Hopewell (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Hopewell/Goochland has no lack of story lines
by Byron Jones, recruit804
Goochland Bulldogs (12-1) at Hopewell Blue Devils (13-0) 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Merner Field
190 teams across six divisions began their playoff quest for state supremacy on November 15th. Only 24 teams remain on that journey and at the conclusion of this weekend, the twelve best will have an opportunity to be crowned state champions.
In their first season competing in Division 3, Goochland finds itself back in familiar territory. The Bulldogs have advanced to the state semi-finals in three of the past four seasons in Division 2. Last season they made an appearance in the state title game but fell to southwestern Virginia powerhouse Graham 31-9.
Standing in their path to another trip back to the big dance are the Hopewell Blue Devils. The Blue Devils fell in the second round of last year’s playoffs after capturing the 2017 Division 3 title. Coach Irby and company have been on a murderous revenge tour in 2019 to reclaim their crown.
LAST TIME OUT: GOOCHLAND
The Bulldogs defeated James Monroe 20-7 to capture its first Region B title in Division 3. Goochland quarterback Calvin Towles threw a six- and thirteen-yard pass to NyJavion Timberlake and Devin McCray in the first quarter to put them up 13-0.
Conner Popielarz scored on a 31-yard run in the second quarter to extend the lead to 20-0. James Monroe would finally get on the board in the final quarter when quarterback Tahj Smith scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Towles finished the day 9/15 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Popielarz lead the rushing attack, picking up 81 yards on nine carries.
LAST TIME OUT: HOPEWELL
Hopewell shut down Phoebus 19-6 to secure its second Division 3 Region A title in three seasons. The Blue Devils led the Phantoms 13-0 at the half thanks to two rushing touchdowns from Robert Briggs and TreVeyon Henderson.
Phoebus would cut the lead to 13-6 in the fourth when quarterback Chris Daniels connected with Devontae White on a 34-yard touchdown pass. However, Henderson would slam the door on their comeback attempt when he ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for the Blue Devils.
Henderson picked up 133 yards on 19 carries while his counterpart Robert Briggs rushed for 80 yards on 16 attempts. Briggs also recorded 94 receiving yards on two catches.
The Bulldogs have won 12 consecutive games since being shut out 33-0 by Lafayette in week 1. They are led by quarterback Calvin Towles who has thrown for 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns as well as Devin McCray who has accumulated close to 1000 yards rushing and receiving (15 total TD’s).
The Blue Devils are the most battle tested team in all of Division 3. During the regular season, they scored impressive victories over Dinwiddie (Division 4), Henrico (Division 5) Prince George (Division 5), Matoaca (Division 5), and Thomas Dale (Division 6). In total, seven of the ten teams they played in the regular season made it to the playoffs, and two of them (Dinwiddie and Thomas Dale), advanced to the Regional Championship.
They are led by Region 3A offensive and defensive players of the year TreVeyon Henderson and Keyon Williams. Henderson, who is also the states Gatorade player of the year, has accounted for 2,720 all-purpose yards (1,989 rushing) and 46 total touchdowns this season. Williams has recorded a total of 109 tackles (78 solo), 11 sacks, and three fumble recoveries.
Offense: 36.15 points/ game
Defense: 10.15 points/game
Key Players: ATH Devin McCray (2020 6-0 175), QB CJ Towles (2022 6-0 160), RB/LB Conner Popielarz (2021 5-8 180), RB/DB NyJavion Timberlake (2020 6-0 190), WR/MLB Anthony Holland (2020 6-3 205), RB/LB Will Stratton (2021 6-2 165)
Offense: 43.2 points/game
Defense: 11.2 points /game
Key Players: TreVeyon Henderson (2021 RB/DB 5-11 190), Robert Briggs (2021 RB/DB 5-8 191), Kaiveon Cox (2020 RB/LB 6-1 210), Jacen Fowlkes (2020 LB 6-2 181), Reggie Ruffin (2021 DL 6-2 210), Keyon Williams (2020 DE/LB 6-0 220), Ronald Webster (2020 OL 6-5 295), Phil Bowden (2020 5-11 295)
– Byron Jones