By: Jeff Doke
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Friday night was a case of “same David, different Goliath” for Frederica Academy.
Coming off an opening week victory over Valwood, Coach Brandon Derrick and the Knights hit the road to Savannah to take on their first GHSA opponent of the year, the Calvary Day School Cavaliers.
Last year, after keeping them to a 7-7 tie at halftime, Frederica wound up falling to the Cavaliers by a score of 27-7. Unfortunately, this year’s game would turn out to be quite different.
In 2020, the Frederica roster was famously 30 men in size. The “Dirty Thirty” was outmanned at almost every matchup, but still managed to notch a 7-3 regular season record en route to a state championship matchup.
This week, due to injuries to the already smaller roster, Frederica took a “Lean Eighteen” into battle against the 70-man roster of Calvary Day.
It would be safe to say that Cavaliers Head Coach Mark Stroud spent at least part of the week reminding his team of the quick start that Frederica was able to put together against them last year, because Calvary Day started fast and didn’t let up, scoring twice in the 1st quarter.
After the teams exchanged 3 & outs on their first drives, the Knights defense struggled early against the 2020 Final Four team, allowing touchdowns on two 50-yard drives.
With senior QB Thomas Veal out for three weeks with a broken non-throwing arm, WR Bryce Reilly moved under center for the week. To say it was a baptism by fire would be an understatement.
The Knights offensive line was unfortunately overpowered, and the extended time in the pocket that Veal enjoyed against Valwood the week before was nowhere to be seen.
Regardless, Reilly proved to be a more than capable backup, completing 4 out of 5 passes in the first half (most of which to fellow WR Blake Holloway) and adding 21 yards rushing.
The harassment didn’t stop with the backup Quarterback. Sophomore RB Jordan Triplett saw his share of difficulties against the Cavaliers D-Line as well.
After putting up 222 all-purpose yards the week before, Triplett felt the effects of being almost sole focus of the defense, getting stopped behind the line five times in the first half.
Down 27-0 in the final moments of the first half, the Knights were looking to finally get on the board with a 4th and goal play from the 1 yd line with :03 left on the clock.
As fate would have it, momentum again swung the other way after a bobbled snap resulted in a fumble and a Cavaliers scoop and score covering 99 yards to end the half at 34-0.
The third quarter wasn’t any better for the Knights, who were still unable to cross the goal line, while the Cavaliers added another two TDs. The goose egg on the scoreboard finally got cracked in the 4th with rushing TDs from both Triplett and Reilly.
Needless to say, this was a learning experience for the Knights, and Coach Derrick had praise for both teams.
“I thought the kids played hard, but we were just outmanned at every spot,” Derrick said after the game. “They’re a damn good football team, but here’s the thing; if we didn’t make a couple of mistakes, it could’ve been 21-14 at the half.”
When the dust settled, Reilly ended the night with around 100 yds in the air and another 50 on the ground. Triplett, despite Calvary’s best efforts, managed to put up in the neighborhood of 150 rushing as well.
Thankfully, the game was injury-free for all intents & purposes, and the Knights are back Under The Oaks at home next week against the 1-1 Tiftarea Academy Panthers, for what should be a much less biblically-lopsided matchup.