Powhatan will look to bounce back from a 30-9 setback to James River this past Friday.
“All the credit to James River – they came out with a great game plan…they’ve got a lot of talent, they’re big and physical up front,” said head coach Mike Henderson, who also pointed to the Rapids’ current 5-2 record. “Defensively, we have to figure out a way to stop the run and be a little bit stronger at the point of attack.”
Henderson noted that the Rapids controlled both the ball and the clock on the long six- to eight-minute drives.
James River didn’t burn the home team on big plays, but the visiting unit kept both the chains and the clock moving on the four- to five-yard runs and converted for first downs on fourth-down plays.
On offense, Powhatan had a couple of turnovers, but Henderson said: “Good teams have to be able to overcome a couple turnovers and we just never got into a rhythm. We turned the ball over, they’d go on a 7-minute drive, and then we'd come out and do a 3-and-out.”
Powhatan’s offense was held to 29 plays for the entire game. But Henderson said James River was able to do a few things that he feels his team has some answers for.
“We watched the film last night, I think we’ve got some answers, but we have to be able to execute those answers,” Henderson said. “How we respond to this game will be the key to the rest of our season.”
Henderson said that James River stacked the box and played man, “so we’ve got to find a way to make people pay if they’re going to do that, or find some ways to take advantage of some other things.” Powhatan’s team will also look to improve on its passing and pass protection.
Senior running back Mitchell Johnson had 14 carries for 82 yards. He delivered a 40-yard run on Powhatan’s lone touchdown drive of the game, capped by quarterback Dylan Trevillian’s 5-yard scoring strike to senior Ethan Dowdy.
Chase Gayness had 17 tackles, including 11 solos and one sack. Wyatt Lowe had 10 tackles.
The Indians added 2 points with 10:36 left in the game when they backed up James River and forced 4th down, and the Rapids took an intentional safety with the punter running out of the back of the end zone.
Powhatan is now 4-2 with four games left in the regular season.
“There are so many good teams in Division 4,” Henderson said. “It puts us in a situation where we have to execute every week. There’s no room for error.”
Powhatan is gearing up for its third consecutive year playing at Clover Hill (2-4) with its upcoming matchup on Friday at 7 p.m. The last two years the two teams played, Powhatan rallied out of a 20-7 deficit in the final 5 minutes to defeat the Cavaliers 21-20 in 2019 and triumphed again this spring – only this time, in a 43-42 triple-overtime thriller.
“We know Clover Hill is a heck of a football team. The last two years we’ve played them have been two of the most exciting games I’ve ever been a part of,” Henderson said. “They’ve both come out on our end, so that’s going to give them a little extra motivation. They’re coming off a big win (Friday night, 41-6 over George Wythe) and I think they’re starting to play good football and they’re starting to look at this like: ‘We’ve got a chance to make a playoff run, too.’”
“There’s a lot at stake,” Henderson said, “but I think we can say that for every game the rest of the way.”