Paul Billups Jr., known as a playmaker at receiver and defensive back, tossed two touchdown passes — including a 27-yarder to CJ Fraser in overtime — to lift No. 5 Western Branch to a 33-27 victory at 10th-ranked Churchland in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
Billups lived up to his preseason billing as Hampton Roads’ top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2023. He committed to North Carolina earlier this week as a receiver.
On Friday, Billups rushed for 83 yards on six carries and completed two passes for 87 yards and two TDs, while Shimique Blizzard added 100 yards rushing and two scores. Frazier finished with four receptions for 114 yards.
“Churchland had a great game plan,” Bruins coach Rashad Cook said, “and our players hung in there until overtime.”
The Truckers led 20-14 at halftime, but Billups had a 45-yard touchdown run and Blizzard added a 61-yard score. Churchland’s Brandyn Hillman tied it with a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Leon Clark led Churchland with 137 yards on 23 rushes, and Hillman finished with 112 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
— Reported by Gary Lassiter
Jahrell Walton scored both Salem touchdowns as the visiting SunDevils, ranked 15th in the 757Teamz Top 15, held off No. 12 Bayside 15-8 in a Beach District season opener that included 200 penalty yards.
Walton took a fourth-down pass 38 yards in the first quarter for the first half’s only touchdown.
The Marlins’ Halim Hardnett returned the second-half kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown, but a failed PAT try kept Bayside from pulling even. Walton then took the ensuing kickoff 78 yards, and a 2-point pass play gave the SunDevils a 15-6 lead. Bayside drove deep in Salem territory three times in the fourth quarter. After getting to the Salem 15-yard line, the Marlins missed a field-goal try.
They threatened again and failed to score, though some of the SunDevils’ 119 penalty yards contributed to Ravon Moore being tackled in the end zone for a safety that trimmed Bayside’s deficit to 15-8 with 1:58 left in the game.
Bayside returned the free kick to the Salem 37 and advanced to the 21 on two plays, but a series of incompletions — the last toward Aaron Evans in the end zone — ended the Marlins’ hopes.
Moore led all rushers with 127 yards on 22 carries. Walton had five catches for 72 yards.
For Bayside, Duke-bound Leon Griffin III carried 10 times for 62 yards and Rahsaan Arzola made three receptions for 74 yards.
— Reported by Charlie Baumgardner
What first-game jitters? Menchville’s K’sann Farrar, a sophomore making his first varsity start, guided the Monarchs on touchdown drives on their first two possessions and finished with four TD passes in a 47-3 victory over Granby at Powhatan Field.
Farrar tossed two scoring passes to Amir Harrison, while Taveon Patterson and Dareian Parker had the others. Evan Wells and Jasiah Hales both ran for touchdowns.
“We came out decent but then let up and had to put our foot back on the gas,” Menchville coach Rodney Taylor said. “We had a good balance between run and pass, and our defense was solid.”
Four coaches win in sideline debuts
Robert Jackson made a triumphant return to Virginia Beach, guiding Landstown to a 23-6 victory over Ocean Lakes in a Beach District game. Jackson is back with Landstown after being the first coach when the school opened.
Indian River’s Brandon Carr, Lakeland’s Marcus Cutler and Norview’s Herbert Lawrence won in their debuts, and Scott Woodlief, who has been coaching Heritage since 2020, earned his first victory with the Hurricanes in 11 games.
Iverson, team honored, but Bethel falls
Allen Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers great who helped Bethel win state football and basketball championships in the 1992-93 school year, appeared at Darling Stadium as his number was retired by the Bruins. But Nansemond River’s Alkendric Overton threw two touchdown passes and Jayden Bradley scored twice as the Warriors won 20-6 and spoiled Bethel’s party.
A 12-yarder to Terrell Douglas with 9:18 left in the first quarter and a 70-yarder to Bradley with 5:32 to go in the third made it 13-0. Bethel defensive end Terry Williams recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone with 10:48 left in the game, making it 13-6. But Bradley all but sealed the outcome by returning an interception 32 yards into the end zone with 1:56 on the clock.
Big fourth quarter carries Kellam
Gavin Hill scored on an 80-yard kickoff return and David Wilk finished with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns to lift Kellam to a 38-21 victory over First Colonial.
The Knights led 13-7 at halftime and were clinging to a 16-14 edge to start the fourth quarter. Wilk scored on an 8-yard run, Hill registered his big kickoff return and Dayvon William-Rodriguez added a 10-yard run in a 22-point final period.
Kellam finished with 320 rushing yards.
Hurricanes dominate Denbigh, give coach 1st win
Coach Scott Woodlief gained his first victory as the Hurricanes’ coach as Heritage dominated outmanned Denbigh 49-0 in an all-Newport News clash at Todd Stadium.
The Hurricanes had gone 0-10 combining the spring and fall 2021 seasons, both of which included numerous interruptions for Heritage.
Derrick Gurley threw a pair of touchdown passes, one each to Khydee Medley-Smith and Sterling Anderson, while Kiaon Farmer ran for two touchdowns. Dante Brown returned a punt and a fumble for touchdowns, and Eli Wixton also had a fumble recovery for a score.
