Lee High had several explosive offensive plays in its win Monday night, including a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Devin Williams to open the game and a 67-yard touchdown run by Jaymond Venable-Chisley.
But, in the end, it was the defense that made the difference. Broadway got the ball three times in the second half, twice late, when trailing by just one score and couldn’t even the game. Venable-Chisley was a big part of the defense, coming up with a huge stop with eight minutes left int the game that forced Broadway to turn the ball over on downs.
“We played really well,” said Chisley. “The second half we came out and did what we had to do and got the win.”
It’s a short work week for Lee High. After playing Monday night, the Leemen turn around and travel to Waynesboro for a Friday game against the Little Giants. But Lee coach Scott Girolmo is excited because some of his injured players may return to play Waynesboro.
“We have got a lot of room to grow because we’re still really young,” said Girolmo. “We’re relying on a lot of young guys. But I’m so glad that we get some of them back that didn’t play most of the game tonight. I think that will help us with that depth because we’re so thin. Having those guys in there and that depth is really going to help rejuvenate our substitutions.”
Spreading it around
That Riverheads turned in a dominant effort Saturday against Buffalo Gap is hard to dispute.
And a look at the numbers behind the 5-0 Gladiators’ 49-7 victory tells you how dominant they were against the Bison.
Riverheads’ vaunted ground game unofficially rolled up 343 yards on 33 carries, an average of 10.4 yards per carry, and seven rushing touchdowns, with 233 yards on 19 carries and five TDs coming in the first half.
That yardage was spread around, as 10 different players carried the ball for coach Robert Casto. Senior back Harrison Schaefer had 85 yards on eight carries and two TDs, raising his season total to 14, while junior fullback Dalton Jordan had 12 rushes for 91 yards and two TDs.
Defensively, the Gladiators limited the Bison to 58 rushing yards and 58 passing yards in the first half, which ended with Riverheads up 35-0. The Red Pride forced a fumble on Gap’s first play from scrimmage that set up their second TD, then got an 81-yard interception return for a TD from Brett Hostetler to make it 21-0.
Peek at the future
Riverheads’ big lead gave Casto a chance to weave some of his younger backs into the offense, with impressive results.
Sophomore Jaden Phillips hit paydirt on an 8-yard run to answer the Bison’s only score of the game to give Riverheads 42-7 lead. Devin Morris, also a sophomore, got his third offensive TD of the season, fourth overall, on a 47-yard run with 3:07 left in the game and finished with 75 yards for the game. Morris recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown against Robert E. Lee on Aug. 26.
Junior Jackson Shover had six carries for 32 yards, while another sophomore, fullback Moose Lee, carried three times for 21 yards.
There is a second team in Augusta County that has yet to lose a game. Stuarts Draft is now 5-0 after last Friday’s 27-0 win in the mud and rain at Stonewall Jackson.
“I’m happy and the guys are happy, but we always tell them you can’t be satisfied,” said Draft head coach Nathan Floyd of the unblemished record. “You’ve got to keep working each week and treat every game the same.”
The Cougars have been road warriors during that stretch, with four of the five wins away from home. That means only one more road game over the final five weeks, and that is just a short trip next Friday to Fishersville.
Over the last three weeks, Stuarts Draft has been to Broadway, Elkton and Quicksburg. They won those three contests by a combined score of 97-21.
If you are looking ahead, Draft and Riverheads will not meet until the final night of the regular season Nov. 4. There are still plenty of obstacles to overcome on the way to a potential clash of 9-0 teams, including Draft’s game Friday against 4-1 Buffalo Gap.
Waynesboro coach Derek McDaniel was thinking about a long-time rival when he watched his team take on Harrisonburg on Monday.
“[The Blue Streaks] are big and they cut their splits down,” He said. “It reminded me of playing a little friend of mine down in Greenville (Riverheads coach Robert Casto) and they were big.”
McDaniel also gave credit to Blue Streaks coach Chris Thurman for using that size to his advantage with the Maryland I-formation. The tight formation has two tight ends, no flankers and has the three backs stacked behind the quarterback.
“It was a good move on their part,” McDaniel said. “If you don’t get some stops they he’s just going to run the clock on you. I knew what [Thurman] was trying to do and I was trying like crazy to stop him. Tonight he got the best of it.”
It’s a far different look than what he expects to see from Robert E. Lee on Friday.
“[Lee coach Scott Girolmo] runs that spread stuff,” McDaniel said. “They always have somebody that can hurt you back there behind center. It brings a different approach for us defensively. They are not going to pound like this. That game could be who has the ball last.”
Compiled by Tom Jacobs. Sports writers Patrick Hite, Ron Hartlaub, Bill Meade, Joe Pittman and Mark Griffin contributed to this story.