RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Clover Hill and Huguenot haven’t been the most successful area high school football programs when it comes to wins and losses in recent years, but 2019 looks like both could be on the verge of putting together winning campaigns. They’ll meet on Friday night in our On the Sidelines Game of the Week, with a familiar face for both teams on one of the sidelines.
Clover Hill head coach Bryan Jennings is familiar with Huguenot. He spent four years as the Falcons’ head coach before taking over at the head of the Cavaliers. When the Cavs visit Huguenot on Friday, he’ll find himself on the opposite sideline at his old stomping grounds for the first time.
“It’s going to be emotional to an extent because I’ve never been on the visitors side,” said Jennings. “I’m sure someone will be excited to see me, but at the same time, I’m pretty sure they want to get me, too.”
“We’ve got to show them that they missed out on what they left from,” said Huguenot senior wide receiver and safety Kevin Gayles. “It motivates us to really show what we’ve really got.”
Jennings enters this week’s showdown knowing a lot of the Falcons well. His Cavaliers are facing a formidable foe with plenty of talent to present a challenge.
“We’ve got our hands full, we know that, but we want to go over there and compete and try to get the W,” Jennings said.
“They’ve got that big O-line, they’ve got (Manquelle) Ross in the backfield, they’ve got Kevin (Gayles) over there at receiver, definitely D-I talent,” added Clover Hill senior linebacker and running back Dalton Collins. “We’ve just got to play ball and we’ve just got to keep the O-line off of us.”
Huguenot comes into this one with a 3-3 record and has not had a winning season since 2006. The Falcons square off with a Clover Hill squad that sits at 4-2, seeking its first winning campaign since the 2011 season.
“Being able to contain both of those quarterbacks when they get ready to run the ball, I know they like to run the ball a lot but we want to try and contain the run as much as possible, said Huguenot head coach Addison Hayes.”
While both teams have seen some ups and a few downs this season, both have at least one milestone win. Clover Hill topped L.C. Bird this past Friday, 8-0, its first win over the Skyhawks since 1997. Huguenot also got the best of Bird, earning a 16-7 victory earlier this season, the Falcons’ first victory against the Skyhawks since the 2006 campaign.
“Took 13 years for us to beat them again. The team is just buying into the culture and everything we’re trying to instill in them,” Hayes noted. “We’re really proud of those guys for sticking with us and improving week-by-week.”
“You beat a team you haven’t beaten in 22 years, just the psyche of that, beating a team of a Bird, of that type of program, it just shows that what you’re doing is on the right track,” Jennings said of Clover Hill’s win last week.
Huguenot currently holds the seventh spot in Region 4B when it comes to the VHSL power points, while Clover Hill is clinging to the eighth and final playoff position in 5B, which means the winner of Friday’s contest will take one big step towards a playoff berth.
“This is a big stepping stone,” said Hayes. “If we win this game, I feel like we’ll be able to get above .500 and increase our chances of making the playoffs and having a high seed.”
“This is kind of a trap game for us,” Collins observed. “We just came off an emotional win, and then we’ve got our rival, Cosby, next week, so getting a win this Friday, that really gets the ball moving for the rest of the season.”
Clover Hill and Huguenot kick off on Friday night at 7:00 on the Falcons’ home field. Huguenot will be looking for its third straight win in the series.
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