From staff reports
In Amherst, a typical Seminole District defensive struggle came down to a goal-line stand.
Amherst was up for the challenge.
The Lancers stuffed Rustburg’s attempt to score the go-ahead points on a two-point conversion with less than 2 minutes remaining and held on for a 13-12 victory Friday night at Lancer Stadium.
“It was back-and-forth defensive struggle,” Rustburg coach Jack Baker said.
The Lancers (1-3) picked up their first victory under Bob Christmas in thrilling fashion. Amherst, despite picking up only 120 yards of total offense, limited the Red Devils (2-2) to 175 yards.
Rustburg, trailing 13-6, put together a methodical drive that ended with Javonte Greens’ 5-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to one point.
Baker opted to go for two and the win, but Amherst held strong to keep the Red Devils out of the end zone.
Amherst recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
“The turning point is probably the failed two-point conversion for the win,” Baker said.
Lawrence Brown Jr. returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to put the Lancers ahead 7-0. Rustburg immediately answered with a drive that culminated in Avery Dixon’s 25-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 7-6.
Dixon rushed for 60 yards on three attempts.
Jaylin Jones rushed for 73 yards on 20 attempts and completed 1 of 2 passes, a 17-yard completion to Tyler Sandidge.
The missed extra point loomed large after both defenses stood tall for the second and third quarters.
Amherst finally put together a scoring drive that ended with Trokhal Roberson’s 2-yard plunge. The extra point was missed to put the Lancers ahead 13-6.
Amherst quarterback CJ Rose rushed for seven yards on 13 attempts and completed 5 of 12 passes for 51 yards. Xzavier Ellis rushed for 35 yards and Roberson added 25 yards on six carries.
Heritage 68, Liberty 14
In Bedford, KJ Vaughan only touched the ball eight times against Liberty. But that didn’t stop the Heritage running back from getting into the end zone at will.
The senior rushed for 114 yards and scored four touchdowns, Kameron Burns completed all but two passes for 210 yards, and the Pioneers (3-1) opened Seminole District play with a rousing victory over the host Minutemen (1-3).
Vaughan picked up 58 of his rushing yards on the four TD runs, while Burns completed 5 of 7 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown.
Heritage sophomore Deuce Crawford returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give the Pioneers a lead 12 seconds into the game.
Vaughan scored twice in the first quarter — both on 15-yard runs — and Burns connected with Jahee Blake on a 68-yard touchdown pass as the Pioneers led 28-0 after 12 minutes.
Krystian Rivera, Vaughan and Kyron Thomas each had rushing touchdowns in the second quarter as HHS extended its lead to 48-0, and Vaughan’s fourth TD run made it 55-0 midway through the third quarter.
Silas Rucker and Tevin Braxton each scored on 5-yard runs to help the Pioneers rack up 257 yards on the ground and 472 yards of total offense.
Tanner Stanley provided all of the Liberty offense with touchdown runs of 59 and 28 yards in the fourth quarter. The sophomore rushed for 156 yards and completed 3 of 9 passes for 22 yards.
Garrett Whorley completed both of his passes for 66 yards and tight end Rahsaan Jordan caught two passes for 65 yards.
Nelson 51, Rappahannock County 7
In Washington, the Governors’ defense picked off four passes and returned three of them for touchdowns as Nelson (2-2) routed the Panthers (1-2) to close the nondistrict portion of its schedule.
Jamel Rose returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown. Brice Wilson returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown and Cole Koschara added a 78-yard interception return for a score to help the Govs take a 45-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Felix Rodriguez, who led the team with eight tackles, also rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
Quarterback George Brown rushed for 57 yards and two scores on four carries while also completing 4 of 7 passes for 78 yards and one interception. Aveon Tabb added a 2-yard rushing touchdown for the Govs.
Lord Botetourt 48, William Campbell 0
In Daleville, Dylan Wade ran for 187 yards and three touchdowns as the Cavaliers (4-0) routed the Generals (3-1).
Kyle Arnholt had six catches for 90 yards and two TDs and returned an interception 36 yards for a TD for Lord Botetourt. James-Ryan Salvi completed 9 of 10 passes for 115 yards and two TDs.
Blacksburg 49, Staunton River 14
In Blacksburg, Luke Goforth threw for 172 yards and three touchdowns to help the Bruins (3-1) beat the Golden Eagles (1-3).
Brian Mitchell ran for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass for Blacksburg. Evan Hale ran an interception back for a score for Blacksburg.
Jalin Martin and Aidan Brown each had a fourth-quarter touchdown run for Staunton River.
The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.