Wk 3 RNK 2021 Riverheads @ Lord Botetourt Game

Wk 3 RNK 2021 Riverheads @ Lord Botetourt Game 574 382 SWVA High School Sports

Riverheads wins 62-38 high scoring affair over Lord Botetourt

Daleville, Va – The Roanoke Crunch area football fans got a treat Friday night as the reigning 5-time VHSL Class 1 State champion, Riverheads Gladiators, traveled to Daleville to take on last year’s VHSL Class 3 runner up Lord Botetourt Cavaliers. Both sides of the stadium were packed in anticipation of the matchup and neither team disappointed. These two powerhouses combined for over 1000 yards in total offense in a game that may become an annual affair. After a high scoring, back and forth first half, Riverheads had a slim 41-32 lead at the break, but the Cavaliers could not keep pace with them after intermission, and Riverheads extended their winning streak to 39 games in an impressive 62-38 victory. There was a lot of mutual respect after the game between the two coaches. “They are a great program (Lord Botetourt)…for our kids to come down here in this kind of awesome atmosphere and be able to play, this is something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” Riverheads coach Robert Casto commented in a post-game interview. LB’s coach, Jamie Harless was heard thanking the Riverheads AD saying “you made us better” and later elaborated that playing a quality team like Riverheads gives them invaluable preparation for the playoffs in November.

LB students showed up in Red, White and Blue and the Riverheads faithful traveled down from Staunton

First Quarter – The Gladiators drew first blood and took a 7-0 lead on a 44 yard TD pass from QB/DB 2 Bennett Dunlap to RB/LB 33 Cayden Cook-Cash and the first of 8 PATs by K 6 Cooper Robson. LB tied the score on the next possession when QB 7 KJ Bratton found WR/DB 4 Joey Isaacs in the end zone from 21 yards out and the PAT was good by K 3 Bryson Harvey.

LB’s Joey Isaacs catches 21 yard TD from QB KJ Bratton

It only took the Gladiators 27 seconds to answer when QB/DB 2 Dunlap sneaked it in from the 1-yard line after a 42 yard run by RB/LB 33 Cook-Cash and a 37 yard run by RB/LB 24 Cole Burton. The Cavaliers returned the favor two plays later when QB 7 Bratton turned on the after burners to break free for a 47 yard score and the game was tied at 14 at the end of the first.

QB 7 KJ Bratton busts loose for a 47 yard TD run to tie the game at 14

Second Quarter – The scoring barrage was just getting started when the Gladiators’ RB/DE 42 Luke Bryant turned in his own 47 yard TD jaunt and the visitors from Staunton retook the lead 21-14. LB’s offense did not back down and when sophomore QB/DB 13 Jakari Nicely outran the defense and scored from the 30 they let Gladiators know they weren’t going away. The PAT was blocked and the score was 21-20 at the 8 minute mark of the 2nd.

Riverheads’ 42 Luke Burton cuts hard to his left behind a block that springs him for a 47 yard TD

QB 13 Jakari Nicely will not be denied on his way to the end zone from 30 yards out

The slugfest continued and 43 seconds later Gladiator RB/DE 42 Bryant scored again on a 27 yard run only to see Cavalier WR/DB 4 Isaacs take the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to the house. The Botetourt PAT was wide and the score was 28-26 Riverheads. Just when you started feeling that whoever had the ball was going to score, the Gladiators punted for the first time and then Botetourt had a high snap that Riverheads recovered on the LB 44.

LB’s Joey Isaacs eludes would-be tacklers and sprints for the end zone for a 90-yard kickoff return TD

It was then that Gladiator QB/DB 2 Dunlap connected with SE/DB 3 Landon Lightner for 39 yards and RB/LB 33 Cook-Cash’s 5 yard burst pushed the Gladiators’ lead to 34-26. It only took Lord Botetourt 2 plays to respond when the Cavaliers’ QB duo teamed up and QB 13 Nicely hit QB 7 Bratton with a flare to the left side of the field which Bratton converted into a 73 yard TD reception. The 2-pt conversion failed and the score was 34-32 Gladiators.

