It was a long wait, but somehow, it felt like the football gods were smiling down on Charlottesville on Thursday night. The Black Knights, endured heartbreaking losses, suffered through an injury plagued season making the giant overhaul from the loss of such big senior class last year all the more challenging. On the road against Monticello though, Charlottesville picked up its first win of the season by leaning on Sabias Folley one last time. He did not disappoint in his final high school game leading the way to a 31-14 victory that his team will remember all through the offseason.
“We had a lot of good weeks of practice and didn’t get the results we wanted, but this week we finally did,” said Charlottesville coach Eric Sherry. “The kids had such great effort level all year but just never got the rewards. Tonight they did and I’m just so happy for them.”
Monticello drew first blood when Devonta Hargrove set up a short field on 34-yard reception only to cap the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run with 5:57 left in the first quarter. Charlottesville responded with a long drive led by Folley and Isaiah Washington running the ball and the former picking up the first of two touchdowns to knot things up at 7-7 to close the first quarter.
Charlottesville took the lead midway through the second thanks to a big play on special teams where Tayveyon Brown improvised on an awkward punt and put together a 25-yard return to make it 13-7. Monticello answered right back with Malachi Fields orchestrating a nice drive and then capping it with a 2-yard run into the endzone and put the Mustangs up 14-13 going into the break.
“Our kids never quit and I was really proud of their effort,” said Monticello coach Jeff Lloyd. “Charlottesville just came out in the second half and their kids really wanted to win and they went out and did it.”
The third quarter was all about Folley. The senior running back was responsible for all 80-yards on a scoring drive midway through the third that saw him break lose for a 51-yard touchdown run, the final trip to the endzone for him in his high school career.
“I definitely tried to bring as much as I could on offense,” Folley said. “I just feel like when I bring the momentum on offense, the defensive guys step up and bring their own momentum. So being a leader, that’s just something that comes with it and I’m just proud of all of these boys.”
Folley then led the way on the opening drive of the fourth quarter to set up the first of two touchdowns from Washington, a 4-yard bootleg to make it 25-14 with 10:46 left in the game. Charlottesville then let Folley rest and Washington was able to command a drive on his own with Brown. Washington scored on another bootleg, this time from nine yards out to wrap up the scoring at 31-14 with 3:26 left on the clock.
“Their size wore on us and that offense is designed to be a fourth quarter offense that just delivers a lot of body blows,” Lloyd said. “It’s been our problem most of the year, with a lack of depth, we were just gassed playing so many guys both ways.”
On the night Folley finished with 23 carries for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Washington had 11 carries for 73 yards and two TDs.
“He’s next up,” Folley said. “Remember me saying this next year, he’s definitely next up.”
As a team, Charlottesville racked up 376 rushing yards while holding Monticello to 153 total yards of offense.
“In a cross town game like this, the kids all know what’s at stake and these two groups have been playing against each other their whole lives,” Sherry said. “As a coach, I just tried to not say too much about this game, make it too much because the odds are if you do that we’d have come out and played worse. I think the guys were just ready from the beginning in this one and again, because we had a great week in practice.”
For Monticello, Fields capped a breakout sophomore campaign with 76 yards on 19 carries to go with 87 yards passing. He completed 7 of his 21 passes to five different receivers.
The Black Knights finish their season at 1-9 while the Mustangs do the same with a 2-8 record. Both teams return the bulk of their roster for next, offering hope of quick turnarounds in 2019.
“We’re excited about the future, and kind of feel like we’re the same boat that Western Albemarle was in two years ago and so hopefully we’re able to bounce back quickly,” Lloyd said.
But if Thursday night was about anything it was the swan song from one of the most productive backs that Charlottesville and the Jefferson District has ever had. Folley going for 244 and two scores and finishing with a win in his finale seemed like football justice all the way through.
“Losing all season definitely builds character,” Folley said. “It definitely feels good to get this win though… you know, it feels great.”