There’s a good chance Albemarle has the opportunity to make some serious noise in the Jefferson District and potentially in the playoffs. But the Patriots clearly still have some work left to do after a 39-22 loss to Patrick Henry-Roanoke Friday night.
Patrick Henry came out on fire, scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Albemarle proceeded to do the very same thing on their first drive, and just six minutes into the first half on a six-yard toss from Amaje Parker to Noah Grevious, the score was 7-6 after a missed Albemarle PAT.
Carmelo Taylor, a 4-star Penn State commit proved to be a real problem for Albemarle in multiple facets of the game. Taylor, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound projected wideout at the next level, was all over the field, returning kicks and playing wide receiver and defensive back, while also taking direct snaps in the wildcat offense.
On the ensuing kickoff after Albemarle’s initial touchdown, Taylor returned the kick for a touchdown. After that, Albemarle’s main special teams’ strategy was to not even give him an opportunity to touch the football.
When Albemarle got the ball back, after moving the ball relatively efficiently, AHS Quarterback Amaje Parker threw an interception that set up Patrick Henry to kick a field goal. Albemarle quickly found themselves in a 17-6 hole going into the second quarter.
After a handful of drives that fell flat for both clubs, Patrick Henry found some momentum using their wildcat offense. Patrick Henry picked up first downs using the wildcat, and eventually, quarterback Joey Beasley hit Melo Taylor in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to go up 24-6.
Albemarle got back on track after that, and Parker paid no mind to the numbers on the scoreboard. Three plays into the Patriot drive, Albemarle found their magic. After evading multiple pass rushers and breaking tackles, Parker scrambled out of the pocket and hit his wide receiver, Christian Humes on a bomb, for a 52-yard touchdown just before halftime, and Albemarle was down just 24-14 going into the locker room.
When Albemarle came back onto the field, there seemed to be restorative energy for Albemarle coach Brandon Isaiah, Sr.’s squad. Parker was incredibly demonstrative and was encouraging his teammates, exhorting his teammates to “Find it in you.”
Although Albemarle had positive energy on the sidelines, it didn’t immediately translate to the field in the third quarter. Albemarle’s first two drives of the second half ended in three and outs. Meanwhile, Taylor was wreaking havoc on the Albemarle secondary. In the middle of the third quarter, Beasley threw up a ball into the end zone from the 50-yard line that was initially intercepted by Albemarle defensive Nathan Carter. Taylor ripped the ball out of Carter’s hands though and kept the Patrick Henry drive going.
Albemarle did some nice things to end the third quarter, with the Parker-Humes connection proving once again to be strong, scoring another touchdown. However, the Patriots ended the third quarter in a deeper hole being down 17 with the score being 22-39.
AHS was able to put some things together late to score one more touchdown, but by the time it happened, the game was essentially over. Patrick Henry’s Wildcat offense wore down the first and second levels of the Patriot defense and milked most of the game clock, which effectively ended the game.
“It comes down to execution,” Isaiah, Sr. said. “Discipline and mistakes, we made too many early. We gave them life with the mistakes that we made. They have some great players. The one (Taylor) we needed to eliminate most, made the most plays. But the kids fought tonight. We did a lot of great things, and a lot of stuff to build on.”
Outside of Taylor who scored four of Patrick Henry’s five touchdowns, Albemarle struggled to run the ball between the tackles and struggled to stop the run on defense.
“We’ll watch the tape, get better as a team and as a coaching staff, and get ready to bounce back next week against Monticello,” Isaiah, Sr. said.