Tonight, the Richlands Blue Tornado (1-2) look to end their two game losing skid as they travel to Vinton to take on the undefeated William Byrd Terriers (4-0) at Robert A. Patterson Stadium.
The Blues are coming off a 49-17 loss at the hands of the Blacksburg Bruins last week. Due to Hurricane Florence threatening, the game was moved up to Thursday and even had a change of venue. The newly installed turf at Evans King Field in Christiansburg held host to the Tornado and the Bruins.
On the first play of the game, Blacksburg’s Logan Hudson intercepted a Race Moir pass on a tipped ball. From that point forward, it was all Bruins.
Bruins quarterback Grant Johnston was 20-27 for 460 yards and six touchdowns in Blacksburg victory. Senior wide receiver Thomas Coffey had five receptions for 225 yards and three touchdowns.
In defeat, there were still bright spots for the Blues.
Levi Forrest kicked a 41-yard field goal to end the first half. The field goal also started a 17 unanswered point streak for the Blues.
Race Moir found the endzone two times on the ground in a third quarter that Richlands outscored Blacksburg in 14-0. That is when the Blues shined the brightest.
Moir finished with 25 yards on the ground rushing. However, Richlands tailback Trey Brown amassed 135 rushing yards in the loss to lead the offensive production for the crew from the 276.
Forrest proved why he is being sought after on the division one level. The junior kicking specialist launched seven touchbacks and held an average of 47.5 yards a punt to compliment his 41 yard field goal.
The good news for Richlands is that WR/DB Taylor Horn is expected to be in the lineup after an arm injury in the Union game has sidelined him for two weeks. This will be helpful for the Richlands passing attack that mustered 24 yards against Blacksburg in week four.
The Blues make their second long road trip in as many weeks to take on the Terriers of William Byrd.
Richlands hopes it is a 151-mile trip well worth it.
William Byrd head coach Jeff Highfill has led the Terriers for 38 seasons. The 2018 campaign will be his last. Highfill has compiled a 208-180-1 record during his tenure at William Byrd. Before coming to Byrd, Highfill spent two seasons at the helm of the Floyd County Buffaloes program.
Byrd has been dominate in the early going with a 42-14 win over Cave Spring, a 45-21 win over Hidden Valley, a 41-14 win over Bassett and a 41-6 win over Martinsville.
Byrd QB Sam Dantzler is having one of the best seasons of anyone in the Commonwealth. He leads the Timeland area with 841 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns thus far. Dantzler is averaging 11.2 yards per carry and 210.3 yards a contest.
The gunslinger is 12-26 on the year for 254 yards and two touchdowns. 10 rushing touchdowns for a quarterback this time of year is pretty special.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dantzler has three interceptions.
To say the Terriers may be the Sam Dantzler show may be an understatement.
Linebacker Thomas Adams leads the Terriers with 40 tackles, while Trevor Thompson has added 5 sacks from the defensive end position.
Last season, Larry Basham and the Terriers came into Ernie Hicks Stadium and sniffed out a 31-14 victory over the Blues.
The Terriers may be without Basham this season, but the ground game appears to be just as strong with Dantzler.
In a series dating back to 1990, Richlands holds a 2-1 advantage. Tonight will be the fourth meeting all time.
I am a graduate of Richlands High School—class of 2014. In May 2018, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism and History with a minor in war and Society from Virginia Tech.
My passions in life are numerous. We don’t have all day. This is not the place to divulge into Hokie Football, so I will shed some light on one of my other favorites.
I was born and raised in the coalfields of southwest Virginia—Richlands to be exact. I remember the first time I ever went to a high school football game (Richlands-Tazewell ’02). Since then, a passion has grown that is stronger than the current in the Clinch River. As a football player in this region, I was able to witness the passion oozing out of the hills firsthand. It was something that when I began college, people had a hard time believing the spectacle that is high school football in the coalfields. Luckily, I was able to go 42-8 in between the white lines on Fridays and Saturdays from 2010-2013. I look forward to having another platform to tell you my stories, your stories and their stories. Here’s to the good times and hoping I don’t leave you like I did Coach Greg Mance numerous times—by saying, “Gosh Durn It!”
Let’s talk, SWVA sports, Hokies, history or maybe even barbecue.