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Barons drop JRD game to Amelia, stay in third place

South Boston News
Bluestone freshman Kwhali Hester has had a decent season for the varsity Barons and here gets good field position on the punt return. (Mike Moseley photo)
SoVaNow.com / September 27, 2017
The Bluestone football team lost to Amelia Friday night in a 42-13 rout in Skipwith, an outcome that had an immediate impact on the James Rivers District standings.

Bluestone (2-1 JRD) entered the game in a three-way tie atop the district at 2-0, with Goochland and Amelia. Because of their overall records, Goochland, Amelia and Bluestone were ranked first through third place, respectively.

With the loss, Bluestone remains in third but is now tied with Prince Edward, which owns a better overall record than the Barons — so think fourth place, really.

Amelia jumped to the top rank in the JRD at 3-0 and Goochland (2-0) dropped to second place as the Bulldogs had the bye last week. Goochland is the only undefeated team in the JRD with an overall record of 4-0.

Bluestone will take on Central Lunenburg this Friday in Victoria.

Central Lunenburg is sixth in the JRD at 1-2 and a win by the Eagles would definitely not be in Bluestone’s best interest. Game time is 7 p.m.

In Friday night’s blowout, Amelia started the game with a first possession TD. Bluestone deferred to kick off to start the game and it didn’t take the Raiders’ Jaelen Thompkins long to post their first TD of the night, at the 8:17 mark. The PAT was good and Amelia was up 7-0.

Bluestone responded with a nice drive of its own to score a TD. Starting from the 31, Baron QB Dale Sturdifen Jr. hooked up with senior wideout Roger Dailey for a second and three.

A run by Cedric Taylor and a pass play to senior Cam Tucker was good for the first down at the 47. After a QB sack, Bluestone faced third and 17. On fourth down and long Bluestone faked the punt, with senior punter Trei Venable getting the first down.

After a first and 10 at the 17, Sturdifen went to the air and found Dailey for the 7-6 score. The PAT by Venable was good and the game knotted at 7-7.

On Amelia’s next series of plays, Dailey intercepted the ball to give Bluestone great field position as the first quarter came to a close.

Bluestone was facing second and 10 at the Amelia 29 as the second period began. The Barons soon lost possession and the Raiders wasted no time in scoring.

With 10:51 left in the second, Amelia threw to wide receiver Ziayahn Jackson for the TD and with the PAT moved the score to 14-7.

Bluestone’s Kwhali Hester had a nice kick return for Bluestone for a first and 10 at the 45. Before long, though, Bluestone was giving up possession again.

The Barons “D” came through on the next series of plays and forced Amelia to turn the ball over on downs. Still, Bluestone’s offense couldn’t get anything going and went three-and-out for the punt.

The Raiders’ next possession stretched from 5:32 to 49.9 seconds left in the second and ended with a TD. Amelia went for two and extended their lead to 22-7.

The next play was an onside kick by Amelia that Baron players watched roll between members of the return unit. Amelia recovered and added a final TD before halftime. With 38.5 remaining on the clock, the score was 28-7.

Bluestone received the football to open the third quarter and made good use of the series, scoring another Sturdifen-to-Dailey TD. But was the last points for Bluestone on the night as the Barons pulled to within a pair of touchdowns, 28-13.

Amelia went on to score two additional TDs in the third quarter to run their lead to 42-13, which held up as the final score

Barons head coach Jessie Chropka said it was a tough night for the players and coaches.

“Hundreds of Barons’ fans came to watch what looked like a great match-up, at least on paper,” Chropka said. “But as the night went on, the Barons looked over matched, out played, and out coached.”

Chropka said the final stats of the game were indicative to how the Barons could not find an answer to the Raiders offensive unit or their stifling defense. The Raiders had 350 yards in offense, 228 through the air and 122 on the ground. Add that to the three interceptions and one fumble by the Barons offense, and the Raiders maintained possession and momentum throughout the game.

The Barons were successful at times through the air as Dale Sturdifen racked up 138 yards passing and two touchdowns. However, the interceptions and multiple sacks proved costly in the end.

“The game had its moments of excitement and competition,” Chropka noted. “The first quarter was tight and momentum swung back and forth. But after two big hits by the Amelia players, multiple penalties and turnovers by the Barons offense, and the inability of the Baron defense to stop the connection of Jalen Brown to Jackson for the Raiders offense, led to a landslide of points and a night in which the Barons lost the lead position in the James River District.

“We look to rebound next week as we travel to Central Lunenburg, another JRD match-up and another chance to move up in the standings. But one thing is for sure, we have to make sure we are better prepared mentally and physically for the Chargers and we as coaches have to make sure we do not allow another opportunity to slip through our fingers,” Chropka concluded.





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