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Charlottesville Ends Its Slide
Charlottesville ends its slide
It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t even pretty. But Charlottesville ended a two-season long drought against Jefferson District foes with a 41-34 victory over Fluvanna County at home Friday night in the driving rain.
“In the first half you see the glimpses of what we can be,” said Charlottesville coach Eric Sherry. “When we’re focused and we’re worried about what we do, we’re a good football team. But when we think things are kind of easy there are a lot of mental mistakes. But they haven’t been in these situations before.”
Not in a couple of years they certainly haven’t. The last time Charlottesville won a Jefferson District game, it was against Orange County, now a Group AAA school. Most of the key players involved Friday night were freshmen or eighth graders.
“I’ve been out about a week and I felt like I had to come back big,” said Charlottesville junior Robert Spivey. “I was just in the right place. I’m so happy, we finally got our first homecoming win in awhile, it feels really good.”
Spivey had a monster game, bouncing back from an injury that kept him out of last week game. He had an interception near midfield in the first quarter. He returned the pick for a touchdown, but it was called back for a penalty. Charlottesville instead drove 40 yards for a touchdown. Spivey also recovered a fumble on a punt attempt by the Flucos.
The Black Knights’ defense, which has been suspect at times this season, got stops throughout the first half which allowed Charlottesville to build a 21-7 halftime lead. Wynter Warren also had an interception for the Black Knights off a tipped ball in addition to Spivey’s playmaking.
“The defense, they held us in the game,” said Charlottesville Rashad Davis. “They made key turnovers, interceptions, fumbles and they held them back when it was third and fourth down.”
It didn’t hurt that Davis and the offense gave the Black Knights an early spark. On the opening play of the game, a reverse set up a wide receiver pass by Darius Watson, who found Laquarius Warfield for a 71-yard catch and run. Warfield ended up a yard short of the endzone, but on fourth and goal, Chris Thurston plunged in from two yards out.
Fluvanna answered on the ensuing kickoff when Quan Washington unleashed a return for a touchdown. But the Flucos’ offense struggled and sputtered as the turnovers piled up. Charlottesville scored twice more before the half, with Davis slipping in from three yards out after Spivey’s interception and then finding Darius Watson on a jumpball to the corner as time expired in the first half.
The Black Knights appeared ready to finish off the Flucos on their opening drive of the first half, driving 60 yards in seven plays, including converting a fourth and 10. Davis, who finished with 91 yards on 15 carries, capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge.
Fluvanna refused to go away though, unleashing their own long drive, an 80-yard, 15-play march that pulled the Flucos within two touchdowns. Then the Fluvanna defense came up with a stop on fourth down in the red zone. Quarterback Dashon Tibbs struck quick, finding Alec Turley for a 77-yard touchdown on third down. Suddenly Charlottesville was in trouble.
So they gave it to Davis again.
“Rashad is special,” Sherry said. “He takes what they give him. If they’re going to give him something he’s going to take it and man when he gets in the open field he makes things happen.”
Davis unleashed a 48-yard sprint down the right sideline where the senior signal-caller hit another gear and out-ran the Fluvanna secondary. Then after Fluvanna turned it over on downs, Charlottesville gave it to Chris Thurston who ripped off a 37-yard touchdown to put CHS up 41-20. Thurston, as Sherry put it, is “a 160-pound tough inside runner,” and he seems to get better and better as the game goes on. He needed nine carries to get his first 15 yards, but his next eight touches went for 88 yards with four going for more than 10 yards.
Fluvanna continued to battle, with Washington going for another kick return for a touchdown and then catching a touchdown pass from 25 yards out as time expired. The Flucos, however, struggled to move the ball, again, with right around 200 yards of total offense and a slew of turnovers.
“That has a lot to do with the fact that we have a lot of freshmen and sophomores and juniors playing offensive line,” said Fluvanna coach Jason Barnett. “I wouldn’t trade any of them though, they come out and fight. They hear everything that’s said behind them and yet they’re tough enough that they keep playing to the whistle. It’s a learning process.”