Goochland’s Quarles plays through grief, explodes against Monticello

Three touches. Three touchdowns. One special moment. 


Goochland senior Omarion Quarles’ father passed away last weekend after battling COVID-19 and Friday night Quarles found some solace on the turf at Monticello High.


Quarles scored on his first two carries and added a pick six the third time he touched the ball as part of a huge night for the grieving senior in a 55-3 blowout win over the Mustangs. 


“It was pretty amazing, there was a big part of me that was like, is he going to be in the right place?” said Goochland coach Alex Fruth. “He was locked in from the word go.”


The word go came with 2:11 left in the first quarter and the Bulldogs already up 14-0 thanks to rushing touchdowns by C.J. Towles and Jamason Pryor. At 2:11, Quarles ripped off a 64-yard touchdown out of the tailback spot, a shift for the senior during a week where he was also enduring a tragedy. Quarles managed to adapt and overcome, picking up the tailback role well and then exploding against the Mustangs.


“We’d planned on moving him to tailback because we got shallow there because of injuries,” Fruth said. “You hesitate at first — is he going to have time, is he going to be in the right mental state? He was very focused and he wanted to get better every day.”


Goochland finished with 470 yards on the ground, with Quarles accounting for a team-high 161 yards on just five touches, good for more than 32 yards per carry. Pryor notched 125 yards on nine carries, C.J. Towles had 78 yards on seven carries and John Alston had 59 yards to round out the bulk of the ground attack. Towles also threw for 74 yards with both throws going to Jason Woodson.Chris Carter and Logan Clark each had 59 yards on the ground for the Mustangs, but Goochland’s defense held Monticello to just 118 yards of total offense. Aidan Allen added in an interception to go with Quarles’ pick six from 38 yards out. 


Quarles’ playing for the memory of his father is impressive and the memory is boosted by the fact that Goochland pulled up the program’s sophomores to varsity this week because of a lack of junior varsity games. That meant Kedrick Quarles, Omarion’s younger brother got a chance to be up close while his brother brought the hammer down on the Mustangs’ defense. His classmates were also particularly fired up for Quarles. 


“There was nobody more excited for him on the field than all the other seniors that were on the sideline with him,” Fruth said.


Sometimes in the darkest, most challenging moments, your chosen family, the people you surround yourself with on a day-to-day basis, can lift you up to previously unseen heights. 


The Bulldogs certainly did Friday, helping Quarles shine through a challenging, devastating time.