High School Football Notebook: Central High remains undefeated

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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By Matt Hatfield and Brian Carlton

Central High and William Campbell have now met 22 times on the gridiron with each squad winning 11 following the thrilling Chargers 41-34 victory on Friday night in Naruna. Central Coach Will Thomas has been at the helm of every matchup – 17 in fact – since 2011. He remembers the heart-breaking 41-36 loss in 2017 as well as the 41-35 nail-biting loss in 2015. Does this latest qualify as the most exhilarating game in the series?

“No, believe it or not,” Thomas. “It ranks up there with the most exciting, though. There was so much scoring. Some crazy things have happened over there.”

This marks the eighth time the matchup has been decided by seven points or less. Neither defense could find a solution in the early going, creating a back-and-forth score fest.

“In the first half, we just couldn’t stop them. On third down, they would get exactly what they needed. One time we batted down a deep pass, the kid ended up tapping it to himself, bobbles it, seems like the ball is up in the air for 20 minutes and he ends up coming down with the catch,” recalled Thomas. “We played it pretty well and they still found a way. Number 7 for them (Elijah Jackson) is a very good receiver and he hurt us.”

William Campbell threw for 360 yards and converted 9 of 13 third downs. Trailing 20-14 at half-time, the Chargers got a stop early in the third quarter. They took the lead and had a chance to extend their advantage, but got stopped on fourth-and-1.

“In the second half, we changed some things up with our philosophy and we were able to get to their quarterback. That was the difference in the game,” said Thomas. “Even with seven minutes to go in the game, I had to figure out how we are going to have the ball last.”

Up one late in the fourth quarter, Connor Mattox broke a tackle and scored a touchdown with 55 seconds to go. The extra point was no good, leaving Lunenburg up by seven. Two key sacks in a row, thanks to sophomore Angelo Inzeo and senior Cahlil Daniel, proved to be enough to keep William Campbell from having enough time to piece together a game-tying drive.

Senior halfback Thomias Morrison led the charge with 16 rushes for 152 yards and three touchdowns along with a three-yard reception. Mattox ran 11 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Amarion Moore added nine rushes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Antonio Jones gained 48 yards on his nine carries. Defensively, Mattox and Seth Bishop each had more than a dozen total tackles.

“Our running backs ran hard and every one of them had key runs,” Thomas said. “Also, our offensive line did a great job. Colin Burke, who’s finally healthy and 280 pounds, is destroying people up front.”

Lunenburg will try to go to 3-0 when they visit Brunswick on September 8th.


The first two weeks have been great for Kenston Forest. The team stayed undefeated this past weekend, beating Massanutten Military Academy 68-12. After traveling 180 miles on this road trip, the Kavaliers exploded on offense, putting up 613 all-purpose yards.

The group was led by senior quarterback Noah Cole and junior Zain Queen. Queen carried the ball 11 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns, while Cole added 102 yards rushing and two touchdowns of his own. Cole, who also suits up as a linebacker, added eight tackles and one sack on the defensive side.

Senior Gergo Hudak put up stats on both sides of the ball, catching three passes for 132 yards and 1 touchdown as a tight end. Then as a defensive end, he picked up three sacks on the day.

On the defensive side, linebacker Ben Hite led the team with nine tackles on the day, to go with two sacks. After two games, Hite has 20 tackles overall.

Kenston Forest will be home in Blackstone this coming Thursday, playing host to 0-2 Rappahannock High. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in Blackstone.


Coach Seth Wilkerson of the Buckingham Knights knew after graduating a large senior class from a team that won seven straight games a season ago on its way to securing a fourth consecutive playoff berth that it would take a lot of new faces — particularly underclassmen — to step up in a significant way if they were to find success early in 2023.

“We’re going to need some of those sophomores to grow up pretty quick and play some key roles. The main thing is they just need reps,” Wilkerson said in our preseason interview.

Following a 23-6 loss to perennial Class 2 contender Appomattox, the Knights played host to Madison County on Friday night and got in the winner’s circle. Buckingham scored the game’s first 22 points, all before halftime, on their way to a 22-7 win. It marked their first ever victory over Madison County, which won the previous encounter by a 12-6 final back in 1975.

The Knights did most of their damage via the ground game with 340 yards rushing. Some of the upperclassmen led the way with senior quarterback Zahir Chambers breaking off a touchdown run after a bad snap forced him to improvise. Another senior, Demorris Eubanks, had 84 yards on the ground on 11 carries to go with six tackles, two for loss, on defense. There also was valuable two-way lineman KorDonte’ Williams with a pair of tackles behind the line of scrimmage to go with a fumble recovery.

Two of the unsung heroes for Buckingham, however, were not seniors. Junior Jayden Maxey had a touchdown run from a yard out on fourth-and-goal that extended the lead to double-figures for the Knights in the first half. Sophomore Emerson Edwards came up with a crucial sack off the edge as well.

Madison County’s passing game produced 148 yards, including a 44-yard scoring strike on third-and-4 with 7:05 to go in the third period to trim the deficit to 15. However, that would be as close as the Mountaineers got.

With the win, Buckingham improves to 1-1 on the season and prepares to face a challenge running throughout September.

Buckingham will not have another home game until Oct. 6 against Nottoway. That means the Knights will be on the road four of the next four weeks, taking on William Campbell, Fluvanna, Central High and Randolph-Henry.

Up first for Buckingham will be William Campbell, which fell just short this week against Lunenburg. Central beat William Campbell 41-34.


Last week, Prince Edward County fell short against Chatham 44-30. But the score wasn’t the big story coming out of the game. On Monday, Prince Edward Coach Larry White said there would be several players not able to suit up for this week’s matchup against Altavista, due to injuries sustained in that first matchup. That meant bringing some underclassmen into the starting lineup. Unfortunately, Altavista took advantage of that inexperience, establishing control early before just dominating on all levels of the game. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. The final score was 73-6, with Altavista taking the win Friday. For any Prince Edward fan looking for good news, help is on the way. All the players should be back in the lineup next week, as the Eagles play host to Nelson County.


In Week One, we mentioned it was almost like two different Cumberland teams took the field. The first one seemed overwhelmed, giving up 33 points in the first half. But after halftime, Cumberland completely shut down William Campbell in the third quarter, while scoring 16 unanswered points.

It was a very similar situation this week, as the Dukes took on Patty McCluer. The Fighting Blues jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, sparked by a blocked punt. That quickly became 32-0 by halftime. And then, just like last week, the Cumberland defense started shutting them down. The Blues didn’t score in the third quarter, only adding points on the board thanks to a pick-6 interception late in the 4th. Even so, Patty McCluer picked up the 44-8 win.

The biggest problem for Cumberland comes when looking at the statistics. They’ve given up 90 points in two games, mostly in the first half, while only putting up 24 overall on the board. It was expected there would be some growing pains, when you consider this is the first full offseason implementing Coach Josh Fleenor’s system, with a brand new offense. Now they’ll prepare for a bigger challenge in the week ahead. They’ll go on the road to face an Altavista team that tore apart Prince Edward.