Sometimes if you let a team hang around too long, it comes back to bite you. Goochland didn’t have that happen. When the time came, the Bulldogs put the hammer down. With a goalline stand from the Bulldogs defense to start the fourth and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown shortly after, the opportunity for Buckingham County to pull off an upset was vanquished. As such, Goochland leaving Dillwyn with its perfect record intact thanks to a 24-7 win, but also with a sentiment that they’ll need to be better when the playoffs arrive.
“It’s one of those where we played well enough to win but I think we were disappointed in our performance,” said Bulldogs coach Joe Fowler. “It’s something we’re going to work on but you get into playoff time and come out like we did tonight — you’re going to get beat. So we need to have more energy, players and coaches.”
With both defenses dialed in early, little happened in the first quarter except a trade back-and-forth of punts. But when quarterback Devin McCray hit Dallas Holmes on a deep route to set up the Bulldogs in the red zone, running back Perry Snead-Johnson cashed in an 11-yard run to put Goochland up 7-0 with 1:40 left in the first.
“We came out flat in the first quarter and punted the ball too much — that’s not what we do,” Snead-Johnson said. “We found a way to get ourselves back up and going a bit. We toughed it out and tried to find a way to get things done.”
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs took advantage of a shanked punt that set them up just outside of the red zone. Meticulously, Goochland worked its way down to the goal line and John King was able to punch through on a 4-yard run and make it 14-0 with just under four minutes until the break.
The following Buckingham drive was ended with Cole Nuckols coming up with an interception. While the Knights were able to keep Goochland from coming up with a touchdown, Zach Gordon tacked on a 27-yard field goal to wrap up the first half scoring at 17-0.
In the third quarter, the Knights played their best football with Walter Edwards, Tyrese Ayres and Daniel Brickhill getting the job done in the running game. They set up the Knights with first and goal to end the third quarter. To start the fourth, the Bulldogs defense managed to come up with three stops. Buckingham attempted to get on the board on fourth down with a field goal, but a botched snap allowed the Bulldogs come up with the stop.
“I think (on defense) we showed a lot of physicality like we’ve had in years past,” said Goochland linebacker Ricky Mayfield. “We’re trying to rebuild (the defensive line) and I think we’re getting there and the linebackers are stepping up like they’re supposed to and we’ve got good coverage in the back.”
Special teams came up big again for Goochland with 6:12 left in the fourth when King and Snead-Johnson combined to block a Knights punt and Snead-Johnson scooped up the ball and returned it to the house to make it 24-0.
“I think that was big because it took a lot out of them and put something into us,” Snead-Johnson said. “It put confidence and momentum in us.”
Buckingham broke up the shutout with its final drive of the game thanks to a big run from Ayres to set up first and goal. He would later find the endzone on a 3-yard carry to put a cap on all the scoring at 24-7.
“It’s not a great feeling to lose so it’s kind of an oxymoron saying that we’re proud of our kids in this one but we are with the way the played against the number two team in the state tonight,” said Knights coach Josh Wallace. “We gave them a little of a game there, went toe-to-toe with them for a while.”
For the Knights, Edwards had 15 carries for 119 yards and also a first quarter interception playing defense. Brickhill finished with 19 carries for 79 yards. Ayres had 17 carries for 53 yards and a the lone TD for Buckingham.
The Knights (1-5) hit their bye week while the Bulldogs (5-0) host Cumberland next week.