The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Prep Football: Eagles open easy, building to first test
BY JUSTIN RICE
Both teams wore green uniforms. Both teams ran the same wing–T offense, learned from time spent together at team camps in the past. Both teams were opening the 2012 season.
The similarities between Roanoke Catholic and Fredericksburg Christian ended there.
The Eagles turned in a dominating performance in their season opener, beating Roanoke Catholic, 35–0, on Saturday. Aaron Alexander returned a pair of first-quarter punts for touchdowns, and Hunter Griffis scored twice on short runs to put FCS firmly in control.
It was just the first step for the Eagles in a schedule that will get significantly more challenging as the season goes forward.
“It’s building up,” said senior offensive tackle A.J. Addison. “The schedule is going to pick up. It’s not going to be as easy as last year. We’ve got to work hard and stay focused.”
The FCS defense set the tone Saturday, and Alexander sparked the rout.
The Eagles forced a punt after the Celtics started the game on offense.
Alexander fielded the bouncing ball and didn’t need many elusive moves to race down the far sideline, going 65 yards for a 7–0 advantage.
Alexander nearly returned a punt for a score again after the Celtics’ second possession, but a penalty on the runback instead gave the Eagles poor field position.
FCS went 64 yards in seven plays—including an 18-yard gain on a scramble by quarterback Bret Barham—and Griffis scored off right tackle from five yards out to make it 14–0.
The Celtics were again forced to punt on their third possession, and Alexander one-upped himself.
This punt he returned 66 yards for a score, and Fredericksburg Christian was firmly in control.
“You look forward to that first game, getting some plays in, and getting off to a good start,” Eagles coach Tim Coleman said. “We did some good things with our No. 1’s, and there’s some things we have to work on with our No. 1’s. Our No. 2’s came in and did a good job. The defense, the kicking game all went pretty smooth. So, there’s little things you try to take out of it.”
The biggest thing FCS can take away from the game is that it’s another step closer to its Sept. 14 game at Glen Allen, a Group AAA, Division 5 public school. Whereas FCS on Saturday had a significant advantage in terms of physical size and number of players, against Glen Allen the Eagles will be the underdogs.
Between then and now, Fredericksburg Christian has a home game Friday against Quantico, another team the Eagles will likely have a physical advantage against.
“You never ever look past anyone, you never want to underestimate your opponent and you never want to take your opponent for granted,” Coleman said. “But these first two teams, if we can’t beat them, we’re not going to be in a position to make the playoffs.
“It’s a stepping stone, and the kids have to keep it in proper prospective. The week after this [against Glen Allen], business is going to pick up greatly.”
Roanoke Catholic 0 0 0 0 — 0
Fred. Christian 21 7 7 0 — 35
FCS-A. Alexander 65-yard punt return (G. Sala kick)
FCS-H. Griffis 5-yard run (G. Sala kick)
FCS-A. Alexander 66-yard punt return (G. Sala kick)
FCS-H. Griffis 4-yard run (G. Sala kick)
FCS-B. Chenault 16-yard run (G. Sala kick)
First downs 6 12
Rushing yardage 37-83 36-229
Passing yardage 0 16
Passes 0-4-0 1-3-0
Punts-Avg. 4-30.3 0-0.0
Fumbles-lost 5-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-25 8-57
Rushing: Fredericksburg Christian—Ben Sizemore 8-53; Hunter Griffis 7-48, 2TD; Brandon Chenault 5-36, TD; Aaron Alexander 3-32; Bret Barham 2-23; A.J. Washington 2-20; Chris Barlow 4-17; Renn Garbee 1-0; Jared Steigerwald 4-0.
Passing: Fredericksburg Christian—Bret Barham 1-3-0 16.
Receiving: Fredericksburg Christian—Renn Garbee 1-16.
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045