It wasn’t the near flawless offensive effort that Orange County got last week in its shootout with Courtland, but if you want to be a good team you’ve got to find ways to win when you don’t have your best stuff.
Orange found another way Friday, beating Culpeper 20-7 with some big plays helping the Hornets overcome a strong night by Malachi Terrell (161 yards and a touchdown) for the Blue Devils.
Paul Poirier threw for a touchdown and it was a critical one as it iced the game with 28 seconds left when he found freshman Sheldon Robinson for a 4-yard score.
Poirier also broke off a 70-yard run for another score early in the second to help create a 7-7 tie at the break. The Hornets didn’t take the lead again until there was just 6:20 to play and Bryant Chiles scored on the ground from five yards out.
The Hornets converted three of four fourth down tries to keep drives alive.
The Orange defense, meanwhile, held up and came up big when it had to, holding Culpeper to just three third down conversions on nine tries while allowing just one fourth down conversion on three attempts.
Chiles’ three tackles for a loss, a sack and seven solo stops in all led that defensive effort while Poirier did some heavy lifting of his own with seven solo tackles. Taylor Gibson, Michael Chamberlain, JaePharoah Carpener and Jeremiah Wharton were all in on a number of tackles. Brody Foran had a pick.
Poirier finished with another solid completion percentage, going 12-for-19, but this time, he managed just 63 yards through the air. He stacked up 151 yards on the ground though to lead the Hornets there with Chiles notching 73 yards total on the ground. Carpenter led the Orange wideouts with 41 yards on four catches.
Orange County travels next week to open up its Jefferson District slate when the Hornets face Charlottesville.