The Altavista Colonels answered an opening touchdown from the Appomattox Raiders with one of their own in spectacular fashion, with Jayllen Jones taking a quarterback draw play 80 yards to the end zone. But after that, it was almost all Raiders at the Appomattox County High School Homecoming game on Friday. The Raiders won 56-13.
Unfortunately for the Colonels, it was a first-possession fumble that set the stage for the game rather than the spectacular TD run. Immediately following Jones’ run, Raiders QB Tre Lawing answered with a 75-yard TD run of his own, putting the home team ahead for the remainder of the game. In the second quarter, a bad punt snap gave the Raiders possession of the football inside the red zone on the 19-yard line, and then just when the Colonels offense found a rhythm, they coughed up the ball on an interception. The Raiders capitalized on both errors to score.
What looked like the makings of a high-scoring shoot-out developed into a rout instead, with Raiders Jaheim Scruggs, Keyshawn Baker, and Cristian Ferguson all running across the goal line before the halftime homecoming festivities. By the time the halftime whistle blew, the score stood at 49-7.
In the second half, the scoring slowed considerably, with each team adding one touchdown. The Raiders scored in the third quarter on second-and-goal from the 26-yard line, following two would-be touchdowns that were called back on penalties. The Colonels found the end zone one more time late in the fourth quarter after driving down the field and scoring from the 1-yard line. The final score was 56-13.
The game was not without some good plays from the Altavista squad, including receptions by Bailey Stinnette, a big fourth-down conversion from JaQuallen Jones, numerous rushes by Marquel Dawkins and Jayllen Jones, and big stops by Kendrick Coles, among others.
It didn’t help matters for the Colonels that they were plagued by injuries. Out of the game were starting juniors Tanner Cox (wide receiver and linebacker) and Tyler Reynolds (center), and there were more injuries during the evening. “We’re looking at a new offensive line, with some new players and people in new positions for next week,” noted head coach Andy Cox. The coach commended the new players that had to step in and fill gaps, adding that some may be earning their way into starting roles.
Overall, the team has not yet reached its potential, with Cox remarking, “We are still not playing sound football. That’s true of all aspects of the game: the offense, the defense, special teams: we still have to put it all together,” he stated.
Appomattox head coach Doug Smith commented favorably on Cox, who is a former assistant coach for the Raiders. “We love Andy. We think he does a great job. He was great here with us,” Smith commented.
With the win, Appomattox improved to 3-2 on the season, 1-0 in the Dogwood District. This Friday, the Raiders travel to Gretna to take on the high-flying Hawks (4-1, with the only loss a 21-20 heartbreaker at Radford).
The Colonels fall to 2-3, 0-2 in the Dogwood. This week they will host Northampton High School. The visiting Yellowjackets will have a four-and-a-half-hour trip from Eastville, VA, on the Eastern Shore, to face the Colonels in the two schools’ first-ever gridiron meeting. Next year, the Colonels can look forward to making the trip to Northampton.
Looking ahead to the non-conference game, Cox commented, “Our coaching staff has no knowledge of them; there’s no history between the two schools.” He added that it’s not necessarily a bad situation. “It’ll be a good experience to play someone from the other side of the state. We’ve played all the teams around here, in central and west-central Virginia. Now we’ll get a look at some new competition.”
Kickoff is set for Friday, October 11 at 7:00 pm in English Stadium at Altavista High School.