FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Sims, defense lift Bears in opener
Season-opening football games, especially at the high school level, are learning experiences. That was one of several areas where Riverbend had an edge over Chancellor Friday night.
While many of the youthful Chargers got their first taste of varsity football, there was little mystery in the Bears’ workmanlike 14–0 victory over the Chargers, built on two touchdown runs from junior Zach Sims. That’s largely because both of Riverbend’s coordinators rose through the ranks with their younger players.
“I’ve been coaching for 24 years, and this coaching staff knows this team as well as any team I’ve ever been with,” head coach Tony DeMarco said. “They coached them in FYA [Fredericksburg Youth Association], middle school and JV. Now, they’re with them on the varsity.”
Coordinator Russ Miles’ defense limited the Chargers to 60 total yards and three first downs. Chancellor ran just 35 offensive plays to RIverbend’s 56.
Chancellor’s deepest penetration came after recovering a fumble on the Riverbend 40 early in the first half. But the Chargers failed to gain a single yard on that possession.
“[Miles] plays a safe defense, but our kids repped hard on playing their responsibilities,” DeMarco said. “We don’t have a ton of guys back, but they’re hungry and their fly to the ball.”
While Riverbend’s defense was posting a shutout, the offense rested largely on the shoulders of Sims, who scored on runs of 1 yard early in the second quarter and 15 midway through the third.
Chancellor’s defense bent but rarely broke and kept the game close with a goal-line stand just before halftime. Riverbend had first down and goal at the Chancellor 4 with less than a minute to play in the second quarter, but Jacob Ernest stopped Sims on a sweep on fourth down.
“I just had to be patient,” said Sims, who gained 129 yards on 24 carries and also caught two passes. “The first couple series. we weren’t clicking, but we knew if we kept at it, some big plays would open up.”
The game’s biggest play came midway through the third quarter. Riverbend’s Brennan Leopal sacked Chancellor quarterback Zander Roysten and caused a fumble, which Tristen Burnett recovered at the 24.
As he did on the first touchdown drive, Sims accounted for all the yardage on two runs and a pass reception.
Still, it wasn’t a bad showing for the youthful Chargers. Four freshmen handled the ball on the night, including quarterback Jason Brown, who split time with Roysten.
“They found out what varsity football is all about,” Chancellor coach Bob Oliver said. “I was really pleased with my football team’s effort. We’ll chalk it up to experience.
“ This might be the best thing for us. I didn’t want them to think they were better than they are, and they certainly can’t think that now.”
Next Friday, the Chargers host Eastern View and they Bears play at home against Courtland.
Rb-Z. Sims 1-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
Rb-Z. Sims 15-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
Rushing: Chancellor—Jamal Jones 4-18; Kemoni Dunn 2-14; Orlando Jones 4-10; Jason Brown 3-3; Joshua Kaopua 1-0; Zander Roysten 6-(-8). Riverbend—Zach Sims 24-129, 2TD; Dakota Sexton 11-62; C.J. Washington 1-12; Chris Pricthett 1-0; Tyler Lacik 1-(-11); Eric Byrd 6-(-24).
Passing: Chancellor—Zander Roysten 4-11-1 19; Jason Brown 1-4-0 4. Riverbend—Eric Byrd 6-12-0 68.
Receiving: Chancellor—Brandon Cavalier 2-8; Emanuel Jenkins 1-6; Nate Garrette 1-5; Kemoni Dunn 1-4. Riverbend—Conner Booren 2-32; Zach Sims 2-24; Garrett Wiedle 1-11; Chris Pricthett 1-1.