Grayson County defeats GW, 36-28 to set up MED showdown at Galax

The Grayson County football team has overachieved all season.  Most pundits expected the Blue Devils to make the playoffs, but to be at the bottom half of the eight seeded teams.  After Monday night’s victory over George Wythe, Grayson County finds themselves solidly holding down the two seed in the Class 2, Region D playoff race.  The Blue Devils used a relentless ground attack behind backs Levi Jones and Jake Hollingsworth to defeat the Maroons 36-28 Monday night in a game rescheduled after Friday’s rain.

Levi Johnson was the dominant force for the Devils in the first quarter on both sides of the ball.  Johnson scored on a 7-yard run with 5:41 left in the first quarter on fourth and two.  The extra point was no good.  Johnson then displayed his prowess on defense, intercepting a Cole Simmons pass on the ensuing Maroon possession.  The Devils would strike again with 59 seconds left in the quarter. Hollingsworth was able to turn the corner on the maroon defense and race 19 yards to the house.  Dawson Allen converted the two point try and at the end of 1, the Blue Devils led the Maroons, 14-0.

A key play would occur midway through the second quarter as the Maroons seemingly began to sustain some momentum.  A miscommunication led to a mishandled handoff from Cole Simmons to Ravvon Wells at the Grayson County one-yard line.  The Blue Devils pounced on the pigskin nullifying an almost sure score for the Maroons.  The Maroons would get on the board late in the first half, however, as Simmons found Wells on an easy two-yard completion in the end zone.  With 26 seconds left in the half, the Maroons were within a score at 14-7.

On the first offensive play of the second half, the Maroons would even the contest at 14 all on a Simmons to Isaiah Sawyers 65-yard swing pass.  The Maroons defense continued to have difficulty containing the Grayson County ground attack. Hollingsworth found the promised land for the second time on the evening going right up the gut for a seven-yard touchdown.  The two point try was unsuccessful, and with 6:49 left in the third quarter, the Blue Devils regained the lead at 20-14.  The Maroons advanced the ball to midfield on the ensuing possession, but Ravvon Wells was stopped short on a fourth and two at the 49 yard line.  The Blue Devils would make the Maroons pay for the short field.  Levi Johnson scored his second on the evening, turning the corner and racing 32 yards down the right sideline.  Johnson also ran the ball in for two on the point after try and with 2:36 left in the third quarter, the Blue Devils were ahead 28-14.

A little over one minute into the fourth quarter, the Maroons found paydirt once again. Simmons found Wells for a 16-yard touchdown pass.  With 10:56 left in the contest, the Maroons were back within a score at 28-21.  The tide seemingly turned in the Maroons favor on the ensuing kickoff, as Grayson County coughed up the football and the Maroons recovered.  However, the Blue Devils would return the favor moments later on a brutal blind side sack by Jake Hollingsworth of Cole Simmons caused a fumble that the Devils recovered at the 44 yard line.  Hollingsworth completed the hat trick, scoring his third touchdown of the night, turning the corner and going 16 yards down the home sideline.  Levi Johnson converted the two-point try, extending the Blue Devils lead to 36-21 with 4:29 remaining.  27 seconds later, the Maroons answered back as Brayden Thompson got around the end and raced free to the clear, 55 yards down the home sideline.  With 4:02 left in the contest, the score read Blue Devils 36, Maroons 28.  The Maroons opted to attempt the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and the gamble paid off as the Maroons were able to recover.  The Maroons were able to drive the ball to the Blue Devils four yard line, but were unable to convert a fourth and goal opportunity.  The Devils finished off the Maroons on the ground and prevailed in a hard fought 36-28 victory.

The victory for the Blue Devils sets up a highly anticipated showdown as they will travel 15 minutes east on U. S. 58 to Galax this Friday night.  The hotly contested rivalry sees both teams battling for the Mountain Empire District title and both programs securing top 2 playoff seeding in their respective classifications.  The Maroons also have an intense rivalry game on the horizon, as they will travel down eight miles south on U. S. 11 to face their Wythe County rivals, Rural Retreat.

Leading the way on the evening for Grayson County was Levi Johnson who had 181 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns.  Jake Hollingsworth also had himself a night, compiling three touchdowns on eight carries and 72 yards.  For the Maroons, Cole Simmons led the way with 239 yards and three touchdowns through the air.  Ravvon Wells finished the contest with 80 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns receiving.


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