is any indication, it could work out well for coach Will Thomas and his unbeaten squad in hopes of capturing the program’s 57th playoff victory on the gridiron.

Did You Know?  The last time that Lunenburg beat Buffalo Gap was in 1993 when they defeated the Bison 40-7 in the playoffs at Charger Stadium in Victoria.  That Lunenburg team fell to Giles, 27-18, in the State Championship two weeks later.

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