High School Football Notebook: Statesmen prepare to take on Chargers

Published 3:16 am Thursday, September 22, 2022

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They held the homecoming parade. Then the Randolph-Henry Statesmen took the field for a celebration of their own. Following a 19-6 triumph over Nelson County in the opener and 52-15 blowout of Fuqua, Randolph-Henry won by a very convincing margin over the Surry Cougars, 47-12, on September 16 to move to 3-0 overall.

They pulled away over the final two quarters after leading 19-12 at half-time.

“We stayed consistent on offense and fixed some things on defense in the second half to shut them out,” declared Randolph-Henry head coach Ray Conner.

Junior halfback Kanye Daley rushed for 127 yards on 13 attempts to lead the way. Freshman running back Sizemore added 89 yards on 10 carries. The Statesmen rushed for 350 yards, and in their previous two contests, they gained nearly 800 yards on the ground. Much credit goes to their veteran offensive line, a unit highlighted by seniors Parker Cottrell, Jayden Gee and Shyheim Wilson.

Next up is a home date with fellow unbeaten Central Lunenburg. The Statesmen have won 11 straight in the series, but this is a different team of Chargers they’ll be facing, coming in with an offense that averages 44.5 points, while only giving up an average of 12. 

This will also be Randolph-Henry’s Athletic Hall of Fame Night, with plenty of buzz in the stadium.

“I feel like we’re right where we wanted to be and should be with this year’s team. Coming in with Central-Lunenburg, that’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out battle,” Conner noted.

“As long as we can limit turnovers, stay healthy and do what we do, we’re going to be in every ball game till the end.”

Central Lunenburg Chargers

As for their opposition in this coming Friday’s game, Central Lunenburg is ready to go. For the first time since 2014, the Chargers are off to a 4-0 start. So far, they have outscored opponents 178-51 with a 22-8 victory over William Campbell as the latest victory. They led 14-8 entering the fourth quarter and held strong to preserve their closest win of 2022.

“I’m thankful. We had some turnovers that hurt us, but I’m not going to take anything away from William Campbell. They’re good at what they do and always give us problems. A lot of times we play each other in the regular season and see each other again in the playoffs. They’re young, but play tough and were responsible for causing those turnovers,” remarked Chargers coach Will Thomas. “We’ve had so many injuries. Our best offensive tackle, Collin Burke, it was his first game playing because he had surgery on his hand in August and has been out like eight weeks. We have a new offensive coordinator in Stanley Christopher and things have been a little different, but in a good way.” 

Thomas added that the team has built some depth on the offensive line and because of those injuries, some others had a chance to step up and play well. 

“It’s been a really good surprise,” he added.

Their next test, against the Randolph-Henry Statesmen, will be a different kind of challenge.

“We told them the other night, all these other games are over with and it’s going to get tougher every week,” Thomas stated. “We figured that (the Statesmen) would be undefeated when we played them at their place and it’s our first district game. That’s always a good grudge-match and I know Randolph- Henry will be amped up, confident and ready to go. It’s not going to get any easier for us.”

As for other teams around the region…

Prince Edward County Eagles 

The Eagles had Sept. 16 off, so they remain at 3-0 on the season. This Friday, they’ll play host to a resurgent Buckingham County. 

Cumberland County Dukes

Heading into last Friday’s game, the Dukes didn’t want history to repeat itself. On Sept. 17, 2021, Cumberland played Nelson County and lost 20-16. Nelson had not won a game since that day, a track record the Dukes hoped to see continue. Unfortunately, things started to fall apart early and it was downfall from there, as Nelson County beat Cumberland 42-0 to break their losing streak. 

That marks the second straight game Cumberland has been shut out. Overall, they’ve scored 18 points on the season, while giving up 171. The 0-3 Dukes hope to get back on track this week, as they play host to 1-3 Nottoway. 

Other scores from the area: 

Rappahannock County 43, Kenston Forest 8

Buckingham County 48, Fuqua School 8

Amelia 35-7 over Altavista