- Blue Ridge School
- Buckingham County
- Community Sports
- Covenant School
- Fishburne Military
- Fluvanna County
- Fork Union Military
- Louisa County
By Logan Riddick / Scrimmageplay.com contributor
Covenant emerged from its Friday afternoon matchup with Fishburne with big plays on both sides of the ball and a 35-6 victory. Five different Eagles found the end zone, and the Covenant defense forced four turnovers while keeping Fishburne off the scoreboard until 5:51 remained in the game.
It was senior quarterback Brady Doyle’s emergence, however, that stole the show.
“He became a leader that we’ve been looking for,” said Covenant coach Dave Rocco.
Doyle led Covenant’s offensive attack with three touchdown passes. He finished 12 of 21 for 232 yards, and was quick to cite the whole team’s effort in building a 28-0 halftime lead.
“The receivers were running great routes, the line was giving me great blocks,” Doyle said. “We really wanted to bounce back this week, to use our loss last week as motivation. We knew we didn’t play up to our potential.”
Covenant senior Hernon Henderson opened the scoring on the Eagles’ first possession with a 37-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline for a touchdown. Doyle’s favorite target though was senior receiver Daniel Crawford, who tallied 135 yards on five receptions, including a pair of 42-yarders on two touchdown drives in the final 1:33 of the first half. Crawford also hauled in a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Senior running back Jamie Gaston led all rushers with 107 yards on 20 carries, including a second quarter tally. Sophomore Austin Llera also rushed for a touchdown in the opening quarter.
On the other side, Fishburne was playing its first game of the season, and the first half was marred by a fumble and two interceptions.
“The first half was sloppy,” said Fishburne coach Dan Baranik. “It looked like it was our opener. I think we did some good things but not enough good things, obviously. Covenant looked like their second or third game. They looked like they were ahead of us.”
Doyle’s play caught the Caissons a bit off guard too, as it was a clear step forward from last season’s product at Covenant.
“You go into the first ballgame kind of cold, not sure what to expect,” Baranik said. “What little we knew or saw of them, [Covenant] was not quite as prolific throwing the ball as they were tonight, so they did a nice job.”
Despite the tough start on the road last week facing defending state champion Christchurch, Rocco sensed the Eagles’ defense would enable his team to rebound.
“It started in the second half last week. They didn’t score any points on us and I think we just turned it around,” Rocco said.
Covenant senior defensive end John Meade was a frequent presence in the Fishburne backfield, as he recorded five tackles and two sacks on the day. He applied the pressure on Fishburne quarterback Mike Poillon that resulted in a crucial interception late in the second quarter as the Eagles took total control of the contest.
“[Defensive assistant] coach (Dave) Hart was calling a lot of stunts, and our line is just a lot faster than we’ve been in past years, so we were able to get a lot of penetration today,” said Meade.
Fishburne’s Poillon finished 5 of 14 passing for 62 yards, with a 55-yard touchdown to Chandler Wright, and two interceptions. He also carried the ball a team-high 12 times for 35 yards. Sophomore back Zach McIntyre rushed 11 times for 47 yards. Fishburne totaled just 175 yards of offense.
Rocco’s players expressed optimism moving forward, particularly a chance to avenge a 2011 loss at home next Friday against Hargrave. The Eagles fell on the road last year in a close contest.
“This week, we feel like we made a statement, and we want to keep the winning streak going,” Doyle said. “We had a tough loss to Hargrave last year. We were expecting to win. We’re using that game as motivation to come out this week and keep this momentum going.”