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Statesmen shut out Knights on the gridiron for second win of the season

The Randolph-Henry High School varsity football team continued its trend of strong play Friday which led to its second win of the season, a 20-0 victory over host Buckingham County High School.

The Statesmen were coming off a dramatic 85-point homecoming game the week before in which they nearly pulled off an epic comeback win, and prior to that, they went into their bye week with their first win of the season.

Mark McPherson, head coach of the Statesmen, had confidence in his team’s chances entering Friday’s game against the Knights.

“I felt like it’s a game we should win, and we did,” he said. “I simplified our offense. We did a lot of running. I wanted to get the ball in Chris Powell’s hands as much as possible, and he did a good job. And we kind of went to a power set and just relied on power football and played some good defense.”

Randolph-Henry took a 6-0 lead with 5:22 to go in the first quarter when junior Tyrie Blow-Tydings ran for an 18-yard touchdown.

The Knights got an opportunity when the Statesmen fumbled the ball and Buckingham junior Brycen Newby recovered it with 1:50 left in the first. But Randolph-Henry’s defense made a stand and did not allow any points to come of it.

Buckingham was down to its third-string quarterback entering the game, with senior team captain Jarvis Bowles sliding into that role after having prepared in practice for it. But he went down with an injury early in the second quarter and did not return.

“That hurt them really bad, the same way if Chris Powell goes down… it hurts me,” McPherson said.

Shortly thereafter, Statesmen junior Tremaine Pugh intercepted a pass to help set up his team’s next score. Strong running by seniors Harmon Boyd and Powell led to Powell’s 9-yard touchdown run, which made the score 12-0 with 6:01 left before halftime.

Randolph-Henry scored its final touchdown with 10:07 to go in the fourth quarter. Power running by Blow-Tydings got the Statesmen to the Buckingham 5-yard line with a fresh set of downs, but the Knights defense held firm for several plays.

However, on fourth-and-goal, Powell rolled out to the left and scored on a 6-yard touchdown run. He also ran in the 2-point conversion to make the scoreboard read 20-0.

McPherson had a unique way of explaining how he likes to pack the box when on offense.

“I want to play the game in a phone booth, I want it to be tight, but I want us to be able to exploit both sides of the defense, too,” he said. “So, yeah, it worked out pretty well tonight.”

The Statesmen continued to benefit Friday from the growing contributions of Boyd, a first-year player.

“As I’ve seen what he can do, he’s gotten more and more carries,” McPherson said. “He doesn’t run the ball like a first-year running back. He runs hard, and he’s hard to tackle… He made some good blocks tonight. He’s was a good lead blocker, and he’s really helping us on defense. I’m very, very pleased with what Harmon Boyd’s doing.”

Randolph-Henry (2-7) has one more game left, but like Friday, it will play it without senior playmaker Fred Blow-Tydings due to injury.

“Fred’s done for the season, unfortunately, and that really hurts our passing game,” McPherson said. “We’ve got a week to work on that, and I’ll come up with something where we can loosen the defense a little bit.”

The Statesmen host Nottoway High School next Friday at 7 p.m.