Flags, miscues, flags, humidity, flags.
Humidity, snap from center problems, lots of passes, three players cramped up on the same play, long passes, and a furious comeback.
And at the end for Patrick Henry....WHEW!
The Patriots, seemingly on their way to another comfortable win over county rival Atlee, suddenly found themselves fighting to keep their lead late in the final quarter, escaping with a 21-14 victory on a humidity-laden Friday night on Atlee Station Road.
The first half, though owned by the Patriots in the end on the scoreboard, was as filled with yellow as the brightest swath of a rainbow. The teams racked up at least 10 penalties in the first 24 minutes, constantly causing drives to grind into neutral, or, defensively, flags were neatly tied bows, gifts to the opposing team's offense.
The Patriots hit paydirt first with the first play of the second quarter, completing their best executed drive of the year with a perfect 19-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Brandon Cash to receiver Raquis Morris in the back left corner of the end zone (otherwise known to New York Giants fans as "Plaxico Country").
After several stalled drives and punts, the Raiders had the ball, when at the 2:33 mark, quarterback Dylan Garthwright was picked off by Brandon Wong, who returned the ball 34 yards for the score, giving PH a 14-0 halftime lead, and the penalty flags were grateful for the break.
Atlee came out slinging to start, continue, and finish half two as Garthwright ended the night 23 of 41 for 270 yards, the interception, plus one big touchdown pass.
Before that, though, the Patriots struck with a perfectly executed fake handoff up the middle to Dwight Sweat, giving Brandon Cash big room on the left side of the field. He broke a tackle at the 10 and raced into the end zone. Hayden Dyer's third PAT of the night gave PH the 21-0 lead with 4:56 left in the 3rd.
The score remained 21-0 deep into quarter four, as Atlee had yet to strike paydirt even though they had great field position several times throughout the game, twice due to Brandon Cash fumbles on the PH side of the field.
But with 6:06 to go, Garthwright found Jaired Epps for a 37 yard TD reception and the score is cut to 21-7. The next thing Patriot players and fans knew, Atlee had the football back and, after struggling to get their running game going all night, sophomore Trevor Elie broke off two big runs, the second from 8 yards out, and, suddenly, the Raiders were only down seven with still 3:43 remaining.
The Raiders did get the ball back with time to complete the miracle, but a completed Garthwright pass to left side found the receiver hit hard, fumbling the ball, with PH recovering, to finally put the exclamation point on the victory.
Dylan Garthwright will rack up some big numbers this year at quarterback for Atlee. Unfortunately, part of the reason is that the junior may spend several games in the Capital District (Highland Springs, Varina, Hanover, and a rejuvenated Lee-Davis) trying to bring the Raiders back from behind.
Another good county crowd for football, and I credit the Atlee parents and fans! They enjoy some good tailgating before a game! I should've arrived 30 minutes earlier and found a way to make some quick friends!
It took just over 6 1/2 quarters for PH to score a running touchdown this season. When is the last time that happened? Another sign of the new offense, because Cash continued to show he's not afraid to go deep, this week with better accuracy, including a 40 yard completion to Raquis Morris.
Jamison Kenny had zero yards of offense Friday night. He must be in the thick of things when PH gets into the thick of its Colonial District schedule.
Adrian Cavanaugh? Mostly on defense against Atlee, bringing big pops at the line of scrimmage, giving the stalled Atlee running game fits for most of the night.
NEXT UP: A HUGE TOMATO BOWL
As big as the Tomato Bowl is each year (the biggest rivalry in high school football in the Central Region, with apologies to L.C. Bird and Thomas Dale), the 2008 edition will be huge.
The 49th Tomato Bowl will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Lee-Davis High School. The game, originally scheduled for Ashland, is in Mechanicsville.
Add the fact that the Confederates are 1-1 and played Hermitage very closely on opening night, and the Lee-Davis Nation will be hungry for their first Tomato Bowl win since 2004.
We'll begin with a special remote broadcast from Lee-Davis on WHAN (1430) with Bill Roberts and myself from 4 to 6pm, followed by the game itself. 7:05 pregame, and a 7:30 kickoff. If you're coming to the game, I've already been told by a Lee-Davis official, come early, parking will be at a premium.
It should be a night Hanover County won't soon forget! See ya there.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Game Two: Patrick Henry 21, Atlee 14
Labels: 50th Anniversary, Atlee Raiders, Brandon Cash, Brandon Wong, Dylan Garthwright, Lee-Davis, Patrick Henry Patriots, yellow flags
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