WILLIAMSBURG - Goochland’s first array in the world of Class 3 football resulted in a tough 33-0 loss to projected contender Lafayette in the season opener for both teams on Friday, Aug. 30. But the game was not as one-sided as the score indicated.
“I thought our D played well and that the final score didn’t really show what they really did,” Goochland coach Alex Fruth said of his team’s defense following the loss. “Turnovers and short fields gave Lafayette some incredible opportunities to put points up on the board.”
The teams played a scoreless first period; Lafayette linebacker Tyler Neville consistently penetrated the Bulldogs’ backfield and disrupted the offense, but a stout Goochland defense thwarted several threats from the Rams’ offense.
But early in the second period, Michael Green picked up a Bulldogs’ fumble that set up the Rams deep in Goochland territory. Kristian Wilkerson found paydirt on an 18-yard run to begin his 118 yard rushing performance in the opener.
Neville provided the second score when he elevated above defenders for a 23–yard scoring strike from quarterback Luke Hanson. Running back Marc Gresham took advantage of another short field situation to add another score before the half when he rumbled 34 yards on a reverse, making the halftime margin 19-0.
Fruth said the challenges on offense are solvable.
“We need to figure out what these guys are capable of doing and put them in good spots to be successful,” Fruth said. “I do believe once we are healthy up front, some of this will work itself out on its own, but for the moment we need to be problem solvers and put these guys in positions to be successful.”
A number of injuries on the offensive line aren’t helping.
“We need to get healthy. We’re banged up at spots,” Fruth said.
Quincy Snead was one of the bright spots for the Bulldogs, reeling off several impressive runs against a veteran defensive unit.
“Quincy was by far the best back we had Friday night with the ball in his hands,” Fruth said. “Some of that has to do with the side he is running towards and the fact he hits the hole hard.”
The coach said that the opener, although a sort of rude awakening, also provided the Bulldogs with a good idea of what the future competition will be as they move up to Class 3 football.
“We know that the teams coming out of Region A in Class 3 will be really good (Lafayette, Phoebus, Hopewell), so for us to open the season against such a team is a great experience,” Fruth said. “It gives us an idea of where we need to be come late November/[early] December.”
In addition to giving time for those bumps and bruises to heal, the coach said the team will focus on the basics as they prepare for Buckingham on the road on Friday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs have a bye this week.
“We want to get back to the fundamentals and focus on our assignments,” Fruth said.
The coach also wants to “correct the big stuff and stress the small stuff” in the next days of practice. But there are no big changes planned for the team, and Fruth said he saw improvement as the game progressed, especially with quarterback CJ Towles.
“CJ as the game went on, started getting the ball out of his hand faster,” Fruth said. “It also helped that we improved in the pass protection aspect of the game.”