The Culpeper Middle School Cougars and Floyd T. Binns Blackhawks waited out an hour-long lightning delay to kick off the 2019 football season on Thursday night at Culpeper High School’s Broman Field.
The game proved to be a back-and-forth battle, but it was the Blackhawks that pulled away in the second half for a 24-14 victory.
Binns’ Jaheim Frye got his team going early, intercepting a pass from CMS quarterback Bennett Sutherland and returning it for a touchdown to give the Blackhawks a 6-0 lead with 2:27 left in the first quarter.
Binns added to its lead with 4:39 remaining in the first half, as quarterback Derrick Brown connected with tight end Carsen Murray for a 35-yard touchdown pass that made it 12-0.
After their offense stalled for much of the half, the Cougars decided it was time to take to the air just before intermission.
Sutherland hit on several pass attempts on the ensuing drive before eventually hooking up with Grayson Quinn in the endzone to pull CMS within six points at 12-6.
After the Cougars’ defense forced and recovered a fumble by Binns running back D’Myo Hunter with 1:20 remaining in the half, Sutherland connected with Amaree Robinson on a 30-yard pass to set up first and goal from the Blackhawks’ 7-yard line.
Two plays later, Robinson’s 7-yard touchdown reception tied the game at 12 apiece. Sutherland’s two-point conversion strike to Elijah Smoot followed, giving CMS a 14-12 lead heading into intermission.
Robinson, who also had a key catch on the Cougars’ first scoring drive, is in his first year playing football. CMS head coach Eric Dinkens said he is glad Robinson came out for the team this summer.
“[Robinson] is a great athlete and an even better kid,” Dinkens said. “I didn’t know he could play football until he showed up at tryouts.”
Trailing in the second half, Binns relied on Hunter and Brown to steady the ship.
Hunter put together several big runs to keep the Blackhawks’ offense moving late in the third period, setting up a 1-yard sneak by Brown that put the Binns back on top, 18-14, with a minute left in the stanza.
“[Hunter] ran hard and he ran well [tonight],” Blackhawks head coach Uzziah Harris said. “He was able to overcome adversity after he had the early fumble. [Brown] is just everything you could want in a quarterback—he’s a great athlete, a model student and a great leader for our football team.”
Brett Clatterbaugh’s touchdown run with 1:29 remaining in the game provided the final margin.
Harris was happy with his defense, which shut out the Cougars in the second half and allowed his offense to take control and claim the win in the annual rivalry game.
“When you look at how well CMS did last year, I think it’s just as sweet to come out this year, play this well and get this win,” he said. “We met all of our objectives as a team [tonight]. We wanted to win the turnover battle, score at least 21 points, register at least three big plays and pass the ball well. We did all of those things.
“Most importantly, we played as a team and have something to build on going into the next game.”
“Tonight went a lot better than I thought it would,” first-year CMS head coach Dinkens said. “With the hot days and the late start, I was proud of how these kids played.”
Binns will host King George in its next contest on Wednesday, while CMS will travel to Louisa on Thursday.