It hadn't happened since the Clinton Administration. Until tonight.
Atlee Coach Roscoe Johnson says his team finally won in "all three phases" of the game, as the Raiders shocked previously unbeaten Varina in an overtime classic Friday night, 31-28, in Eastern Henrico.
The soggy weather kept the crowd down, but not the excitement generated by the Blue Devils and Raiders. Varina struck early, catapulted by a 47-yard misdirection run by Leander Cutler. That run set up Shawn Tyler's 15-yard TD run around left end for a 6-0 lead, as the PAT was blocked.
The Raiders then scored 14 unanswered points. Atlee came out firing, and, for the most part early, quarterback Reid McCoy misfired. But Atlee kept at their game plan, and McCoy found Daniel Glymph in the end zone for a 32 yard touchdown to make the score 7-6 at 5:26 left, 1st quarter. Then, in the final minute of the first quarter, McCoy struck again, this time to Zack Jacobs from 33 yards and the Raiders led 14-6.
Later in the second quarter, Atlee looked to have extended their lead, but a touchdown pass over the middle to Glymph was disallowed due to an ineligible receiver downfield penalty, keeping the score 14-6 at intermission.
The third quarter changed everything.
On the second play from scrimmage, Lamont Stubbs busted loose up the middle for a 64 yard touchdown run for a 21-6 lead. Then, on a subsequent Varina possession, quarterback Tim Minor went down, and left the field. He seemed shaken up, but little did we know his night was over.
Backup Corey Finney came in and looked completely overwhelmed. After a punt, Varina held, got the ball back, and Finney continued looking overwhelmed. Wisely, Varina head coach Stu Brown called time, calmly talked to his senior, and Finney responded. Big time.
Finney threw down the left sideline to Ya Ya Konate, who beat single coverage for the touchdown halfway through the 3rd quarter. 2-point try was good, and the lead was 21-14.
On the next possession, Finney threw a quick ten-yard out to Donovan Dowling, who shook off his defender and rambled untouched 61 yards to paydirt. Dowling caught the two-point try, and within three minutes of game time, the Blue Devils had scored 16 points to lead 22-21.
The Raiders were now the ones looking dazed. But they survived the heavyweight punch and returned with one of their own. Pinning Varina deep in their own territory, Tye Burriss took a punt near midfield and rambled to the Varina 20 before Dowling used the face mask to drag him down. The personal foul penalty gave Atlee first and goal at the five.
With mere seconds left in the 3rd, Stubbs scored his 2nd touchdown of the quarter for a 28-22 Raiders lead.
Amazingly, the fourth quarter only saw one score after a third quarter of 30 combined points. With 6:52 to go, Finney hit Konate again from 25 yards out to tie the game. In a decision Brown may now regret, Varina went for the PAT rather than for two. The snap was low, not handled by the holder, and the kicker never had a chance. The tie was preserved. Huge blown chance for Varina.
Neither team could find the end zone in the final minutes, though Atlee had a shot in the final 92 seconds from midfield but couldn't get in field goal range. A punt pinned Varina back to their 7. One running play later, it was time for overtime.
Varina started on offense first and caught a break on an iffy pass interference penalty against Atlee giving them 3rd down at the 5 (in overtime, a team gets four downs from the 10 yard line). They gained three on third down, but on 4th down from the 2, the Raider defense stiffened, keeping Varina out of the end zone.
Atlee's drive went backwards after a holding call on a Reid McCoy run put the ball at the 19. On 3rd and goal at the 20, rather than run to set kicker Ryan Molin up in the center of the field, Atlee went for a swing pass right side; a play that hadn't worked all night long. McCoy found Stubbs, who ran to the 10, setting up the 27-yard field goal attempt from the right hashmark for Molin.
The field was in horrendous condition. Blades of grass? Nowhere to be found. Somehow, Molin found footing, planted, and nailed the field goal with authority, high and deep into the Varina night, and the celebration began.
"I didn't even see the kick," Johnson told HCS Media during live internet post-game coverage. "I looked toward the fans and when they started celebrating, I ran onto the field."
Molin was mobbed by his Raider teammates, and the win was secured.
Atlee goes to 5-1, Varina drops to 5-1 and hopes to get their starting quarterback back soon. Minor left on crutches, going for treatment after the game. Varina goes to Henrico, then hosts Glen Allen before finishing with both Hanover and Highland Springs on the road, where they will need Minor, and especially Anderson, back and healthy.
The Raiders go to Glen Allen next week.
The Jaguars ran into a buzzsaw at Lee-Davis Friday, as the Confederates evened their record at 3-3, scoring 31 in the first half en route to a 38-6 victory. Donald Kidd, on his birthday, scored twice, and registered three sacks defensively as Lee-Davis now prepares to welcome Highland Springs (5-1) next Friday, which will be the Game of the Week on WHAN Radio (102.9 FM) and here at HanoverCountySports.net.
Hanover ended their three-game skid with a 15-0 shutout of Henrico. A safety was sandwiched by an early 1st quarter and late 4th quarter touchdown as Brooks Coombs returned to action for the Hawks (3-3), who next face Armstrong.
Patrick Henry's 2013 futility continued as J.R. Tucker thumped the Patriots (0-6) 47-7 on the Tigers' homecoming night in the West End. Tucker, who started 0-3, is now 3-3 and suddenly back in the playoff picture in Class 4A South, just like Hanover.
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