The Bulldogs traveled to Randolph Henry to capture their third win of the season in a 43-16 victory over the Statesmen this past weekend.
Keyshawn Smith recorded three touchdowns - two receiving and one rushing - and quarterback CJ Towles tossed two touchdown passes in the victory.
“Keyshawn Smith and Hunter Willms came up big at wing back,” Goochland coach Alex Fruth said after the win, noting how they “made big play after big play.”
Goochland scored early in the opening quarter when Smith rumbled 10 yards for an opening score with eight minutes remaining.
Khalil Holman pounced on a Statesmen fumble and Kam Holman capitalized when he gathered a 29-yard CJ Towles pass to put the Bulldogs up 14-0, still in the opening stanza.
Fruth said his sophomore quarterback gets better each week with an expanding role in the offense.
“CJ has the keys to the car, so to speak. We let him get us in and out of plays based on the defense’s look,” Fruth said. “This week he took full advantage of that and felt comfortable checking us into three or four big-time plays.”
The coach also attributed the improved play to Towles having time to read defenses and make good throws.
“The offensive line has done a really nice job of protecting him, which gives him time in the pocket to make the throws that we are asking him to,” Fruth said.
With several key injuries in the Bulldogs’ backfield, Fruth said his team responded.
“Overall, without a single starter in our backfield playing outside of CJ (Towles) and Dahkari (Burgess), I was really happy how we did Friday night.”
The offensive barrage continued in the second half when Hunter Willms raced 47 yards for a score on the first play of the second half, making the score 35-0 and starting a running clock for the remainder of the game.
With a 3-1 start, Goochland made the no. 2 ranking for Region 3B behind James Monroe (2-2) in the VHSL Top 20 Rankings, which were announced Monday, Sept. 30.
Fruth’s focus has now turned to Amelia, the Bulldogs’ opponent for next week’s Homecoming game - and a serious challenge.
“The defense will need to come prepared,” Fruth said. “Amelia is going to throw a bunch of different looks at the boys and force them to align properly.
“Amelia will then look for the big-play ball if the look is there or they feel they have a matchup advantage,” Fruth said. “It should be a great test for our defense, especially our defensive backs and linebackers.”
Fruth said his team would maintain the normal routine for the upcoming tilt with Amelia.
It’s not only Homecoming, but also the designated Coach to Cure game for the Bulldogs.
Coach to Cure is an annual event sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association to increase awareness and raise funds for children suffering from Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy.
For more than a decade, Goochland has supported the effort by hosting Jack Ridolphi at the game and raising funds for research.
“Coach to Cure is one of the best things the AFCA, college football, and multiple high school football teams do,” Fruth said. “As you know, it’s a bit more meaningful here at Goochland due to our relationship with you (Jim Ridolphi) and your son, Jack.”
Fruth said the event delivers a positive and poignant message for his players and staff.
“For the coaches who have been around, we have seen Jack grow up in front of our eyes,” Fruth said. “For the boys who have played or are playing for Goochland, it’s a relationship that reminds all of us how we should embrace each day and take care of those around us.”
Game time is 7 p.m on Friday, Oct. 4.
(Sports editor’s note: Jack Ridolphi is the son of this article’s author, Jim Ridolphi. For more than a decade, Goochland has hosted the Coach to Cure game for Jack. Jim said: “Their generosity and compassion is overwhelming.”)