Buckingham ousts Clarke 48-20 in 1st round
Posted: November 10, 2012
Special to The Winchester Star
BUCKINGHAM — The No. 10 seed Clarke County football team’s season came to an end on Friday night as No. 7 seed Buckingham County jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat the Eagles 48-20 in the first round of the Group A Eastern Section, Division 2 playoffs.
Clarke’s season ends with a final overall record of 6-5. The Knights (9-2) will now travel to No. 2 Goochland next week in the quarterfinals.
“We made some mistakes, and we had opportunities,” said Clarke coach Chris Parker. “Buckingham is a quality program, they’re well-coached and they have speed, and tonight we made too many mistakes — in every facet of the game — and you can’t do that against a team that’s got speed.”
Buckingham got on the board early and often, building a two-score lead late in the first quarter, and tacking on another touchdown after Leon Ragland intercepted a Sean McDonald pass in Clarke territory. Buckingham sophomore running back Kyree Koonce punched one in from six yards out a few plays later to make it 27-6 Knights with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
Eagles’ senior running back Davey Hardesty did all he could to keep his team in it, as he scored his second touchdown of the night on a 10-yard sweep to cap a seven-play, 74-yard drive, cutting the Buckingham lead to 27-12 with 4:34 left until halftime.
The Knights answered with 22 ticks remaining, as junior quarterback John Edwards found classmate Jesse Hickman on a 24-yard fade route, and Buckingham led 33-12 at the break.
Hardesty made a huge play from the other side of the ball on the second play of the third quarter, stripping the rock from a Knights ballcarrier and racing 50 yards to pay dirt. Hardesty ran in the two-point conversion, and all of a sudden it was a 13-point game 26 seconds into the second half.
“Davey is a playmaker and he’s a winner,” Parker said of his star’s final high school contest. “He has been our workhorse, and our team a lot of times has been carried on his back, and I’m really proud of him and the entire team. We could’ve folded but we didn’t — we kept fighting. We talked about that at halftime, that Clarke County football is not about giving up and our kids responded.”
The Eagles had a chance to cut further into the deficit after forcing a Buckingham punt, but a 10-play drive into the red zone failed on a fourth-down conversion run. The Knights turned the ball over on downs on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Clarke would again make a trip inside the Knights’ 20-yard line.
However, Kenneth “Peanut” Johnson picked off a McDonald pass with 6:51 to play inside the 10-yard line. Three plays later, Koonce bounced one outside for 65 yards, setting up an Edwards’ quarterback sneak from a yard out with 4:13 to play.
The Knights led 41-20 after a Koonce two-point run, and then recovered a short kickoff that was fumbled by Clarke at its own 29-yard line. With 3:12 left, Koonce slammed the door shut with a 15-yard scamper to put the contest out of reach.
“We had a chance to get a little bit closer,” Parker said, “and it didn’t work out — but our guys did not quit.”