The ending of the 2016 edition of the Goochland versus Buckingham rivalry was both a reminder of the dangers of football and at the same time, a reminder of why so many players suit up to play in the first place and why so many coaches dedicate their profession to the sport. With just over six minutes to play and a running clock in effect, the game was ostensibly over with the Bulldogs up 49-8. But on an awkward play, things came to a halt when three Buckingham players came down with injuries, one to the head, the two others neck-related. What ensued afterwards was respect and sportsmanship at its finest.
“You don’t ever want to see a player go down like that on any team,” said Buckingham assistant coach Thomas Sykes as head coach Josh Wallace was unavailable postgame because he rode along with the ambulances. “That’s a tragic moment, not just on our side but on both sides of the ball. We’re praying for these players and we’re going to get to the hospital as soon as possible so we can know that they are okay.”
With the need for three different gurneys to cart off Brandon Moseley, Brycen Newby and Javeon Jones via ambulance to MCV Hospital in Richmond for further evaluation, there was an eerie silence in the stands, and an inspiring moment as the Bulldogs players came over to the emotionally stricken Knights on the sidelines and embraced them before a moment of prayer together. It was a moment that drew a lengthy clap from the stands. Rivals? Yes. But at the end of the day, as has always been the tale between these two — a case of two programs that have always had the utmost respect for the other.
“Football is a physical game, not a contact sport but a collision sport,” Fowler said. “That was a heck of a collision where our kid kind of slipped to the ground and all of their defenders came together and hit each other. I think everyone is going to be okay, I hope everyone is going to be okay but right now all our thoughts are with Buckingham.”
There was no need to play of the final six minutes of the game, and so that’s where the game ended as the injuries overshadowed the 49-8 victory that Goochland put together. And while this was a physical game between the two in the trenches, the only personal foul flag came on a roughing the passer play in the second quarter. In a clean game where the Bulldogs had an advantage on both sides of the ball physically, the ending changed the tone with both teams quietly walking to their respective locker rooms.
All of that loomed large over what was up until that point, an impressive showing for Goochland on the field, especially in the first half.
“Our offensive line played really well tonight,” Fowler said. “Buckingham took out the inside game for us and we weren’t able to get a whole lot working there but for a few fullback runs. But we were able to get to the edges and run outside. Calvin Martin and Cordell Mattox had good games on the outside and after that Marcus Burton and Jasper Carter were able to get loose inside.”
Martin had three touchdowns on the night. He put Goochland up 7-0 just under two minutes into the game. And on the next Bulldogs possession, Burton’s 67-yard run set up Martin’s 18-yard touchdown rush to make it 14-0 with 5:56 left in the first quarter. On their final drive of the first, the Bulldogs got an impressive run up the middle from Carter who barreled through defenders for a 12-yard TD carry to inflate things to 21-0.
The Bulldogs did not punt or turn the ball over in the first half and as such, put up another 21 points in the second quarter. Martin improvised a shifty 42-yard touchdown run for his third of the night with 7:22 until the break. Then Marcus Burton put together a physical 12-yard rushing touchdown to cap the next drive. Finally, Mattox punched in a 3-yard rush on the edge to give Goochland a 42-0 lead going into the break.
From there with a running clock in play, the Bulldogs went up 49-0 on Cole Nuckols’ 5-yard rush. Buckingham answered by marching down field and Tyrese Ayres broke up the shutout with his 5-yard rushing strike. It was just 90 seconds later that the Knights saw Moseley, Newby and Jones all go down with injury and put a wrap on the game.
Buckingham (1-6) plays host to Amelia County on Friday at 7 p.m. Goochland (7-0) travels to Nottoway, also on Friday at 7 p.m.