High School Football Notebook: Dailey honored
Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023
By Brian Carlton and Matt Hatfield
It’s been a rough start for the Randolph-Henry Statesmen so far this football season. The team is 0-2 after a 34-16 road loss last Friday to James River. However, there have been some bright spots on the team and one of them is being recognized.
Throughout this season, the Virginia Farm Bureau of Charlotte Court House will sponsor a Player of the Week from Randolph-Henry, a player chosen by the Statesmen coaching staff. That player gets recognized, along with a football donated by the Virginia Farm Bureau. Kanye Dailey has been chosen as the first player of the week for the 2023 football season. Dailey ran for 111 yards on 14 carries in the 28-14 season opening loss against Nelson County. This week, the Statesmen hope to right the ship as they play host to the undefeated Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy.
KNIGHTS GET IN THE WIN COLUMN
Coach Seth Wilkerson of the Buckingham Knights knew after graduating a large senior class from a team that won seven straight games a season ago on its way to securing a fourth consecutive playoff berth that it would take a lot of new faces – particularly underclassmen – to step up in a significant way if they were to find success early in 2023.
“We’re going to need some of those sophomores to grow up pretty quick and play some key roles. The main thing is they just need reps,” Wilkerson said in our preseason interview.
Following a 23-6 loss to perennial Class 2 contender Appomattox, the Knights played host to Madison County on Friday night and got in the winner’s circle. Buckingham scored the game’s first 22 points, all before halftime, on their way to a 22-7 win. It marked their first ever victory over Madison County, which won the previous encounter by a 12-6 final back in 1975.
The Knights did most of their damage via the ground game with 340 yards rushing. Some of the upperclassmen led the way with senior quarterback Zahir Chambers breaking off a touchdown run after a bad snap forced him to improvise. Another senior, Demorris Eubanks, had 84 yards on the ground on 11 carries to go with six tackles, two for loss, on defense. There also was valuable two-way lineman KorDonte’ Williams with a pair of tackles behind the line of scrimmage to go with a fumble recovery.
Two of the unsung heroes for Buckingham, however, were not seniors. Junior Jayden Maxey had a touchdown run from a yard out on fourth-and-goal that extended the lead to double-figures for the Knights in the first half. Sophomore Emerson Edwards came up with a crucial sack off the edge as well.
Madison County’s passing game produced 148 yards, including a 44-yard scoring strike on third-and-4 with 7:05 to go in the third period to trim the deficit to 15. However, that would be as close as the Mountaineers got.
With the win, Buckingham improves to 1-1 on the season and prepares to face a challenge running throughout September.
Buckingham will not have another home game until Oct. 6 against Nottoway. That means the Knights will be on the road four of the next four weeks, taking on William Campbell, Fluvanna, Lunenburg Central and Randolph-Henry.
Up first for Buckingham will be William Campbell, which fell just short this week against Lunenburg. Central beat William Campbell 41-34.
PRINCE EDWARD CAN’T FILL ROSTER SPOTS
Last week, Prince Edward County fell short against Chatham 44-30. But the score wasn’t the big story coming out of the game. On Monday, Prince Edward Coach Larry White said there would be several players not able to suit up for this week’s matchup against Altavista, due to injuries sustained in that first matchup. That meant bringing some underclassmen into the starting lineup. Unfortunately, Altavista took advantage of that inexperience, establishing control early before just dominating on all levels of the game. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. The final score was 73-6, with Altavista taking the win Friday. For any Prince Edward fan looking for good news, help is on the way. All the players should be back in the lineup next week, as the Eagles play host to Nelson County.
FUQUA DROPS TO 0-2
Fuqua School made a big change this year, switching leagues to play 8 vs 8 style football. And coaches acknowledged, especially early on, it would take some getting used to, in terms of the players adapting. In Week One, the Falcons struggled with that transition, losing 67-0 on the road to Covenant School. This week made it clear we’re still very much in that development phase. Taking on Chincoteague, the Fuqua Falcons fell behind early and just didn’t have an answer for anything the Ponies did in that first half of football, losing 61-10.
And for anyone who asks what’s the difference with 8 vs. 8, it’s not just a change in how many players are on the field. The width of the field for 8-man competition is 40 yards. That’s about 13 1/3 narrower than the traditional field, which is 53 1/3 wide. All of that translates to a much faster game than regular high school football, as scores can reach the 70s at times. Chincoteague showed that this week, putting up 61 points while running a quick offense.
The next three weeks could be challenging for the Falcons, as they have road games from now until the beginning of October. Up next is a trip to Quantico, to take on the 0-1 Warriors.
KENSTON FOREST DOMINATES MASSANUTTEN
The first two weeks have been great for Kenston Forest. The team stayed undefeated this past weekend, beating Massanutten Military Academy 68-12. After traveling 180 miles on this road trip, the Kavaliers exploded on offense, putting up 613 all-purpose yards.
The group was led by senior quarterback Noah Cole and junior Zain Queen. Queen carried the ball 11 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns, while Cole added 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns of his own. Cole, who also suits up as a linebacker, added eight tackles and one sack on the defensive side.
Senior Gergely Hudak put up stats on both sides of the ball, catching three passes for 132 yards and 1 touchdown as a tight end. Then as a defensive end, he picked up three sacks on the day.
On the defensive side, linebacker Ben Hite led the team with nine tackles on the day, to go with two sacks. After two games, Hite has 20 tackles overall.
Kenston Forest will be home in Blackstone this coming Thursday, playing host to 0-2 Rappahannock High. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in Blackstone.
Central-Lunenburg and William Campbell have now met 22 times on the gridiron. After last Friday’s 41-34 Chargers victory, each team has won 11 games.
Coach Will Thomas of Lunenburg has been at the helm of every matchup – 17 in fact – since 2011. He remembers the heart-breaking 41-36 loss in 2017 as well as the 41-35 nail-biting loss in 2015. Does this latest qualify as the most exhilarating game in the series?
“No, believe it or not,” Thomas. “It ranks up there with the most exciting, though. There was so much scoring. Some crazy things have happened over there.”
Eight times the matchup has been decided by seven points or less. Neither defense could find a solution in the early going, creating a back-and-forth score fest.
“In the first half, we just couldn’t stop them. On third down, they would get exactly what they needed. One time we batted down a deep pass, the kid ended up tapping it to himself, bobbled it, seemed like the ball was up in the air for 20 minutes and he ended up coming down with the catch,” recalled Thomas.“We played it pretty well and they still found a way. Number 7 for them (Elijah Jackson) is a very good receiver and he hurt us.”
William Campbell threw for 360 yards and converted 9 of 13 third downs. Trailing 20-14 at half-time, the Chargers got a stop early in the third quarter. They took the lead and had a chance to extend their advantage, but got stopped on fourth-and-1.
Lunenburg will try to go to 3-0 when they visit Brunswick on September 8.