A 1992 graduate of Castlewood High School, I left the mountains of Southwest Va to spend over a decade in the Army. During that time I was blessed to play & coach football at various levels in South Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, and then over in Germany. I ended up with over 15 years of coaching and playing experience. These days I enjoy watching my son play. The athletes in Southwest Virginia are just as talented and gifted as those from other regions, but often they don’t get the coverage and exposure that others do. It’s my pleasure to help cover their games and hopefully assist them in getting the exposure they need to continue playing.
The Virginia High Bearcats (3-4) will be paying a visit to the Lebanon Pioneers (1-6) on Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm at Harry Stuart Field.
Lebanon Head Coach Michael Webb knows his team has their work cut out for them, “Va High is a very talented team. Great Skill Kids, Big on the OL and DL, Well Coached. Coach Crist is a heck of a coach and comes from great coaching genes as his Dad was the HC at Blacksburg for many many years.” We were given the chance to ask Virginia High Head Coach Michael Crist about his keys to tonight’s game, “In order for us to have success this Friday, it’s crucial to slow down Seth Stanley. He’s an incredible back, he has speed and he’s physical. It’s a big test for our defense. Offensively, we’ve got to get back in sync and find a way to score in the redzone.”
On the Pioneer side of the ball, QB Casey White (61 of 95 for 643 yds & 5 TD’s) is having a fine season. On the receiving end of most of those passes have been WR’s Cole Stoots and Casey Martin. Stoots has 19 catches for 331 yds and 3 TD’s while Martin has hauled in 15 for 205 yards and 1 TD. Unquestionably, RB Seth Stanley is the leader of the Lebanon offense. His 231-yard performance last week put him well over the 1,000 yard mark with 1,102 yards and 10 TD’s. LB Brady Waugh has been playing lights out defense as of late. He and Stanley are the leading tacklers for the Pioneers. Cole Stoots leads the DB’s and is an interception threat that opposing QB’s must account for.
Virginia High’s QB, Jamison Lathrop, is 57 of 123 for 825 yds and 7 TD’s on the season. Lathrop makes good use of the offensive weapons around him. Freshman RB Stevie Thomas (385 yds & 3 TD’s) has been a bright spot for the Bearcats, and has come on strong in the last few games. The teams leading receivers are Taurean Bizzell (13 receptions & 2 TD’s) and Michael Bradley (13 receptions & 1 TD). Lathrop has been efficient and spread the ball out among several receivers. The Bearcat defense will be led by Jalon Dingus (45 tackles, 11 TFL, & 2 sacks). Coach Crist will likely be without Senior RB Aaron Rose (684 yds & 5 TD’s) but Thomas has certainly proven himself capable of taking on an increased role. All of us across the coalfields certainly wish Rose a speedy recovery and return to action.
Both these teams have had their ups and down during the 2018 season and are dealing with injuries at key positions, but both will certainly be ready as this SWD brawl comes to Russell County tonight.