GOOCHLAND - When two teams meet with equal five-win-and-one-loss records, it’s hard to predict what will happen, or who will come out victorious.
Goochland (6-1) answered those questions early in Friday’s game by thumping visiting Nottoway 35-6, and thus establishing the Bulldogs’ role as the team to beat in James River District play.
Quarterback CJ Towles took his game to the next level, tossing two touchdown passes and capping the performance with a rushing touchdown.
The Bulldogs’ defense did the rest, thwarting every opportunity or opening that presented itself to the Cougars’ offense.
Seconds into the contest, Towles connected with Kam Holman for a 32-yard scoring strike. On the ensuing Cougar possession, the defense blocked a punt after a three and out series.
Although the turnover did not result in points for the Bulldogs, it set the tone for a defensive effort that would not budge against a speedy, talented Cougar offense.
Coupled with Towles’ signature performance, it was too much for the visitors who avoided a shutout with a third quarter, 20-yard touchdown run by Cougars’ running back Aymon Rhodes.
“I thought we did a solid job in all aspects of the game,” Goochland Football head coach Alex Fruth said. “They gave us some different looks defensively that forced our offensive line to make some mental adjustments and have to adapt as the game went on.
“Overall, this is the kind of game we have to have at points in the season in order for the guys to have seen and been in difficult situations,” he added.
Towles’ decision-making and passing accuracy continue to improve, and Fruth said his sophomore quarterback gets it.
“CJ just keeps looking better and better each week. He really understands where the ball should go within the scheme of things, but also wants to know where to go with the ball when we get into difficult situations,” Fruth said.
Towles hooked up with Holman for three touchdown receptions, but one was negated by a penalty.
“Friday night he (Towles) found one of his favorite targets in Kam Holman,” Fruth said. “These two can stretch a defense and open up the passing game.”
Fruth also heralded a defensive effort that didn’t break and didn’t even bend.
“One more week where the defense really stepped up,” Fruth said. “That’s an impressive feat to hold that physical offense to under 100 total yards.”
The Bulldogs, ranked no. 1 in Region 3B in the VHSL top 20 football rankings ahead of no. 2 James Monroe (4-3) and no. 3 Brentsville District (4-3), travel this Saturday (Oct. 26, 2:30 p.m.) to take on Blue Ridge, a team that has posted impressive offensive numbers so far this season.
“Blue Ridge is a new opponent that we can’t say a ton about,” Fruth said. “We know from watching film that they have good size, love to throw the ball and are having a successful season.”
It’s a test, no doubt, but Fruth said it provides several good opportunities for the Bulldogs.
“This is a great warm-up to the play-offs, when we get to see this each and every week,” Fruth said.
The Saturday afternoon game also preps the Bulldogs for the postseason atmosphere.
“Plus we get to practice playing on a Saturday on the road,” Fruth said. “Good experiences as we look to the play-offs.”