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Statesmen lose to Nottoway

The 2016 season for Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity football team came to a close Friday night as visiting Nottoway High School defeated the Statesmen 42-26.

The Cougars led 14-6 by the end of the first quarter and held a 34-20 lead at halftime, but it shrunk to 34-26 after the third period.

“I’m pretty pleased,” Statesmen Head Coach Mark McPherson said of his team’s performance. “I feel like we could have done better, but it was a strange kind of a game.”

Randolph-Henry did not get to play much offense, finishing with only 27 offensive plays, when McPherson would have liked to have had 60, helping keep the ball away from the potent Nottoway offense.

“Sometimes your best defense is a good offense,” he said.

The Statesmen put points on the board, but many of them came through big special teams plays that were followed promptly by a kickoff to the Cougars.

Though the plays did not eat up much time, McPherson said, “I loved the way we scored on special teams.”

All of Randolph-Henry’s points were scored by senior Chris Powell. He had 16 carries for 73 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run. He also ran for a 2-point converison.

On special teams, he had kickoff returns of 81 and 80 yards for touchdowns.

On defense, he returned a fumble 31 yards for a score.

“He did so many things for us this year,” McPherson said. “He doesn’t play within the scheme sometimes, but he ends up doing a lot of good things anyway, and you’ve got to have him on the field.”

Powell rushed for 1,022 yards and 10 touchdowns this year.

Statesmen junior Tyrie Blow-Tydings recorded six solo tackles and four assists, junior Cedric Patrick had five solos and eight assists and Powell had five solos and four assists.

Randolph-Henry finished the season with a record of 2-8.

“It was such a very challenging season inasmuch as I feel like we underacheived,” McPherson said. “I feel like we should have done better.”

Some key players were lost during the course of the season due to injuries, though McPherson noted that most teams can say that.

He hopes for improved facilities in the future and hard work from players in the offseason, including the 15 returning seniors expected on the roster.