R-H falls but gives best performance yet

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2019

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Randolph-Henry High School’s (R-H) varsity football team experienced its fifth straight defeat of the 2019 season Friday night, losing 43-16 to visiting Goochland High School, but the Statesmen came out of this game encouraged by what they were able to do against the talented Virginia High School League (VHSL) Class 3 Bulldogs.

“It’s by far the best that we’ve come out and played for four quarters this year, and Goochland’s a really good football team,” R-H Head Coach Zach Orlando said. “Besides the one year I was at Nottoway where we beat those guys, it was the best game I’ve ever been a coach of where you actually were able to do some positive stuff against them. They scored 43 points against us, but that’s the least amount of points we’ve given up all year. We had a big fourth-and-four stand in the first quarter, defensively, so that was really good, and our kids just played, they played their butts off. They really worked hard, and they did exactly what we had talked to them about all week, which was play the first quarter, win the first quarter with your effort, and then just keep playing from there. And they did it, so I was really happy, I was really proud of them.”

The coach noted that Goochland was quite disciplined but committed quite a few penalties as well.
“They went up 35-0, and then we scored back-to-back touchdowns, and some of their players seemed to get a little bit rattled,” Orlando said. “And like their coach told me after the game, he said, ‘Your kids played hard, and I can tell your kids have been in the weight room because,’ he said, ‘I’m going to have some kids that are sore tomorrow.’ So that was a really nice thing for him to say.”

While the Bulldogs benefited from a larger roster befitting a VHSL Class 3 team, the Statesmen were struggling even more than usual to have enough players to safely field a team.

“We were kind of in a tight spot on Friday,” Orlando said Sunday. “We had to end up starting three freshmen, and they did a really good job.”

Those players included Lazarus Moss, Jayden Gee and Shyhemi Wilson.

“They were all offensive line/defensive line-type guys, but we had just a slew of injuries kind of creep up on us, and we had to bring those guys up just to have enough to play the game,” Orlando said.

Randolph-Henry found success on offense in both its running and passing games. Junior Peter Jones had nine carries for 42 yards and a touchdown, and he also went 2-for-4 passing for 66 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The touchdown pass was a 48-yard connection with sophomore Chris Redd, who finished with two catches for 66 yards and a score.

Junior Tyshaundre Walton led the Statesmen on the ground with 19 carries for 130 yards.
“I thought Tyshaundre, obviously, had a really good game running the football, and I thought Trenton Dodd played a great game, offensive line-wise,” Orlando said. “And then defensively, I thought Cam (Locey) and Chris Redd both had really good games. They were both flying around and just making plays.”

Locey, a junior, finished with a team-high eight total tackles, including five solo and two tackles for a loss. Redd had six tackles, including four solo.

Orlando said his team did not sustain any major injuries in the game, and he expects to have his sidelined players back this coming Friday. Those players include senior tight end/linebacker Reginald Bullock, junior lineman Caleb Tucker and freshman lineman Parker Cottrell.

For its homecoming game, R-H (0-5) will host Central Lunenburg High School (2-3) on Friday at 7 p.m.
Of the Chargers, Orlando said, “They’re still doing the same thing they’ve always done. I think their two wing backs are two really good players.”

He was referencing seniors T’zion Wilkerson and Darien Jones.

“I think that (the Chargers) always are a tough team, and you’ve got to find a way to stop them, but I think that they have some stuff that we can attack, and I think our kids’ morale has really picked up after Friday night,” Orlando said. “They knew that they had played well against a really good football team, so moving forward I think that’s going to be a big boost for us.”