The latest edition of the oldest Hanover County football rivalry, The Tomato Bowl, looked as if it would break two recent trends. In the end, it only broke one.
Lee-Davis became the first home team to win the Tomato Bowl since 2006 with a 27-20 win over Patrick Henry. The Confederates rolled out to a 20-0 lead by early in the second quarter, and it seemed there would not be a close contest, as had been the case each of the past four years.
But Patrick Henry would score before halftime to cut the lead to 20-7, and overcome a special teams mistake on the opening kickoff of the second half, giving Lee-Davis the ball in Patrick Henry territory en route to their final score of the game, to provide yet another nail biting finish to the storied rivalry.
In a 13 minute stretch, Patrick Henry scored two touchdowns to make it 27-20. Lee-Davis played ball control, chewing up clock until their drive stalled due to penalties and the Patriots took over with 50 seconds left at their own 29 yard line, with no time outs.
Miraculously, the Patriots were able to move the chain twice, the second time on a 29-yard pass completion from Tyler Phelps to Travis Phillips. The clock stopped with :00.2 left. The Patriots raced to the Lee-Davis 15 to get ready to snap the next play before time expired, giving them one last shot at the end zone and a tying touchdown. But Phelps' last pass was knocked down by a Confederate defender, and the thousands of Lee-Davis fans in attendance breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Chris Simpson led all rushers with 251 yards on 35 carries for Lee-Davis (2-1). The Confederates begin Capital District play Friday night at home against Varina.
Patrick Henry, now 0-3 for the third time in the past four seasons, has lost 11 of their last 12 games against county opponents. The Patriots open Colonial District play Friday night at home against 3-0 John Marshall, a team extremely hungry to reach the Division 5 playoffs after finishing 7-3 last year but missing out on VHSL rider points to a 6-4 Confederates team.
Hanover welcomed Deep Run to their Chamberlayne Road campus Friday, and played like they weren't being paid by the hour.
In a performance packed with precision, Hanover dispensed of the Wildcats 47-0 in a game that took only an hour and 45 minutes in real time, some 30 minutes quicker than an average high school football game.
L.J. Jones continued his great start to the season rushing, gaining 140 yards on just 12 carries, scoring three touchdowns. Sam Rogers ran for two scores, one in each of the first two quarters, to open the scoring. It was 27-0 by halftime.
NOTE: Hanover (3-0) begins its Capital District schedule with a huge road test at Highland Springs on Friday night. WHAN Radio (102.9 FM/1430 AM) will broadcast the Hanover/Highland Springs game LIVE on Friday beginning at 6:30pm. The game will also be available online and on your smartphone at www.hanovercountysports.org.
The Atlee Raiders suffered a stunning loss in their home opener, falling to 2-1 after a 49-48 loss to Douglas Freeman Friday. Both teams pummeled their opponents' defense, trading touchdown for touchdown throughout the game. Freeman led to begin the 4th quarter 42-35, but the Raiders stormed back with Morris Jackson tying the game with a four-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the game and 13th of the year. Then, as the final minutes began, Kenner Berry found Chad Jacob for a 30-yard touchdown pass for a 48-42 lead.
The play of the game occurred when the extra point attempt failed, opening the door for one final Freeman comeback. The Rebels succeeded, driving down the field, tying the game with three seconds remaining when Eli Farinholt caught a nine-yard TD pass from Rebels quarterback Kyle Farkas. The extra point gave Freeman the winning margin.
The Atlee offense has been prolific, scoring 145 points in their first three games. But their defense has been very suspect, allowing 121 points in those three contests (Deep Run, Patrick Henry, Douglas Freeman). The Raiders open Capital District play Friday at Henrico, a team that mirrors Atlee so far this year, capable of scoring lots of points, but also likely to allow a lot of points to their opponent. The team that can turn their defensive fortunes around will take this Capital opener.
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