Maybe it was a message to naysayers or just simply a statement of fact about the first game of the year, but Quoterrus Craighead delivered it with confidence after E.C. Glass’ dominant 58-0 shellacking of Charlottesville.
“It’s just the beginning,” Craighead said after churning up 100 rushing yards and scoring twice to aid the Hilltoppers’ efforts.
Yes, it was just the beginning, the first night of high school football in the Lynchburg area, and Glass was clicking on all cylinders.
But it was also the beginning of what the Hilltoppers hope will be a sterling season of swatting away opponents like the Black Knights.
Glass quarterback DreSean Kendrick led the attack with 96 passing yards, 143 yards on the ground and three scores, and the Hilltoppers never let off the gas to down the Black Knights for the third straight year on opening night.
While the offense provided the spark, Glass’ defense was just as good. Charlottesville managed just 117 yards of total offense, with just 32 of those coming in the first half, during which Glass build a 30-0 lead.
Charlottesville was led by junior running back Jabari Jones (31 rushing yards) and senior Christopher Sprouse (24 rushing yards).
“The plan was to play a heck of a lot better, that’s for sure,” Black Knights coach Eric Sherry said. “But we struggled. But obviously we ran into a buzzsaw, we didn’t execute real well and the wheels just fell off.”
The scoreboard at Lynchburg City Stadium malfunctioned and never worked Thursday night. It was the only hiccup for the home-based school all night. Glass kicker Tyler Garrett started the scoring in the first quarter by notching a 31-yard field goal. A running clock was instituted in the third quarter and Glass had replaced its starters with backups, but the scoring never stopped.
Backup running back Q Foster, whose older brother Ty was sidelined by an ankle tweak Thursday, burst away for a 97-yard touchdown in the final minute of play.
Glass put up 587 total yards of offense, with 491 of those yards occurring on the ground. Q Foster rushed for 102 yards and fellow backups KyJuan Brown and Patrick Payne added 86 and 53, respectively. Markevus Graves-Franklin led the Hilltoppers receiving corps with three catches for 56 yards.
“I ain’t gonna lie, I slept a little bit,” Craighead said of his team’s backup runners. “But they proved me wrong, man.”
With Glass up 10-0, Kendrick started the second quarter with a 60-yard TD scamper. The play appeared busted, but the quarterback shifted to his left, found room on the edge, avoided a pocket of defenders and then shot back to his right, a little shake-and-bake in his step.
On Glass’ next possession he was at it again, rolling in to the end zone for an 11-yard score.
“I saw that every time we dropped back to pass, they were sending everybody who wasn’t guarding a man,” Kendrick said of Charlottesville on his long run, “so I had to be able to make a decision fast. I just seen the crease and took off.”
Sherry said his squad, which hosts James Monroe in Week 2, left “a little dinged up.” His team is coming off a 1-9 year and is trying to find something to build on.
“I think maybe there was too much in offensively,” the coach said, referring to his squad’s schemes. “I’m not really certain, but we’ll keep going.”
Glass coach Jeff Woody was pleased with his defense, which held Charlottesville into three-and-outs most of the night.
“We were able to get into a rhythm early,” he said. But Woody also noted that his team, which takes a bye next week, has plenty of work to do.
“The hay’s not in the barn,” he added.