For the second straight week, The Cliff is the site for a marquee Black Diamond District showdown.
A week after Hurley and Honaker each had heartbreaking losses of their own, the two district rivals will meet up in Hurley in search of a return to the win column.
Honaker was all but certain they were heading back to the win column last week at home against J.I. Burton. However, some last minute heroics by J.I. Burton quarterback Houston Thacker led the Raiders to a 37-33 victory to escape Fuller Field unscathed.
This is just the latest chapter of the Houston Thacker story in Norton. The Raiders quarterback found the end zone twice in the victory.
There were bright spots for the Tigers, who held a 33-30 lead until the waning seconds of the fourth quarter when Burton took the lead and ultimately, the win.
Honaker finished with 399 yards of total offense behind the Levi Miller-Chandler Hubbard combination. The duo linked up on touchdown strikes of 11 and 8 yards on the evening.
Tigers tailback Trevor Dye added to his 2018 resume with 125 yards and a touchdown on Friday.
However, it was Dylan Casey who led the Tigers with 140 rushing yards, which included a 67-yard dash to pay dirt.
The kicking game in Honaker has not missed a beat. Kicker Matthew Ball knocked in a 40-yard field goal in the Tigers losing effort.
The Hurley Rebels fell in a 14-6 contest in which Grundy claimed the Black Diamond District title for the second consecutive season.
However, the Rebels sent shock waves throughout southwest Virginia each time the score was being reported in this one. In what was a muddy mess at Smiley Ratliff Field, The Rebels went blow for blow with the Golden Wave.
Hurley jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after a three-yard plunge from quarterback Chad Justice put Hurley on the board.
That would be the last time the Rebels lit up the scoreboard, however, they never gave up.
Rebels running back Matt Blankenship led Hurley with 82 yards on 21 carries through the swamp land.
After losing key players such as Jacob Sutherland and Jonathan Hurley to injury, the Rebels were led by Taylor Justus, Dustin Stinson and Jacob McClanahan on the defensive side of the ball.
The Rebels defense held Grundy’s standout tailback Gabe Fiser to 164 yard on the night. The Grundy offense amassed 176 yards in the contest.
In a series that dates back to 1961, Honaker holds a 32-8-2 advantage over the Rebels. However, Hurley has won the last two. The last time the Tigers visited the Cliff, they returned to Russell County on the wrong end of a 64-34 schlacking.
This contest has high implications in the VHSL 1D playoff race. Add that to the fact these two teams are familiar with one another and it has all the makings of a great game in Hurley on Friday.
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.