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On an emotional night in South Hill, Dragons stumble early in 34-14

South Boston News
Ra’Sean Coates breaks free for Park View on an end around run late in the second quarter as German Neville, Jeb Redman and Austin Michael work in the background. (Stephen Hinzman photo) / September 13, 2017

On a night of high emotions at Dragon Stadium, the Park View varsity football team was undone by its own mistakes in a 34-14 loss to Colonial Heights in the Dragons’ home opener in South Hill Friday night.

The night began with a moment of silence in memory of Briana Bugg, the Park View senior student-athlete who died the week before in a car crash caused by a North Carolina driver who has been charged with driving intoxicated and second degree murder. Among the tributes to Briana was one delivered by five Park View football players who carried a banner bearing her name out onto the field.

With Park View coming off a dramatic 33-26 win over Bluestone in the King of the County game, expectations were running high for the Dragons against Colonial Heights. But the Colonials, led by first-year coach Buzz Edwards, quickly sapped the drama from the field by dominating the action from the opening kickoff.

The visitors got a lift from the sloppy play of the Dragons, who were beset by turnovers and penalties all night long. Park View settled down some in the second half after falling behind 28-6 at the break, but the Colonials never let them back in the ballgame.

The Colonials took the kickoff and drove downfield for their first touchdown with relative ease, aided by three PV penalties.

With 8:05 left in the first quarter, Colonials quarterback Hunter Spence punched into the end zone on a draw play. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, giving Colonial Heights an early 6-0 lead.

The Dragons took possession after the ensuing kickoff and put together a nice drive with good chunks of yardage on the ground. Park View marched downfield and got its first touchdown on a draw play by quarterback ---. On the conversion kick, however, the snap was high and Park View was flagged for holding, and with the failed attempt the score sat at 6-6.

Getting the ball back after the kickoff, Colonial Heights once again was able to plow through the Dragon defense en route to a touchdown. This time the two-point conversion was good, giving the Colonials a 14-6 lead with just under three minutes to go in the first quarter.

On the kickoff, the visitors attempted an onside kick and the Dragons were able to recover the ball for promising field position. But Park View was knocked back on its heels after a Colonials’ tackle for a loss and a holding penalty. The offense was able to do nothing and the Dragons lined up to punt. Just before the snap CH called a timeout, which was a good thing for PV as the snap sailed over the punter’s head. After catching that break, Park View got another when the Colonials fumbled the catch on the punt. The Dragons recovered possession, but a few plays later turned over the ball on a fumble of their own.

Given the fresh chance with 9:21 on the clock before halftime, Colonial Heights once again took advantage, driving quickly to the PV goal line. The Colonials got a key first down on a 3rd-and-4 pass reception and the quarterback scored on a draw play that seemed to catch Park View off guard. The two-point conversion was successful, and CH led 22-6.

After a brief possession by the PV offense, the Colonials took over on their own 17 yard line and scored on the second play from scrimmage, an 80-yard quarterback keeper that broke through the Dragon secondary. This time the conversion failed, but CH was able to take a 28-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Starting the second half, the Dragons pieced together one of their best sequences of the night. The drive was threatened on a fourth-and-five situation, but PV quarterback Josh Jones turned a busted pass attempt into a scramble for the first down. Running back German Neville picked up another hard-fought first down on a fourth down play, and Park View was able to punch into the end zone for a TD. With the successful two-point conversion, the score was 28-14 in Colonial Heights’ favor with 6:36 left to play in the third quarter.

Park View opted to try an onside kick but Colonial Heights recovered to start out in good field position. The Colonials weren’t to be denied, getting a key first down on a tough 3rd and 5 play where it looked like the Dragon defense was going to hold. Then, the Colonials’ QB dropped back to pass. The intended receiver tipped the ball right into the hands of another CH receiver, and he broke free for the visitors’ fifth TD of the night. The point-after failed and CH was ahead 34-14 with 4:18 to go in the third quarter.

The Dragons had their chances to rally, but the CH defense held firm to leave the score unchanged on the night. Park View’s best scoring chance came in the fourth quarter after the Dragon defense held the Colonials to a four-and-out, giving the ball to the offense at mid-field. Neville picked up two first downs, one on a pass catch and another on a nice fourth down run, and Park View advanced to a first-and-goal situation at the CH nine. Runs by Neville and Ra’Sean Coates went nowhere, however, and a trick play — a pitch to Neville for a flea flicker pass try — resulted in a fumble, recovered by CH.

Still with seven minutes on the clock, Colonial Heights drove out to midfield only to get caught in a fourth-and-three situation. The Colonials lined up to go for the first down but surprised Park View with a quick pooch kick that resulted in the Dragons recovering the ball inside their own 10-yard line. Park View was hurt by a holding penalty and a quarterback sack, putting the Dragons in the position of having to gain long yardage on fourth down to keep their hopes alive. CH quashed the drive and took over, running out the clock for the road victory.

After the game, the Dragons and their fans got a lift as Park View jayvee head coach Dakota Mitchell, accompanied by varsity players and cheerleaders, offered an on-field propoal of marriage to team trainer Claire Wright. The surprised bride-to-be said yes.

Park View returns to action this Friday against Franklin High School.

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