The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Prep Football: Stafford’s Harris outduels Riverbend’s Sims
BY NICK ST. DENIS
Stafford running back Da’Shawn Harris said his first priority on a rainy Friday night was making sure he secured the ball properly, because if he didn’t: “We’d be running on Monday in practice.”
Fortunately for Harris, and the Indians, the senior tailback did so much running against Riverbend that Monday never became an issue.
Harris totaled 198 yards on just 15 carries and scored three touchdowns in Stafford’s 33–16 victory over the Bears.
“The thing that impresses me most about him is he’s a great teammate,” Stafford coach Chad Lewis said. “He works extremely hard at practice and keeps getting better each week.
“He’s not just a kid who tries to show up on Friday night. He shows up during the week.”
Harris credited stout blocking by his offensive line, receivers and even his quarterback for the team’s success on the ground.
According to Harris, they made his job easy.
“I saw open field, and I just ran,” Harris said.
Harris and Riverbend running back Zach Sims spent the first three quarters of the game going punch-for-punch with big rushing scores.
Sims amassed 185 yards of his own on 24 carries, finding the end zone twice.
Harris scored on rushes of 61, 58 and 22 yards, and Sims countered with scoring scampers of 57 and 56 yards.
“I knew I had to punch it in there one more time, because I knew it was going to be back-to-back at the beginning,” Harris said of his duel with Sims. “I know him outside of school and stuff, and I know how good of an athlete he is.”
Stafford kicker Andrew Williams was impressive, as he connected on a 35-yard field goal to close out the first half to put his team up by two scores, and was good on all four of his point-after tries.
Williams also made a crucial play near the end of the fourth quarter when he backed up Riverbend’s offense near its own goal line with a 40-yard punt that went out of bounds at the 4-yard line.
The Indians recorded a safety on the ensuing possession.
“Andrew has done a fantastic job for us all year, he’s been very consistent,” Lewis said. “From a punting standpoint, from a extra-point and field goal standpoint, he’s done a really nice job for us.”
In a rain-soaked game from start to finish, neither team bothered to try much through the air.
However, Stafford’s bruising quarterback Billy Bolinsky connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Lane to go along with Bolinsky’s 63 yards rushing on 13 ground attempts.
“It was just a great team effort,” Lewis said. “The kids showed a lot of heart.”
Bolinsky was intercepted twice—once by Ian Dario and another time by DaVonte Christmas.”
Riverbend quarterback Eric Byrd was injured last week and spent limited time calling signals against the Indians, as Sims lined up behind center for the majority of the Bears’ offensive snaps.
“We have different things that we do with him and different things we do with Eric,” Riverbend coach Tony DeMarco said. “And it’s actually a pretty good combination.”
Sims scored both of the Bears’ two-point conversions.
Riverbend (3–3, 2–2) is off next Friday before it hosts Orange Oct. 12, and Stafford (2–4, 2–2) faces Albemarle next week.
Riverbend 8 0 8 0 — 16
Stafford 7 10 14 2 — 33
St-D. Harris 22-yard run (A. Williams kick)
Rb-Z. Sims 56-yard run (Z. Sims 2-pt run)
St-D. Harris 58-yard run (A. Williams kick)
St-A. Williams 35-yard field goal
St-D. Lane 21-yard pass from B. Bolinsky (A. Williams kick)
Rb-Z. Sims 57-yard run (Z. Sims 2-pt run)
St-D. Harris 61-yard run (A. Williams kick)
First downs7 15
Rushing yardage31-181 42-335
Passing yardage36 54
Rushing: Stafford—Da’Shawn Harris 15-198, 3TD; Billy Bolinsky 13-63; Devin Stowell 8-29; Traevon Richardson 3-28; Patrick Holland 3-17. Riverbend—Zach Sims 24-185, 2TD; Eddie Reyes 3-6; DaVonte Christmas 2-(-1); Eric Byrd 2-(-9).
Passing: Stafford—Billy Bolinsky 3-8-2 54, TD. Riverbend—Eric Byrd 2-8-0 36.
Receiving: Stafford—Dylan Lane 1-21, TD; Evan Greening 1-21; Trey Spindle 1-12. Riverbend—Conner Booren 1-30; Matt Capozza 1-6.
Nick St. Denis: 540/374-5440