If, like Fluvanna County, you’re having the best season in 17 years, odds are you’re doing many things well. When a little bit of luck comes your way, you’ll probably be in a position to capitalize.
Such was the case with just over a minute left in the first half of a tie ballgame as visiting Charlottesville lined up to go on fourth-and-five near midfield. Quarterback Tamarius Washington rolled left after play action drew the attention of the entire Fluco defense and spotted a receiver all alone streaking down the left hash. The pass was on target, but somehow slipped through fingers and fell to the turf.
That play and some solid Fluvanna offense sparked the Flucos to their fifth win, a 37-29 victory over the Black Knights.
“Somebody was looking out for us that he didn’t catch that,” said Fluvanna coach Mike Morris. “They were running the option so well that the safety, I don’t know why, came flying up, and we just got lucky.”
The Fluco offense took the field and completed the two-touchdown swing by engineering a 53-yard drive in 57 seconds. It would have been even faster but a catch-and-run touchdown was called back for an ineligible man downfield. Fluvanna was able to overcome the setback and stick to the ground attack as senior Prophet Harris picked up 33 yards around the left end before freshman quarterback Kobe Edmonds took off for runs of 17 and 18 yards. The latter was ruled a touchdown as Edmonds extended the ball to the goal line as he was pulled down around the 1.
“Once I got to the outside, it was just green,” said Edmonds, who finished the night with 62 yards on nine rushes.
A fake field goal-style run by Malachi Hill on the PAT put Fluvanna up 23-15 at the break.
“That’s the key to the game, the one score they won by,” said Charlottesville coach Eric Sherry. “We made a couple mistakes at some inopportune times, and we’re not playing well enough defensively to survive them. It hurts. I didn’t think we tackled very well in that situation, and that’s on me.”
Charlottesville kept things interesting with a quick, two-play drive to start the third quarter. Tamarius Washington took off for a gain of 52 yards on the first play, but stayed down on the turf with an injury that would sideline him the rest of the way. Sabias Folley scored from eight yards out to pull the Knights within 23-21 after a two-point run came up short.
The CHS defense then forced a fumble to halt Fluvanna’s first drive of the second half at the Knights’ 36. The offense went four-and-out, though, turning it back over to the Flucos at the CHS 39. Fluvanna picked up where they had left off, covering that distance in seven plays with senior Dametrez Christmas scoring on a 3-yard run with 3:08 left in the third.
“We kind of switched things up [defensively] this week to play the option, so it wasn’t our normal stuff,” Morris said. “Then we went to my backup plan I hadn’t used all season, a 50 front, and we were able to control B-gap a little bit more. They got outside on us a few times, but considering we didn’t really practice it, I’m accepting that we played decent. ”
The Knights again couldn’t muster a first down on their ensuing possession, and that’s when the Flucos grabbed control. After four running plays, Fluvanna dialed up the second and final pass play of the evening, and his freshman quarterback delivered to his top offensive weapon.
“We had the play drawn up,” Edmonds said. “We saw there was one safety at the top. He bit to one side and Prophet was wide open.”
“We kept running the ball and put them to sleep a little,” said Harris, who hauled in the pass down the right side and then crossed the middle of the field en route to a 55-yard touchdown and a 37-21 lead with 10:31 remaining in the game.
“I knew that one team would have to get up by two scores to feel a little comfort,” Morris said. “I think both teams were playing really tight up until that point, and that relaxed us a little bit.
Charlottesville cut the lead in half as Daimon Washington led an 80-yard drive; however, it took just over five minutes before he snuck in from a yard out on the eleventh play. Folley added the two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game.
But just as they did against Monticello two weeks ago, Fluvanna’s ground game bled the final 5:29 off the clock. The offense picked up four first downs thanks to big runs by Harris, Edmonds, and senior Nate Smith, who led the team with 15 carries on the night for 88 yards. Harris finished with a game-high 95 yards on nine carries with one touchdown, an 11-yarder late in the first quarter.
Folley led CHS, who opened the evening’s scoring with a 5-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. He carried 16 times for 72 yards. The Knights held a 15-7 lead two minutes into the second quarter after Isaiah Washington’s 8-yard touchdown run.
“We had a really good week of practice offensively. We were able to show a little bit of that tonight,” Sherry said.
Christmas, who finished with 48 yards and two touchdowns on seven rushes for Fluvanna, tied the game at 15 with a 15-yard run midway through the second quarter.
Charlottesville (0-7, 0-4) returns home to face Albemarle (2-4, 2-1) next Friday, while Fluvanna (5-1, 3-0) welcomes Powhatan (3-2, 1-2) for its Homecoming game.