Finishing note: Orange rumbles past Fluvanna to wrap up playoff berth

Photo: Ryan Yemen

The Hornets needed a win to officially lock up a Region 5A North playoff bid. What they got was a perfect finish to end their regular season with a 43-0 win over Fluvanna County.

“We ran the football, created turnovers and played some good defense,” said Orange coach Jessie Lohr. “I think the last 5-6 weeks we’re playing our best football. When you go into the playoffs, you want to be like this, ascending and climbing. We’re right where we want to be. Whoever we get, we’re going to be excited.”

Trevon Smith and DeAngelo Hunt didn’t have a lot of touches in this one, but they made them count as both finished with a pair of touchdowns. Smith got Orange started with a 39-yard dash to the endzone. Hunt gave the Hornets an 8-0 lead after his 2-point convert. On the next Orange drive Hunt finished off a drive with a 20-yard scamper to make it 15-0.

Hunt and Smith barrelled down hill when the Hornets got the ball back again and Smith capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. To cap the first half quarterback Kenyon Carter hit Dayvon Greene for a 17-yard touchdown reception and make it 29-0 going into the break.

The Hornets ran one offensive play from scrimmage in the third quarter, a 46-yard touchdown run from Hunt. That was followed up by a pick-6 from Jamal Carter to make it 43-0 and wrap up the scoring.

“This is an amazing feeling,” Smith said. “We had a chance last year to make a run but didn’t. Now we’ve got another and I think this year we can do it. We’re just nailing our feet down to the ground and working our hardest.”

On the night, Smith had 135 yards on five carries. Hunt had 116 yards on 11 attempts. Carter was 7-for-8 passing with 80 yards, 71 of which went Greene’s way.

Fluvanna had two drives into the Orange redzone but was unable to break up the shutout. Craig Russo finished with 10 carries for 44 yards while Joshua Carlton had 44 yards on 11 touches.

The Flucos took a step forward going 1-9 after an 0-10 campaign last year. The early win over Spotsylvania wound up being marred after a slew of injuries including to the team’s top playmaker in the fourth week when quarterback Mark Groomes had to call it a career with a concussion. For a program looking to build, the work starts soon even though the season is at an end.

“We worked hard but with 10 season ending injuries, it was a real battle this year,” said Fluvanna coach Steve Szarmach. “That’s no excuse but it’s just been a tough, tough year for this group. We’re not satisfied with where we are. We want to make progress. We started the process last offseason in terms of getting stronger and tougher and while it didn’t show really in wins and loses, it was there. We’ll get started on that again in the following weeks.”

Orange finishes at 6-4 for the second straight year and will move on to the Region 5A North playoffs next week, also for the second straight year.