Statesmen show fight in loss

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity football team used a scrappy performance Thursday night to limit visiting James River High School, of Buchanan, and give itself a chance for a win, but the Knights were able to make it a two-score ballgame late and come away with a 28-14 victory.

“I thought this week we came out and fought,” Statesmen Head Coach Zach Orlando said. “We learned how to play a whole football game. And I told the guys down there, it was scrappy, I was proud of their fight, I was proud to call them my football team.”

The Knights produced 54 points in their season opener last week, but Randolph-Henry had them locked in an 8-8 tie both at halftime and after the first quarter.

The Statesmen got on the scoreboard when senior fullback Tyrie Blow-Tydings scored on an approximately 60-yard run.

James River was able to add a couple of touchdowns in the third quarter, but Randolph-Henry kept it close by responding with two minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the period, making it 20-14 on a 34-yard run from Blow-Tydings.

“It’s no unknown knowledge Tyrie Blow is the glue, he’s the heart and soul of this team,” Orlando said. “… He is our leader. The guys look up to him, they respect his work ethic, they respect what he stands for, and when he makes big plays, we seem to go a whole lot better. But he’s a guy that we’re asking to do everything, and we know that. He kicks, he punts, he kicks off, he plays kickoff return, he’s on everything.”

Randolph-Henry featured significant youth behind center, with freshman Peter Jones playing quarterback. Orlando affirmed that Jones is set as the team’s quarterback.

“I thought as a freshman, he came out and played admirably,” the coach said. “He’s still learning. He kind of got thrown into the fire this week. He’s going to get better as the season goes along.”

The defensive effort for R-H was somewhat compromised by the absence of sophomore defensive back Tyrik Beattie, who missed school Thursday due to illness.

“Tyrik’s a guy that helps us in the secondary, so not having him tonight really hurt us,” Orlando said.

The Statesmen struggled in some areas of execution, which the Knights were able to take advantage of, but Randolph-Henry remained within one score of victory until less than four minutes remained in the game.

“The Xs and Os parts we’re still working on,” Orlando said.

Having played in winning programs, he noted that he knows what it takes to win.

“It’s a process to learn how to win, but I thought they took a step in the process tonight — a monumental step,” he said.

R-H (0-2) visits Bluestone High School on Friday at 7 p.m. for what Orlando described as a must-win game that will allow his team to go into its bye week with momentum. He said it is also a big game because it starts district play.

The coach noted the Barons have an athletic quarterback, and they throw the ball some.

“They’re a spread team,” he said. “They’re going to try to spread you out and make plays, similar to what we saw tonight. They run a wing.”