Flucos win home opener 38-33 after long delay

By Duncan Nixon

The Chargers from Chancellor High came to Fluvanna on Sept. 8 and were beaten back by the Flucos in a game that ended just after midnight. In the first half, the Chargers scored three touchdowns to two for the Flucos. The Chargers converted only one extra point kick, while the Flucos made one of two attempts to make a two-point conversion. The half ended with the Flucos trailing 19-14. The Flucos scored in the half on a one-yard quarterback sneak by sophomore Will Lambert and on a five-yard run by senior running back Richard Price with only eight seconds left in the half.

The Flucos received the second half kick-off and senior Sam Loving had a good return bringing the ball back to the Chancellor 41. Fluco Coach Mitchell Pace started the half with a single wing type offense that involved direct snaps to his running backs. On the first play from scrimmage, senior Chazz Barksdale-White gained seven yards. At that point, play was stopped because of lightning in the area. It was 8:35 p.m. The stadium was cleared with all spectators sent back to their cars. The lightning in the area persisted for a long time and heavy rain fell. Thankfully, the Flucos have an artificial turf field, which drains extremely well. Play was not resumed until 11 p.m. A hearty contingent of fans trickled back in.

The Flucos returned to the field after the delay with plenty of energy. On a key play Price took the ball left and was met by a wall of Chargers, but the speedy back reversed his field and ran for thirteen yards and a first down at the Charger nineteen. On the next play, junior running back Logan Wade dashed all the way in for the go-ahead touchdown behind excellent blocking. The two-point extra point try was good and the Flucos led 22-19. Unfortunately for the Flucos, it only took the Chargers five plays to score their first second half touchdown. Their two-point conversion attempt was no good, making the score 25-22 in the Chargers favor with 4:11 left in the third period.

The Flucos did not fold. They quickly regained the lead. Two passes to junior tight-end Benny Denby took them in for another score with a minute left in the third. The second pass to Denby was for twenty-four yards and the touchdown. Senior running back Aiden Ray ran in the two-point conversion for a Fluco lead of 30-25. The fourth quarter started with Wade running a punt back all the way, but the touchdown was nullified due to a penalty. The cancellation of the touchdown didn’t matter. On the second play of the series Barksdale-White broke through the middle and outraced the Charger defenders on a 51-yard touchdown run. He followed that run by scoring on the two-point conversion. The Flucos led 38-25 with eleven minutes left.

 It only took the Chargers six plays to bounce back and they scored with 6:47 remaining in the game. With a successful two-point conversion, the Chargers were back within five points 38-33. The Flucos managed one first down and had a long run by Price called back. The Flucos were forced to punt. The Chargers took over with 2:11 on the clock. Their problem was that they had almost no passing game (incomplete passes stop the clock, short running gains do not) and they had used their time-outs. The Chargers moved the ball inside the Fluco 30 yard line, but back to back five yard false start penalties set them back. On a fourth down play with only 22 seconds left, Denby rushed hard from his right linebacker position to force the quarterback to throw before he had anyone open. The resulting incompletion turned the ball over to the Flucos, who took a knee to end the game.

Coach Pace was understandably happy to record a second consecutive win. He noted however, that the Flucos still need to tighten up their defense. He did praise the defensive play of senior linebacker Linwood Perkins. This game made it obvious that Pace has a lot of speed and talent at running back, with multiple options.

 The Flucos will host Buckingham County on Sept. 15 and Charlottesville High on Sept. 21. They will then travel to Albemarle High on Sept. 28.

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