“It’s good to start with a win,” Woodlief said. “We’ll build on this and get ready for Tabb (on Friday).”
Islanders cruise to non-district win
Poquoson opened its season with a methodical 28-0 win over Southampton in their non-district game at Poquoson Middle School. Julius Pendergrass led the Islanders by rushing for more than 100 yards, touchdowns of 7 and 43 yards included.
Baker Green scored first for the Islanders on a 7-yard touchdown run, before quarterback Eli Tyndall snuck in from 1 yard to give the Islanders a 14-0 halftime lead. Rylan Hinson and Logan Welsh were the standouts for the Poquoson defense that pitched a shutout.
“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Poquoson coach Elliott Duty said. “The kids played hard, physical and with some emotion.”
- Four players scored touchdowns and Cox rolled up 201 rushing yards in a 37-13 win over Princess Anne. Jordin Cooper’s 46-yard scamper for a touchdown put Cox in front 28-7 in the closing minute of the third quarter. On defense, the Falcons limited Princess Anne to minus-19 rushing yards and three first downs and collected a safety in the fourth quarter.
- No. 8 Lake Taylor led by four touchdowns after the third quarter on its way to a 41-0 victory over Norcom.
- No. 13 Indian River raced to a 29-point halftime lead in cruising to a 36-0 win over Hickory.
- Petersburg scored two first-half touchdowns and held off Booker T. Washington 20-14. The host Bookers’ Trenton Pittman returned an interception for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
- In a clash of first-year coaches’ teams, Herbert Lawrence’s Norview team defeated Grassfield and Joe Jones 20-6 in Chesapeake.
- Marcus Cutler won in his head-coaching debut for Lakeland as the Cavaliers, who are seeking their first winning season since 2016, topped Manor 25-10.
- King George defeated No. 14 Lafayette 27-13 in a non-district game at Wanner Stadium. The Rams led 7-6 in the second quarter when their star, Jaylen Pretlow, responded to a Foxes touchdown by returning the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score. But King George took control by scoring the next three touchdowns while using its fast defense to slow the Rams. Demarcus Lawrence scored the Rams’ second touchdown on a short run in the fourth quarter.
- Victimized by a trio of big plays, Kecoughtan fell 20-7 to Mills Godwin in Henrico County. The Warriors gave up a 99-yard touchdown pass, but came back to tie the game at 7 on Knowel Smith’s 35-yard TD pass to Ahmik Allen. Godwin hit for a second long TD pass, this time for 75 yards, before sealing the victory by returning a Smith pass 35 yards for a touchdown. “We didn’t play well tonight,” Warriors coach Jeff Super said. “We’ve got to coach better and play better against Heritage.”
- Nottoway spoiled Scott Lambin’s debut as Jamestown’s head coach, winning their non-district matchup 22-0 in Crewe. But Lambin, while admitting the offense is a work in progress, saw lots to compliment on the defensive side of the ball. He felt his secondary of Sam Tighe, Jaden Cory and Kahlil Stubbs played well, as did linebackers CJ Peay and Jarred Russett. Russett was the Eagles’ leading ground-gainer.
- Catholic scored all of its points in the first half during a 20-11 victory over First Flight in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. It could be a big boost for a Catholic team coming off a 3-7 season.
- Bruton’s Trey Corbin rushed for more than 100 yards and two TDs and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score, and Brandon Freeman threw two touchdown passes in a 37-18 win at Northampton. The victory marked the first time the Panthers have won consecutive season openers since 2013.
757Teamz Top 15
#1 Oscar Smith 47, Deep Creek 15
#4 Green Run 27, #6 Kempsville 14
#5 Western Branch 33, #10 Churchland 27, OT
#15 Salem 15, #12 Bayside 8
#8 Lake Taylor 41, Norcom 0
King George 27, #12 Lafayette 13
#13 Indian River 36, Hickory 0
Kellam 38, First Colonial 21
Landstown 23, Ocean Lakes 0
Cox 37, Princess Anne 13
Heritage 49, Denbigh 0
Arcadia 42, Windsor 31
Bruton 37, Northampton 18
Poquoson 28, Southampton 0
Petersburg 20, Booker T. Washington 14
Menchville 47, Granby 3
Norview 20, Grassfield 6
Nottoway 22, Jamestown 0
Lakeland 25, Manor 10
Mills Godwin 20, Kecoughtan 7
Nansemond River 20, Bethel 6
North Cross 26, Nansemond Suffolk 0 (second quarter, suspended due to weather)
Catholic 20, First Flight (N.C.) 11
Atlantic Shores 21, Isle of Wight 0
Today’s Top Stories
Start your morning in-the-know with the day’s top stories.
Gloucester vs. Hampton at Darling Stadium, noon
#11 Warhill vs. Warwick at Todd Stadium, noon
Portsmouth Christian at Fredericksburg Christian, 1 p.m.
Greenbrier Christian at Richmond Christian, 4 p.m.