With plenty of reasons to look past Colonial Heights ( 0-4) and to place thoughts on the next game against Thomas Dale ( 3-1), Hopewell’s football team refused to do so. They came out of the gate fast – Tre Henderson fast. The very first play from scrimmage produced an exceptionally well-executed 59-yard touchdown run by Henderson with crisp blocking where he was not even touched.
Hopewell (4-0) continued its season-long excellence with its blocking schemes with their next possession 5 minutes later, and it only took three plays to score. Again it was Henderson streaking untouched for 47 yards and a TD. With the extra point missed, they led 13-0.
If Head Coach Ricky Irby had to, at that point, find something of concern, it may have been their inconsistency with good snaps for extra points and shotgun formations, which actually goes back to last year.
But by the end of the quarter, the Blue Devils had scored again, this time through the air. It involved another well-designed play, a 5-yard scoring pass from QB Joe Elliades to tight end Reggie Ruffin.
A 20-0 lead after one quarter might have led another team to slightly take their foot off the gas. Not true for the Blue Devils though, who followed up quarter number one with 20 more second-quarter points.
Henderson’s third touchdown of the half started things, a 24-yard burst from scrimmage. The defense then got into the action as Sr. tackle Keyon Williams blocked a punt near the end zone that Nasir Bennett recovered for another score. With the next extra point failing, the score was 33-0.
All of this was occurring while Colonial Heights, who dressed only 24 players, revealed several very talented players, especially Tyler White, Ben Holmes, and Josh Bridges. However, they faced a huge uphill battle against the more talented and deeper Blue Devils from Hopewell.
Eliades completed the first half scoring hitting Sr. Kaiveon Cox with a 41 yard TD pass and with the extra point, Hopewell led at the break 40-0.
The second half saw many opportunities for reserves to see action, and backup QB Mason Cumbie was involved with each score. First, he completed a 34 yard TD pass to Jeremiah Hutchins and two minutes later, he snuck one in from one yard out to move Hopewell over the 50 point mark for the first time this season 54-0.
Colonial Heights scratched out a 4th quarter score spoiling the shutout, and now Hopewell, with their 54-6 win, turns their attention to Thomas Dale.
Hopewell is fortunate to get a second straight home game against Dale, and they will need it as Dale won a double-overtime victory over the Blue Devils last year.
The Knights will have their star runner Chris Tyree back from injury, but Hopewell will have one of their star runners back as well. Jr. Robert Briggs has played only one play in the last two games as he has been nursing a leg injury. He and Henderson have both been averaging over 100 yards on the ground per game. Henderson only had to carry the ball 6 times against Colonial Heights to gain 150 yards.
Alex Rockwell and Reggie Ruffin paced the defense with 7 and 6 tackles respectively. Together with their other defensive teammates, they accomplished 10 tackles for losses including 4 sacks.
Hopewell amassed 420 yards in total offense. Elliades went 5-6 with his passes for 76 yards and his two touchdown tosses. The Blue Devils will certainly need this total team effort against Dale that has beaten Hopewell 5 out of the last 7 years.
Rivalries can help bring out the best between schools. While Dale and Hopewell historically have produced great battles on the field, Colonial Heights historically has done well in other sports, plus has consistently produced amazing performances by their band!
Last Friday night was no exception at halftime with just an amazing performance that thrilled fans and showed the great commitment of these students. Last year, Hopewell played in Colonial Heights as well and their band also performed after the game. A huge Colonial crowd stuck around to see these performers excel with their music and marching.
This Friday against Dale, those who come to the game will probably not only see a highly competitive game, but our own nationally ranked band!
“Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being as for the Lord…” Colossians 3:23
These words of encouragement signal how the actions of football players and band performers on the field can be played also to an audience with the Creator God. Having made creatures in His image, God delights to see the creativity and this pursuit of excellence as part of His world.
Jeff Butler is the Pastor of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Hopewell and calls the play by play for each Hopewell Football game over WHAP Radio AM 1340 and 96.9 FM. You can also listen to each game on your computer at www.foxsports1340am.com and click “Listen Live” , or on your phone by dialing 1-605-313-0571.