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SLUMP BUSTERS

SoVaNow.com / September 19, 2012
The Bluestone Barons entered the 2012 high school football season with several goals, but number one on the list was breaking a winless streak stretching back more than five seasons.

After Friday night, it’s mission accomplished at Skipwith.

The Barons, fresh off a 66-0 demolition at the hands of Park View in the Kings of the County game Sept. 7, delivered a 66-0 beatdown of their own this Friday against the Panthers of Rappahannock County High School. Rappahannock, located in western Virginia, visited Baron Stadium Friday night after a year-long hiatus for the school’s football program.

Notwithstanding the Park View fiasco, Bluestone had showed signs of breaking out of its extended rut with a strong performance against Chatham in the season opener, a game the Barons wound up losing in the closing moments 21-16. Friday’s win sent the message that the Barons may not be the pushover this season that people may have come to expect.

New Baron head coach James Fowlkes, who is looking for Bluestone to contend this season in the James River District, said the thing that most impressed him Friday was his players’ composure and drive even after they jumped out to a big lead.

“It’s real easy to lapse into bad habits and not focus, it’s easy to play down to the competition,” said Fowlkes. “It’s hard to pay attention to details. But we didn’t let the scoreboard affect the way we played on the field.”

Bluestone scored 24 points in the first quarter and led 48-0 at halftime, then turned the game over the reserves in the second half en route to the lopsided win.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s hard to shut out a team,” said Fowlkes.

The Barons allowed a couple of sizeable gains by the Panthers but dominated otherwise on defense, with Kevin Cheatham and Keith Patrick both having big nights against Rappahannock. Cheatham recorded six tackles and knocked a fumble loose that he scooped up and ran for a touchdown, while Patrick had three interceptions. He ran one of them back for another touchdown.

Deon Mosley also had a touchdown on defense for Bluestone, stripping the ball from a Panther carrier and running it back for six points.

“Scoring on defense is something any coach will tell you they enjoy doing,” said Fowlkes. “If you can score on defense, you’re going to be okay.”

The offense was equally effective: Bluestone rolled up 388 total yards — 362 on the ground, 26 in the air. Six players had one offensive TD each: Patrick and Mosley, playing backup quarterback and fullback, respectively; tailbacks Javon Smith and C.J. Richardson; fullback Darious Brooks; and starting quarterback Marcus Tucker.

Richardson led all rushers with 113 yards on six carries, while Smith was close behind with 102 yards on only two carries, one for a TD. Mosley and Tucker each ran for 45 yards, and Brooks tallied 38 yards on six carries.

Smith completed 2 of 3 pass attempts for 26 yards, finding receivers Grayson Love and Ben Montgomery for gains.

The Barons had success cutting down on mistakes that have hurt them in the past, particularly penalties. Aside from a few motion calls, the team avoided getting flagged by the refs, although one turnover that resulted in an apparent touchdown was called back after Bluestone committed an infraction. The team also lost a couple of fumbles, to little effect.

The win at the varsity level comes as a first for every current member of the Barons, but it’s especially a relief for senior members of the team who have endured hard times throughout their careers.

“You’ve got seniors whose record is 0-30. That’s pretty tough,” said Fowlkes.

He said that as soon as the Barons returned to the locker room with the victory against Rappahannock under their belts, attention quickly turned to the next assignment: Bluestone’s James River District opener Friday against Nottoway. The Cougars will visit Skipwith for the game starting at 7 p.m.

“That’s definitely going to be a test for us,” said Fowlkes.













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