Park View 30, Culpeper 7
By the end of the first half of Park View's convincing 30-7 victory over Culpeper on Friday night, the Patriots owned an eight-point lead, and sophomore running back/cornerback Deric Dudinski owed Park View Coach Charlie Pierce 20 push-ups.
The push-up debt comes as punishment at Park View, where any player who fumbles once in practice or a game must give Pierce 10 push-ups. Dudinski had fumbled twice in the first half at inopportune times, once when the Patriots had possession on Culpeper's 3-yard line.
But after Dudinski's second-half performance, in which he gained 92 yards on 12 carries in the third quarter and had an interception, perhaps Pierce could wait for a later date to enforce the penalty.
"After that first half, I saw Deric get real down on himself, worse than I think I had ever seen him get," said Pierce. "But I told him not to worry about it and that it's our responsibility as coaches to worry about where we were."
Culpeper had avoided a first-half shutout late in the second quarter by launching an aggressive passing attack that benefited from the quick, scrambling feet of junior reserve quarterback Kordell Fuller.
After Park View junior running back Curtis Coker's 10-yard touchdown run, Fuller answered by finishing off a nearly 50-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Mark Dennis eight seconds before intermission.
But in the second half, Dudinski (29 carries for 171 yards), senior quarterback Steve Blankenship (6 for 11, 153 yards, 2 touchdowns) and a hefty senior-laden Park View line began bullying Culpeper's defensive line.
One big play in particular was Blankenship's 26-yard touchdown pass to Coker that made the score 27-7 late in the third quarter.
"This was a good test for us tonight because this was a fast team, and [Fuller] might be one of the fastest kids that we see for the rest of the season," said Pierce. "But we responded well in the second half, and we came together as a team to put them away. . . . We feel good about where we are now."
Last season, Park View nipped Culpeper, 10-8, thanks to a 37-yard field goal with 1 minute 38 seconds to play. Dudinski, who also started that game, said he since has added nearly 20 pounds to his 5-foot-8 frame.
"I think our line played awesome," said Dudinski. "I thought altogether the best thing we did was play as a team tonight, and we put them away."