GOOCHLAND - It’s been 4 years since Goochland lost a football game in the month of October, but this month’s first opponent presented some real concerns for the home-standing Bulldogs.
Amelia arrived in town with its sights set on getting an upset win and spoiling Goochland’s Homecoming in front of the overflow crowd.
The Bulldogs quickly put those plans to rest, shutting-out the visiting Raiders 35-0. They took the opening kickoff and mounted a six-minute drive with an efficient offense that was capped by a touchdown run from CJ Towles to open the scoring.
But ultimately, it was Goochland’s defense that made the definitive statement against the Raiders. Devin McCray recorded two interceptions – one of them resulting in a pick-six – and the defensive line constantly pressured Amelia quarterback Antonio Harris into making bad throws and tossing picks to Goochland’s defenders.
And special teams maintained that pressure with the help of Kam Holman’s two long punt returns, one that produced a touchdown and another that stopped just yards short of the Raiders’ goal line.
“I thought this was our first game where we put most of the pieces together,” said Goochland head football coach Alex Fruth. “The offense played well at times, special teams made plays and the defense was lights out.”
The Bulldogs have upped their game with each contest this year, and the coach indicated it’s still a work in progress, but he noted the improvement that’s been seen each week.
“This is the goal each week,” Fruth said. “We still left a ton of points on the field, but overall thought we did have our best complete game.”
Amelia presented a special challenge with a spread offense that had produced big plays this season. But Fruth realized that very scenario could provide a chance for his speedy defensive backfield.
“We don’t see many spread teams, but when we do, I know it will be a chance for our defensive backs to shine,” Fruth said. “And man did those guys have a night! Haiden McCourt, Kam Holman, CJ Towles, Kindrick Braxton and Devin McCray had one heck of a game, as did our defensive line. Those guys really enjoyed the opportunity to rush the passer throughout the game.”
Fruth said the defense is turning heads, and that’s just what it will take to carry the team in postseason play.
“How much fun are these guys to watch?” Fruth said. “It’s a reminder that, for us to be successful once the playoffs kick off, they have to come up big each week.
“The best part is: I feel that we are a better tackling team than we were a year ago,” he added.
With its fourth win in a row, Goochland Football (4-1) now holds the no. 1 ranking in VHSL’s Region 3B ahead of no. 2 Brentsville (2-3) and no. 3 James Monroe (2-3).
The Bulldogs are back on the road next week (Friday, Oct. 11) at Prince Edward (1-3) for a 7 p.m. matchup that the team is not taking lightly.
“Prince Edward should be a good test for us, as they gave Nottoway a heck of a game (14-6) this week,” Fruth said. “They have a physical approach to offense and a fast defense that can cause havoc for opposing offensive lines…we will have our work cut out for us against these guys.”
But the philosophy for Friday’s game and the ones that will follow remains the same.
“We will need to keep progressing, gaining experience, polishing up our technique and – most importantly of all – finish drives on offense.”
Towles finished the evening with more than 100 yards passing and a touchdown throw to McCray.