Fluco football team falls to Albemarle in home opener

Fluco football team falls to Albemarle in home opener

By Duncan Nixon

In a defensive battle in which three of the four quarters were scoreless, the Fluco football team fell to the Albemarle Patriots on Friday, March 12, by a score of 13-0. The Fluvanna offense could never get in gear. Senior running back Xavier Copeland had some good runs and junior quarterback Kobe Edmonds completed a few passes for first downs, but as Coach Michael Morris noted after the game, the offense just had some ill-timed mistakes. Two interceptions and some penalties at the wrong time kept the offense from having any sustained drives. Flucos did not threaten in the second half and their only scoring opportunity, which came late in the first half, ended in a missed field goal try.

The Fluco defense played especially well in the second half, as it made key plays when needed, including quarterback sacks and stops on short yardage runs. The Flucos had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

The first quarter started with a 16 yard run by Copeland, but the Flucos next three plays gained only five yards, resulting in a punt. The Patriots went three and out. On a bad snap, Grant Brown made a tackle for minus six yards, and the Patriots punted the ball back to the Flucos. The Flucos were unable to make a first down and John Boy Rittenhouse punted again. The Patriots made a couple of first downs. However, when they took to the air a pass slipped through a receiver’s hands and fell into the hands of A.J. Wyche for the Flucos’ first interception. A sack of Edmonds ruined this possession and a Rittenhouse punt pinned the Patriots back at their own four yard line. Two running plays netted a first down and ended the first quarter.

Albemarle moved the ball determinedly down field mostly on the ground, and scored the games’ first touchdown on an 11 yard run with 7:21 left in the half. The extra point was good and the Patriots led 7-0. The Flucos brought the kick-off out to their own 43, but an Edmonds pass was intercepted. Moving the ball almost entirely on the ground, the Patriots quickly pushed the ball into the endzone again. This time the extra point try was blocked and Albemarle led 13-0.

On the ensuing possession, Copeland made a nice eight yard run, but a false start penalty set the Flucos back and they had to punt. Fluco junior defensive end Jabari Christmas recorded a sack and then junior linebacker Lance Gowens intercepted. There was less than a minute left in the half. Two pass completions moved the ball to the ten with 0.06 left, but a field goal attempt was no good.

The Patriots started the second half with a couple of first downs, but then turned the ball over with a fumble that was recovered by the Fluco’s Jacob Morris. Edmonds made a first down on a determined quarterback keeper, and he then threw for 13 to Rittenhouse. Two more runs and two more short completions took the ball to the Albemarle 24. But a fourth down pass was intercepted at the eight yard line with 2:48 left in the third quarter. Albemarle ran the ball for short yardage and the Fluco’s Jason Hamshar broke through to make a tackle for a loss. Unfortunately, on third down and nine, the Flucos missed several tackles and allowed a 21 yard run. Two more runs gained eight yards and brought the third quarter to a scoreless finish.

The fourth quarter started with Albemarle gaining only one yard on third and two. The Patriots went for first down and Wyche and a number of other Flucos stopped the Patriots cold allowing the Flucos to take over. In the rest of the final quarter, the defenses prevailed, as neither team managed to generate much offense. As a result, the final score was the same as the half time score, with zero points scored in the final two quarters.

Before the game, the Flucos held a ceremony honoring the first inductees into the Fluvanna Sports Wall of Fame, which will recognize top athletes, coaches and other contributors to Fluvanna High School sports history.

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