In a battle of run-first offenses, Fluvanna County opened its Jefferson District slate with an unglamorous but speedy 26-7 victory over visiting Charlottesville.
“Charlottesville’s always got plenty of athletes and speed, so it’s one of those where you’re on pins and needles because they can break something and change the game pretty fast,” said Fluvanna coach Michael Morris. “They’ve played the number one ranked team in 4A in E.C. Glass and Eastern View, who’s up there, too. I told our guys we had to play the full four quarters, don’t let up, out-physical them, and control the clock, and I think that’s what we did pretty much tonight.”
With both ground attacks held below 200 yards, the Flucos grabbed an early lead thanks to two first-half fumbles. Fluvanna also capitalized on favorable field position, scoring on all four possessions that began in Black Knight territory; one other scoring drive started just seven yards shy of midfield. Sophomore quarterback Kobe Edmonds tallied touchdowns through the air and on the ground, finishing the night with a team-high 10 carries for 45 yards and completing 3-of-6 passes for 69 yards.
“I think as the season’s gone on, our passing game has evolved more,” Morris said. “When you run the ball as much as we do, you’re going to have open guys when you pass, it’s just about completing them at a high rate.”
Fluvanna’s first big opportunity came on its second possession midway through the first quarter after Trevor Wade recovered a fumble as CHS tried a run on fourth-and-3. The Flucos marched 57 yards in 11 plays, including two successful fourth down conversions. The first came by drawing an offside penalty, and later in the red zone, Edmonds powered up the middle to earn a new set of downs. They would only need one more, as Edmonds called his number again and stretched the ball over linemen’s heads and broke the plane.
The Fluco defense kept the momentum going by forcing a quick three-and-out. With the offense taking the field at the Knights’ 45, Morris decided the first play of the second quarter was time to take a shot through the air.
“We saw that their safeties were coming down, so we figured that if we came out with play action and dumped it over the top, it would be wide open,” Edmonds said.
Edmonds found senior Malachi Hill open down the right side. He made the catch and eluded tacklers in the secondary to post Fluvanna’s second touchdown in less than two minutes.
“They were trying to play cover zero and the safety bit on the run fake, and I got by the corner so it was wide open over the top,” said Hill. “It wouldn’t have happened without the line.”
Charlottesville looked to start its ensuing possession with a big gain for its first first down, but the Fluco defense forced the second fumble of the half and Devan Glasgow recovered at the Knights’ 26. Fluvanna drained another three-and-a-half minutes off the clock before senior Elijah Bullock connected on a 31-yard field goal to make it 17-0.
“I think that’s one of the things that gets lost in today’s game; you don’t have to go for it on fourth down all the time,” said Morris. “If you have a legitimate kicker and get him some kicks in a game situation, it’ll help down the road. Elijah has done a great job and hopefully he’ll be a good kicker and free safety for us the rest of the season.”
Credit the Black Knights for not rolling over at that point. Instead, the offense closed the half with a seven-play drive that covered 86 yards. Sherry kept his squad on the field on fourth-and-1 at their own 23 and Isaiah Washington plowed ahead for two. The next play flipped the field as quarterback Marcus Targonski hit Gary Jackson for a 62-yard catch-and-run, with a facemask penalty tacked on at the end to setup first-and-goal. Washington covered the distance in two runs, crossing the goal line on a 2-yarder to make it 17-7 at the break.
“I was hoping it would give our offense a little momentum, but we weren’t able to capitalize after the kickoff return in the second half,” said Charlottesville coach Eric Sherry. ”We’ve got a lot offensively to clean up.”
Washington picked up 11 yards on the Knights’ first play of the third quarter, but Fluvanna stuffed the next three runs.
“Last week Waynesboro ran the same T formation, so [on defense] we had a pretty familiar look,” said Hill. “The line did their job, linebackers did their job. We got beat on misalignment a couple times.”
With the Fluco offense starting at the CHS 49 after the punt, they again capitalized on the short field. Hill broke loose for a 39-yard pickup on third-and-6, and senior Justin Sullivan ran it in from six yards on the next play to open a 23-7 lead.
Still, the Knights’ defense did not let the game get out of hand. After a sack and fumbled pitch doomed the next Charlottesville series, Fluvanna mounted a 16-play drive spanning the last 4:09 of the third quarter and eating up more than five minutes of the fourth. After starting at its own 18 and reaching the CHS 1, though, a false start penalty before third-and-goal gave the Knights enough room to hold their ground and force a turnover on downs at the 2. With field position tilted in Fluvanna’s favor, after a CHS punt, the Flucos were able to setup a 34-yard field goal from Bullock to cap the scoring.
“I thought our defense battled,” Sherry said. “I’ve always thought in high school ball, if you’re in the 20s on defense, you should be able to score in the 20s and then see where luck lies. We’ve just got to get better.”
Washington led the Knights with a game-high 61 yards on 16 carries. Targonski finished with 24 yards on five rushes and completed one pass for 62 yards. Jackson made that one reception and also had four carries for 20 yards. After its tough September slate and taking on the top two teams in the Scrimmage Play Power Poll to open district play, Charlottesville (0-6, 0-2) hosts Orange County (1-5, 1-1) for homecoming next week.
Hill led the Flucos with 46 yards on four rushes. Sullivan tallied 42 yards on eight rushes, and Tyler Stoy carried seven times for 32 yards. Fluvanna (4-1, 1-0) wraps its four-game homestand with homecoming next Friday against Western (1-4, 0-1).
— scrimmageplay (@scrimmageplay) October 5, 2019