Heading into Friday night’s matchup with Fluvanna, Albemarle’s football team knew the importance of winning this homecoming game against a tough group of Flucos.
“We knew that Fluvanna was a good football team and Coach Pace is doing a great job with them and they play physical and we knew it was gonna be a challenge for us,” said Albemarle coach Brandon Isaiah. “They have some guys who can make some plays, so we had to keep playing, execute, and find our footing. We have some kids that we’ve been waiting on to continue to grow up and they started making some plays and things came together for us.”
That certainly was the case for how homecoming went for the Patriots, as after a slow start they rolled over the Flucos 45-24.
The Patriots started out with the football and things seemed to be starting perfectly. They stormed down the field quickly with multiple chunk plays, ending with a Kemari Walker touchdown run to make it 6-0 Patriots.
But the Flucos started to gain some momentum themselves through the run game, utilizing a long drive that took around 6 minutes that ended in the endzone. A Marcus Dickerson score at the goal line tied things for the Flucos at 6-6.
Then after two straight turnovers on downs, Benny Denby picked off a pass from Amaje Parker to put the Flucos in great position, before a Samuel Loving touchdown with 6:24 left in the first half gave them a 12-6 lead. Loving ended the night with 22 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown, and went 1-1 through the air for 51 yards.
The Flucos had the momentum and were capitalizing on the slow start from the Patriots, who were looking for a spark to get momentum back.
“We had to stay steady and we knew they were gonna come out swinging, we had a target on our backs and they came out with a lot of confidence,” said Parker, who ended the night going 13-18 for 252 yards with three touchdowns and a pick, and four carries for 56 yards and a score on the ground. “We knew they would come out swinging and it was gonna be a tough fight, we just had to last it out, survive that first punch and swing back.”
And swing back they did, as almost immediately the Patriots struck back as Jalen Green turned the corner on a 35 yard run with 5:21 left in the half. He ended the night with seven carries for 139 yards and a touchdown.
After forcing another turnover on downs before halftime, the Patriots struck fast again before the half. They marched down the field and Parker finished it off diving into the endzone with 57 seconds left, helping his team take a 20-12 lead into the break.
After the break, after forcing yet another turnover on downs, the Patriots kept their feet on the gas, this time with Parker finding Noah Grevious from 8 yards out to make it 26-12 with 7:50 left in the third. Grevious ended the night with six catches for 83 yards and two scores.
Fluvanna put together a long drive that went into the fourth, but another failed fourth down play to start the quarter gave the Patriots the football back. And with 11:40 left in the game, Parker found Isaiah Harris on a Flea Flicker that went 80 yards to the house to make it a 32-12 game.
Shortly after that, the Patriots offense got the ball back, and with 9:26 left Parker found Grevious again from 22 yards out, giving them a 38-12 lead.
At that point while the Flucos fought on, they could never recover. Both teams traded some scoring blows with the Patriots getting a second score from Walker, and the Flucos getting rushing touchdowns from Richard Price and Logan Wade. But in the end, the Patriots came out on top 45-24.
The Patriots will look to continue their winning ways at Goochland next week, while the Flucos will try to regroup hosting Western Albemarle.