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Barons fall to tough foe for Homecoming

South Boston News
Bluestone quarterback Dale Sturdifen chose not to pass and instead ran this play for a first down. (Mike Moseley photo) / October 18, 2017
In the Goochland Bulldogs, the Bluestone Barons slotted the James River District’s top-ranked team for the annual Homecoming game on Friday night — and it didn’t go well.

Bluestone had its bright spots but not nearly enough to slow down Goochland en route to a 58-18 blowout. The Bulldogs got out the gate quickly on Bluestone’s turf and never let up.

The loss drops Bluestone to 2-4 in the James River District and barring several miracles, the Barons’ hopes of making Conference-34 postseason play are basically quashed. The team now sits in seventh place in the JRD — in a nine-team field — but the Barons do still has a chance to salvage a .500 regular season record with two games left.

In Friday’s game, Goochland received the opening kickoff and began their first drive at their 46. Behind the running of senior running back Jasper Carter, who gave the Barons fits all night, Goochland soon had the first down.

Goochland moved to a first-and-10 at the 19-yard line. Bluestone was called for an offsides penalty, while the Bulldogs ran to the nine for first and goal.

Bluestone held Goochland out of the end zone on two attempts but facing third and goal, the Bulldogs scored. The PAT was good for the 7-0 lead with 8:35 left in the first.

Bluestone received the kickoff and started its series at the 16-yard line. Neil Clayton Jr. opened for Bluestone with a run of one yard. Baron QB Dale Sturdifen Jr. had a nice run to the 33 for a first down.

The drive soon played out with Bluestone punting. Goochland took the ball at the 40 and on the next play, Carter broke loose for a 60-yard TD run and the 14-0 score.

With 3:27 left in the first quarter Bluestone started its next drive at the 16. Roger Dailey Jr. had a nice catch for a five-yard gain and Sturdifen took it to the 25 for a third and one. But an errant snap led to the Barons punting.

Beginning at the Bluestone 37, Goochland soon added its third TD of the game and the 21-0 score.

The Barons determined to score on their next possession and put together a nice series of downs to do just that.

After beginning good field position the Barons were facing a third and long. A deep pass to Dailey kept the drive alive.

Facing first and 10 at the Bulldogs 43, Dailey and Sturdifen hooked up through the air once again for a first and goal at the five. Sturdifen scored the TD on the keeper to cut the Goochland lead to 21-6.

On Goochland’s next possession the Bulldogs went from their own 35 to first and goal at the Bluestone 10 and appeared ready to score. But a great defensive play by Bluestone led to a fumble which Barons lineman Chad Hayes Jr. picked up and rambled 84 yards for the TD.

Goochland responded quickly with a TD and the 28-12 lead. Bluestone’s next possession ended in an interception after the ball bounced off the intended receiver and the Goochland defender make a highlight-reel interception.

Much to Bluestone’s credit they forced Goochland into a turnover on downs, but the Bulldogs ended the first half with a FG. At the half Goochland was up 31-12.

At halftime Jazmyn Jackson was named 2017 Homecoming Queen and Cameron Tucker was named 2017 Homecoming King.

Bluestone received the kickoff to start the second half but their drive stalled out on their 22-yard line. The Barons ran a fake punt play on fourth and eight, which Goochland immediately shut down.

The Bulldogs make quick work of the red zone and scored with 10:53 remaining in the quarter, widening their lead.

Bluestone’s Kwhali Hester had a nice return on the ensuing kickoff to the 27. A great inside pass to Chris Gregory and a run by Sturdifen set up the Barons for a third and three at the Bulldogs’ 25. Sturdifen then ran for the first and 10 at the 19.

Gregory pulled down the TD on third and goal at the five with 6:16 left in the third quarter. The TD catch was quite spectacular, but it would be Bluestone’s final score of the night.

Goochland went on to drive up the score to 58-18 for the Homecoming game final.

Sturdifen finished the game with 153 yards passing on 10-of-21 attempts and one TD. He also rushed for 18 yards.

Dailey had a solid night at the wideout position, picking up 86 receiving yards. Gregory had 44 receiving yards and a TD. Taveion Small and Cedric Taylor also contributed to the air attack.

Bluestone’s defense allowed 400-plus yards on the ground. Walter Evans, with seven tackles, one assist, one sack and one TFL, led the Barons’ defense.

Cam Tucker had six tackles and 10 assisted tackles. Deandre Alexander and had three tackles and four assists. Bluestone kicker Teri Venable had a 42-yard punt on the night.

Bluestone travels to Buckingham this Friday seeking to close in on a .500 regular season with a victory.

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