Monday, September 29, 2008

Single-Wing Payback

Not the season opener Indians had hoped for

By Greg Taylor
Contributing writer
Sep 10, 2008

You know what they say about payback.

Well, Powhatan’s football team got theirs last Thursday as Louisa roared into town and shutout the Indians 21-0, exacting a measure of revenge for the 40-0 blowout last year by the Indians.

Friday also marked the first time Powhatan had been shut out in 83 regular and post-season games.

The game was moved to Thursday because of the impending Tropical Storm Hanna. With the storm bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, the hot, humid tropical air would have an effect on the players throughout the game

After a scoreless first quarter, Louisa jumped on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Anthony Hunter (16 carries for 102 yards) capped off an eight-play, 73-yard drive by plowing up the middle of the Indians’ defense for a six-yard touchdown.

Powhatan’s offense, which had only two yards rushing in the first quarter, could not seem to get on track throughout the night. After the touchdown, their next series ended abruptly when Christian Higuchi coughed up the ball and Louisa recovered. The Indians had only 72 total yards of offense at halftime.

Despite giving up the touchdown, the Indians’ defense maintained a” bend but don’t break” approach for the first half against the single wing offense employed by Louisa.

While Louisa had three straight shots at the end zone near halftime, they came up empty and the teams headed to the locker room with the score Louisa 7, Powhatan 0.

The third quarter was all Louisa as Powhatan came out of the locker room flat. The Lions took the opening kickoff of the half and needed only seven plays to cover 71 yards for their next score.

Anthony Hunter had two big gains on the drive as the Indians’ defense could not stop the run. Quarterback Dillon Hollins scored from three yards out to push the Lions to a 13-0 lead.

The hot, muggy air began to take a toll on some players. Both Shawn Minor (7-14, 57 yards, 1 Int) and Shawn Henderson (15 carries for 47 yards) left on consecutive plays on Powhatan’s next possession because of cramping. Minor’s replacement, Phillip Schoeffel, dropped back to pass with Powhatan on Louisa’s 31-yard line and threw a perfect strike that hit the player right between the numbers. Too bad it was Louisa middle linebacker Kerry Wynn, who raced 73 yards for a touchdown and a commanding 21-0 lead.

The rest of the game saw Louisa run a ball-control offense to take time off the clock. Powhatan had a few more drives left but had one end on an interception and the other on downs.

As the final horn sounded, the Powhatan sideline seemed in shock at what the scoreboard showed. The players knew that this was an important game, a season opener and the first game without Tahliek Taliaferro roaming the middle.

Powhatan’s inability on the offensive line to provide protection for Minor and create holes for Henderson really put the Indians behind the eight ball early.

The line has the size to be dominant but does not have the practice and continuity of working together to be effective.

With three new players on the line, it will take time for the unit to gel. But that timetable may need to be accelerated as this offense needs to control the clock to be successful.

It became apparent in the second half that the Indians defense did not have either the intensity or the ability to make something happen as many a defender tried to arm tackle only to come up short.

Though this was a season opener, it was effectively played as a second scrimmage game since Prince George cancelled their Aug. 29 scrimmage with Powhatan.

So, the real season starts on Friday as Powhatan looks to rebound when they travel to Caroline, a team they have not lost to this decade.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Powhatan Today - P.O. Box 10; Powhatan, Virginia 23139

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