Josh Rone, the Bartlett Yancey football lineman killed in a shooting near Danville, Va. Sept. 18, was a large presence at Buccaneer stadium Friday night as the Bucs took on conference rival Cummings.
It was BY’s first home game since Rone’s death and those in attendance marked it with 64 seconds of silence, the seconds reflecting his jersey number which was memorialized at midfield.
Stadium announcer Cornelius Lassiter asked all to stand as the seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock, then thanked them for their “patronage in honoring this young man.”
Those were moments of peaceful solidarity before Cummings’ Cavaliers (4-1, 2-0) took control early, surging to a 39-8 halftime lead and 59-36 win.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect,” coach Joshua Brumfield told players afterward. “We made some mistakes I told you we couldn’t make.”
The Bucs slumped to 4-2 overall, 1-2 in the 1A/2A East Conference 14. Their two losses came on back-to-back Fridays against conference leaders Cummings and North Moore (6-0, 2-0).
“They caught us at our worst time,” Brumfield told his team. Rone, a junior whose death was still fresh in players’ minds, was shot at the Danville-Pittsylvania County Fair near Danville, Va. His family said he had stepped in to help a friend who had been attacked by a group of guys. Rone was shot in the back, they said, while walking away.
As of early this week no arrest had been made.
“They’re one of the better 2A teams in the state,” the coach said of Cummings. Still, he went on: “Nothing about that loss tells me we can’t compete against anybody. We didn’t play our best.”
Turnovers and blown assignments were the tale of the game, he told the team.
Cummings got off to a quick start when speedster Jonathan Paylor – a sophomore already attracting interest from numerous Division 1 programs – took the opening kickoff 80 yards down the right side, outrunning the Bucs defense and scoring 12 seconds into the game. The Cavaliers added two more scores during the first quarter and another three before the break.
The Bucs won the second half, outscoring the Cavs 28-20. But they’d given up too much in the first half.
BY began to find rhythm during the second quarter after the Cavaliers had already put up 33 points.
Davon Lipscomb got the Bucs on the board with a 75-yard kickoff return for a score with just under nine minutes to go in the first half. For Lipscomb, it was the first of two kickoff returns for scores during the game.
Also scoring for the Bucs were Dylan Wall, Maurice Thomas and Donte Slade.
For the evening, the Bucs gained 336 yards of total offense, 188 on the ground, 148 through the air. They also had three lost fumbles and an interception, hauled in by the Cav’s Paylor who ran it back 99 yards for another touchdown. He finished with three touchdowns for the evening.
Cummings had 401 yards of total offense for the game, 217 of them through the air.
The Bucs wrap up the home schedule on Friday, hosting neighboring Western Alamance (1-4), normally a football power. BY finishes off the conference season the following two weeks – at Chatham Central (1-4-1, 1-1) Oct. 15 and Jordan Matthews (0-6, 0-2) Oct. 22.