KJ Bratton streaks down the sideline for the 73 yard score

The Gladiators scored yet again with 17 seconds left in the half when RB/DE 33 Cook-Cash notched his 3rd TD with a 6-yard carry to send the teams into the locker rooms for a much needed break with Riverheads leading 41-32.

Third Quarter
The Gladiator defense regrouped at the half and came out and stopped Lord Botetourt on a 4th and 1 on the opening drive and their offense took over on the Cavalier 45 yard line. After 3 straight runs, RB/LB 24 Burton scored from 26 yards out.

Riverheads 24 Cole Burton heads to the end zone in the 3rd quarter

On the next Cavalier possession, a high snap on a 4th down punt attempt was recovered by the Gladiators on Botetourt’s 28 yard line. The Gladiators capitalized on the turnover and short field when RB/LB 42 Luke Bryant scored up the middle from the 8 yard line. Riverheads forced another turnover on downs when Cavalier QB 13 Nicely’s pass fell incomplete on a 4th and 2 to hold the Cavaliers scoreless in the 3rd and extend their lead to 55-32.

Fourth Quarter – Both teams added a touchdown in the 4th quarter to close out the game. Lord Botetourt got on the board when QB 13 Nicely threw a beautiful deep ball to freshman WR/DB 89 Blake Lovern who hauled in the 44 yard TD catch. After an onside kick attempt by Botetourt, Riverheads got the ball on the Cavalier 38 yard line and RB 24 Burton tallied his second TD on the night when he rumbled in from the 2 yard line to make the final score 62-38.

Coach Harless and Coach Casto shake hands after the game

After the game, Cavalier Coach Harless said he was pleased with his team’s effort and felt his offense played well and his defense played better in the 2nd half. There was a quiet confidence about him regarding their potential. Keep your eye on the Cavaliers this season, it’s still early.

OffenseRushing– Riverheads – Cole Burton 15-171, 2 TD, Cayden Cook-Cash 12-107, 2 TD, FUM, Aidan Miller 3-10, Luke Bryant 17-201, 3 TD, Bennett Dunlap 1-1, TD  Lord Botetourt – Jakari Nicely 14-64, TD, KJ Bratton II 19-124, TD, Seth Reiter 5-17  PassingRiverheads– Bennett Dunlap 3/6-92, TD   Lord Botetourt – KJ Bratton II 2/5-23, TD, Jakari Nicely 6/12-201, 2 TD, INT ReceivingRiverheads– Cole Burton 1-9, Cayden Cook-Cash 1-44, TD, Landon Lightner 1-39  Lord Botetourt – Joey Isaacs 2-49, TD, Cody McConnaughey 1-2, KJ Bratton II 1-73, TD, Hayden Martin 2-19, Blake Lovern 1-44, TD, Seth Williamson 1-37  PuntingRiverheads– 2-23 avg. Lord Botetourt – N/A

1st Qtr-
Riverheads: Cook-Cash 44-yd pass from Dunlap; Robson PAT (7:16)
Lord Botetourt: Isaacs 21-yd pass from Bratton; Harvey PAT (1:47)
Riverheads: Dunlap 1-yd run; Robson PAT (1:20)
Lord Botetourt: Bratton 47-yd run; Harvey PAT (0:24)
2nd Qtr-
Riverheads: Bryant 47-yd run; Robson PAT (9:53)
Lord Botetourt: Nicely 30-yd run ; PAT blocked (8:11)
Riverheads: Bryant 27-yd run; Robson PAT (7:22)
Lord Botetourt: Isaacs 90-yd TD kick return ; PAT failed (7:09)
Riverheads: Cook-Cash 5-yd run; PAT failed (3:51)
Lord Botetourt: Bratton 73-yd pass from Nicely; 2-pt conversion failed (2:57)
Riverheads: Cook-Cash 6-yd run; Robson PAT (0:17)
3rd Qtr-
Riverheads: Burton 26-yd run; Robson PAT (8:49)
Riverheads: Bryant 8-yd run; Robson PAT (4:54)
4th Qtr-
Lord Botetourt: Lovern 44-yd pass from Nicely; 2-pt conversion failed (3:37)
Riverheads: Burton 2-yd run; Robson PAT (2:15)

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