Flying Flucos top Trailblazers in dress rehearsal

The game was played under controlled scrimmage rules. It had regular officials and all plays from scrimmage were executed under game conditions. However, there were no special teams play, as punts and kick-offs were executed, without coverage. After the game, Fluco Coach Jason Barnett describes the game as “a good scrimmage.”

The game began with the Fluco offense starting from the Fluco thirty yard line.

On the second play, Fluco senior running back Javon Burton, broke a tackle in the backfield, broke another tackle at the line of scrimmage, and sprinted down the right sideline for a 66 yard TD run. Senior place kicker Cristian Franco added the extra point and the Flucos had a very early 7-0 lead.

After a Spotswood possession, that consisted of a first down and a punt, the Flucos took over at their own sixteen yard line. After one play, the officials noted lightning in the distance and stopped play. The players were all directed to return to their locker rooms, and the spectators were directed to return to their cars. According to Virginia High School League (VHSL) regulations, play may not resume until 30 minutes after lightning is observed. Accordingly there was s delay of 40-45 minutes.

When play resumed the Flucos put together a nice drive with newcomer Dashon Tibbs at the helm. The drive ate up the clock and took the game into the second quarter. However, the drive stalled deep in Trailblazer territory, when a fourth down play failed.

On its first play from scrimmage, Spotswood fumbled, and sophomore Eric Wentz recovered at the eighteen yard line for the Flucos. After a run to the eleven, Austin Foster, who had just taken over at quarterback for Tibbs, rolled right, and found senior wide-out Cristian Franco alone in the end zone, for another Fluco touchdown. Franco again converted the extra point and the Flucos led 14-0.

Several possessions ending in punts followed, but with 1:57 left on the clock Fluco junior lineman Chris Peyton went down with an injury. There was an extensive delay as the team doctor and the EMT squad analyzed the player’s condition. Ultimately, he was placed on a stretcher and taken from the field by ambulance. In light of the extent of the injury delay, and the short amount of time on the clock, it was decided to end the half at that point.

The third quarter began with the defenses in control, both teams had trouble generating first downs early in the quarter. However, late in the quarter The Trailblazers got a time consuming drive going that put them at the Fluco two yard line as the third quarter ended. An incomplete pass, five yard penalty against Spotswood and a five yard gain resulted in a fourth down and goal play from the two. The Fluco defense rose to the occasion, and senior linebacker Devin Goode fired through the line on a blitz to sack the Trailblazer quarterback before he had a chance to even start to set-up. The Flucos took over on downs, and the game was effectively over.

Very late in the game, with the reserves on the field, a Fluco hike went over the quarterback’s head and out the back of the end zone for a Spotswood safety to make the final score 14-2.

After the game Coach Barnett noted that he was pleased by his teams’ aggressive play. When asked if the team had committed too many defensive offside penalties, he commented that an aggressive defensive mentality is what the coaches are looking for, so if the cost of that were a couple defensive offside penalties, he would accept that. Barnett also reiterated that this team has a lot of talented, offensive skill players. He believes the team is developing the kind of attitude that is needed to win football games.

The home opener on Friday starts at 7:30 p.m., but there are a number of pre-game ceremonies scheduled. Announcers at this game were advising spectators to arrive around 6 p.m. for the game.

Photo by David Stemple

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