Last week, the Twin Valley Panthers (4-3) welcomed interstate foe East Ridge from Kentucky to do battle in Oakwood on homecoming.
The Panthers were in dire needs of breaking a two game losing skid with hopes of sneaking into the top eight of the VHSL 1D playoff rankings.
Not only did the homecoming king and queen dance the night away at Twin Valley on Thursday night, but Tylor Keen, Brandon Lester and Xzavier Ward helped the Panthers dance to a 48-28 win over the Warriors from Kentucky.
The homecoming fireworks were plentiful in Buchanan County as the Panthers scored seven touchdowns, five of which came from at least 36 yards out. The Twin Valley offense accumulated 420 yards of offense against its Kentucky counterparts.
Senior quarterback Tylor Keen was 6-of-6 through the air for 254 yards and three touchdowns on Thursday while also churning out 61 yards via his legs.
The quarterback’s performance was enough for a nomination for the CoalfieldSports.com Offensive Player of the Week in week seven.
Behind Keen, the stable of Lester and Ward let their opponents know they could compete at Churchill Downs.
Lester, Twin Valley’s leading rusher, added to his impressive senior campaign with four touchdowns to compliment his 105 yards on six carries.
Ward, the future of football in Oakwood, had the best night of his young career at the varsity level. Ward took a kickoff 77 yards to the crib in the first quarter, which moved the Panthers into the lead where they didn’t look back. He also hauled in passes of 75 yards and 60 yards. At the end of the 60 yard dart from Keen, Ward found the end zone. The Twin Valley receiver finished the night with 212 all-purpose yards.
Nonetheless, the Panthers moved back into the win column in impressive fashion.
Thomas Walker will welcome the Panthers to Ewing with open arms on Friday.
The Pioneers are coming off a 47-6 win over Hancock County, TN last Friday. The contest saw Dawson Lee and Kenny Ball score three touchdowns each as the team moved to 5-2.
Lee’s performance last week was enough to name him the CoalfieldSports.com Offensive Player of the Week in week seven.
Thomas Walker has won five of its last six outings. A win in this one would give Thomas Walker a second consecutive winning season.
The Pioneers have found the win column against Rye Cove, Pineville, KY, Castlewood, Harlan Independent, KY and Hancock County, TN.
Thomas Walker head coach Nick Johnson is not a stranger to this Buchanan County foe. Johnson, like Twin Valley head coach Jeremy Ward, is a graduate of Grundy High School.
Jaron Warf leads this Pioneers defense against a team that has shown it can move the ball with is.
However, Lee and the Pioneers have also shown they can move the pigskin without an issue.
In a series that dates back to 2015, Twin Valley holds a 2-1 advantage over Thomas Walker. However, Thomas Walker won the last matchup a season ago in Oakwood, 55-16.
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.