You’ll forgive Kobe Edmonds if the freshman quarterback was a little bit in awe of how long it took Fluvanna County’s football team to find a way to beat Monticello.
“Sixteen years,” Edmonds said. “I’m only 15, and that streak is 16 years. Everyone in Fluvanna should be happy.”
Friday night, at the very least everyone wearing blue and gold and in attendance was happy as Fluvanna beat Monticello 22-17, snapped one of the area’s longest losing streaks at the hands of a single opponent, won its first district game since 2013 and notched a 3-1 start for the first time since 2005.
“The exciting part for them is to see some success translate to wins,” said Fluvanna’s first-year head coach Michael Morris. “That’s reassuring to them that the things the coaches are telling them, that the things we do in practice are translating to the game.”
The Flucos got over the hump with a patient offense and two critical interceptions by Prophet Harris, including a pick six with 11:15 to play that ended up being the backbreaker. Harris baited Monticello’s Malachi Fields — who made a nice move to step up in the pocket — and broke on the ball catching it in stride and racing in for a 22-10 lead after a two-point conversion.
“I just kept watching, gave a little cushion and he was eying the receiver and I was able to make a big play,” Harris said.
From there, Fluvanna went to work on holding on while Monticello refused to go away. With 3:57 left, Fields powered in from a yard out and quite suddenly the onus was back on the Fluvanna offense to run out the clock or risk giving Fields, Trenton Johnson and Devonta Hargrove a chance to rally. Lucky for the Flucos, that’s exactly what the Wing-T late in the game is built to do — melt the clock while protecting a lead. The Flucos went to work and sucked the entire 3:57 off the clock with help from a huge reverse action run by Harris and some savvy running by Edmonds to pick up another first down and essentially end it.
The Flucos’ offense simply didn’t allow Monticello the opportunity to steal it back.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers in the backfield and they’re good and our offensive line gets a big push off the ball,” said Fluvanna lineman Walt Stribling. “When those two come together it can be an unstoppable force.”
Fluvanna got in position to get the win in part because of a crucial sequence to end the first half. After punting to Monticello, Fluvanna’s Colby Martin came up with a big stick on a run and the ball popped out. Fluvanna pounced on it and got a short field with just 40 seconds left. After a stop in bounds, Fluvanna had to race to reset with time winding down and the sideline seemingly torn between running a pass play and spiking the ball, Edmonds stayed calm and made perhaps the most important throw of his young career.
“It was supposed to be a spike but I saw the safety come over Prophet Harris and I told Dametrez Christmas to go deep,” Edmonds said. “I just hit him over the shoulder.”
Christmas went up and snagged it, coming down with the ball as time ran out in the half. That gave Fluvanna 7-3 lead and a big lift going into the locker room.
Monticello re-took the lead at 10-7 when Fields hit Tre Chapman-Shiflett for a touchdown, but a week after an explosive third quarter at Madison, Fluvanna saved its scoring punch for the fourth quarter, with the Harris pick six coming just seconds after Edmonds hit Nate Smith for a 13-yard touchdown with 11:34 to play.
Edmonds finished 3-for-4 with 79 yards and the two scoring tosses on the night while the ground game came by committee: Christmas for 68 yards on 12 touches, Harris for 52 yards on seven carries and Nate Smith for 51 yards on 15 carries. As a team, Fluvanna rushed for 210 yards on the night.
Hargrove rushed for 57 yards for the Mustangs while Fields finished with 79 on the ground and 141 through the air. Chase Emmert had an interception. The Flucos managed to keep Trenton Johnson from turning his catches into big gains as he’s done early on this season, limiting him to 44 yards on five catches. Johnson did have a huge kick return for a touchdown to open the second half and set up Chapman-Shiflett’s touchdown.
Both teams were heavily penalized but 90 yards on 13 calls really hamstrung the Mustangs and helped keep Fluvanna drives moving at times.
“It’s our youth and inexperience and I hate to say that because at times we play really well and at times it rears its head,” said Monticello coach Jeff Lloyd. “I’m proud of our kids’ effort because when we were down 12 we could have easily folded the tents and we didn’t.”
The real difference-maker though was that Fluvanna converted when it had to, picking up six of its 11 third down chances while the Mustangs went 0-for-5 in the category.
“Credit to Fluvanna, they’re a much improved football team, over any Fluvanna team I’ve ever coached against,” Lloyd said. “They’ve got kids who are big, they’ve got kids who can run and they believe a little bit.”
That much-improved Fluvanna squad will hit the road to take on Orange County Friday while Monticello will host Albemarle the same night.
For at least a weekend though, the Flucos, sitting at 3-1 after ending a huge losing streak, can enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“We’re not the same as we were before,” Harris said. “We’re able to push forward and make more history.”
— scrimmageplay (@scrimmageplay) September 22, 2018