The Fluvanna Fluco football team played well in the first half of its Homecoming game against a strong team from a much bigger school Friday (Oct. 20). The score was tied 0-0 after the first quarter, and although the Albemarle High School Patriots took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, the teams still appeared to be evenly matched throughout the first half.

The biggest offensive play in the first half was a 63-yard run from scrimmage by Fluco senior halfback Trevor O’Dell. Starting on his own 19-yard line, he ran off-tackle, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and another tackle in the defensive backfield, and was not brought down until he reached the Albemarle 18-yard line.

After that run, the Flucos made a first down for first and goal, but the Patriots defense stiffened and their goal line stand was successful, forcing a turnover on downs.

The Patriot offense started a drive that carried into the second quarter. However, Fluco sophomore defensive back Prophett Harris made an interception on a rare long pass by the Patriots and the Flucos took over at their own 29. Three consecutive five-yard penalties on the Flucos put them in a deep hole, forcing them to punt. The Patriots then drove for the only score in the first half. A key play took place when the Patriot quarterback fumbled the snap, but scooped it up and ran for eight yards. Albemarle ultimately scored on a two-yard run and converted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.

The Patriots received the second half kick-off and made a return to their own 42. Despite a fine defensive play by Fluco sophomore Walter Stribling on a run up the middle, the Patriots marched 68 yards, entirely on the ground, for their second touchdown. The PAT was good and the Patriots led 14-0, with 7:29 remaining in the quarter.

The Flucos responded quickly. Junior quarterback Colby Martin ran for 11 yards. He came off the field and senior quarterback Ethan Graves came in. The Patriots may have been expecting a pass, but not the one they got. Graves lateraled to junior running back Nathan Smith, who surprised the defense by throwing long down field to a wide open Prophett Harris. Harris caught the ball on the right sideline and only one defender had a chance to stop him. The Patriot safety was coming from midfield and had the angle on Harris. However, Harris timed his cutback to mid-field perfectly and the safety was left behind. The Flucos missed the PAT and the score was 14-6, with 8:04 left in the third quarter.

On their next possession, the Patriots took control, scoring in two plays. They started at their own 47-yard line. A rare completed pass took the ball to the Fluco 16, and a quarterback sweep put the ball in the end zone with 7:29 left in the quarter. The PAT was good and Albemarle was in command 21-6.

The Flucos got an excellent kick return from O’Dell out to their own 47. Junior running back Daori Green ran for 11 for a first down, but that was all the Flucos could manage. Graves punted into the end zone. The Patriots got a run for five to the 25. Then, a burst up the middle went for 75 yards and a fourth Albemarle touchdown. The PAT made it 28-6.

In the fourth quarter, the Flucos made several strong defensive stands forcing turnovers on downs, but the Fluco offense was unable to generate any sustained drives. The Patriots put up one more touchdown when their backup quarterback pulled the ball down on a pass play and scrambled for the touchdown. The PAT was good and the final score was 35-6 for Albemarle.

After the game, Coach Steve Szarmach said that he thought the Flucos came in with an excellent game plan which the players executed well in the first half. However, he noted that the Patriots are a strong team and they made some adjustments at halftime.  The Flucos are now 2-6 on the season with two contests remaining.  On Oct. 27, they travel to Western Albemarle and Nov. 3 they host Louisa County for senior night.