RCHS Seniors hunger for homecoming football win

The Southern Garrett defense smothers Rappahannock County freshman Billy Hogan (44) in the first quarter. Photo by Christine Krapf.

After scoring just once in four games, one would understand if the two seniors with the most playing experience felt angry with their Rappahannock County High School varsity football teammates.

Neither Matt Fletcher nor D’Angelo Robinson harbors any ill feelings.

In fact, the two believe that the Panthers have a good chance of turning around their season.

Maybe it will come tomorrow night (Oct. 1) against Carson Long Military Institute, a small, private school in New Bloomfield, Pa.
It will be homecoming at Rapphannock County High School.

“I’ve been thinking about homecoming since we started practice,” Robinson said. “It’s our senior year. You want to win your homecoming.”

Fletcher agreed.

Such a game will bring out current as well as former students, teachers and residents of the community.

“We’ve had good crowds,” he said, “and it’s sad that we’ve let them down twice. We’ve got to step it up.”

Friday night, Bubba Scheffel scored on a kick return and tossed a touchdown pass as visiting Southern Garrett defeated the Panthers, 47-0.

Scheffel’s 68-yard kickoff return gave the Rams a 16-0 lead midway through the first quarter. It came after Southern Garrett recorded a safety.

“I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but we keep beating ourselves,” Rappahannock County head coach Terrence Johnson said. “Everything looks good in practice. As soon as we get out there under the lights, our fundamentals go out the window.”

The Rams (3-1) jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the first quarter.

Derek Pappa scampered nine yards for a touchdown. Jake Bramande booted the first of six extra points for Southern Garrett. 

With just over four minutes left in the first half, Rappahannock County surrendered a safety to push the Rams’ lead to 9-0. Scheffel returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards for the score and a 16-0 lead. 

As the quarter came to a close, Kory Sanders plunged two yards for the touchdown.

Johnson said that Rappahannock County had chances to move the ball into scoring position but suffered various breakdowns to stop its drives in the first half.

“Matt looked good at quarterback, and he’s hobbled with that high ankle sprain, too,” Johnson said. “But people dropped the ball or they are not running full speed.”

Fletcher felt that Rappahannock County showed signs of improvement on the offensive side. A missed block here or there could be the difference between a small gain or a touchdown.

“If we do our jobs, we’re going to score touchdowns,” he said. “[Just] two people can’t be on the same page. It’s got to be 11.”

In the second quarter, Zach Knotts rambled 80 yards for a score, and Scheffel connected with Logan Stewart on a six-yard pass to push the Rams’ lead to 37-0.

Bramande kicked a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Kurt Gangler dashed 10 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.

Fletcher and Robinson believe that one touchdown could cure Rappahannock County’s troubles this fall.

“It’s more than frustrating, because we’re seniors, “Robinson added. “There’s only five of us, but Matt and I are the only ones with varsity experience. We are so young as a team, but we’re gaining experience.”

They also have a head coach who still believes in them.

“I’m still thinking championship,” Johnson said. “You have to say, ‘I’m a winner’ inside.”

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