Rappahannock County High School’s football team did not have to wait to take the field for its troubles to start with the opening kickoff Friday night.
“We got caught in traffic,” Panthers head coach Terrence Johnson began, “then, it was their Senior Night, and we got rushed off the field. We didn’t warm up properly. We were sluggish. It just wasn’t a good night.”
The break in the pre-game routine set the tone for Rappahannock County.
Quantico’s Jace Johnson had nine carries for 203 yards and four touchdowns and helped the defense with an interception return for 76 yards as the Warriors upended the visiting Panthers, 43-6.
The loss dropped Rappahannock County to a 1-8 record this season.
The Panthers hold their Senior Night tomorrow (Nov. 5), as they host Hundred, W.Va. in their season finale.
Quantico’s Warriors (4-5) jumped out to a 6-0 lead early in the opening quarter as Johnson scored on a 61-yard run. Late in the second quarter, he picked off a pass and returned it 76 yards for a score that boosted Quantico’s lead to 29-0.
Junior running back Tim Ridgeway’s 25-yard scoring run for Rappahannock County cut the deficit to 29-6 at the half.
“They weren’t that good, and we weren’t that bad,” Johnson said. “Every bright spot we had, though, was eliminated by the mistakes that we make. We’re scared to score. Every time we get down there, it’s a false start, block in the back, offsides. We can’t have that.”
In the second half, Johnson scored on a 49-yard pass from quarterback Chase King and a 54-yard run from scrimmage.
Freshman fullback Billy Hogan led the Panthers’ offense with 128 yards on 21 carries. Ridgeway chipped in 60 yards on eight carries.
“We keep coaching them up. We keep preaching the same thing every week,” Johnson said. “Fundamentals. Fundamentals. Some kids have shown real improvement. Others haven’t.”
Rappahannock County closes its season against Hundred, but the work continues for the players. If they are not participating in wrestling or basketball, Johnson expects them to be in the weight room lifting and conditioning.
“Ninety-eight percent of this team is back next year,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get the kids out and playing.”