The regular season is over with and the post season begins. Win, and you get to play another week. Lose, and you get to pull out the basketballs. The last two seasons Appomattox (8-1) has been responsible for Giles (5-5) pulling the basketballs out early. In 2016, Giles fell to the Raiders 45-21 in the second round. In 2017, the Spartans returned to Bragg Stadium and fell once again in the second round, 45-14. Giles beat Appomattox in the second round of the 2013 playoffs. The last three times these teams played, the winner went on to win a state title.
2014 was the last time Appomattox lost to a 2A school. Since that loss, they have an impressive 52-2 record with their only two losses coming to 3A Heritage. The Raiders has won the 2A state title the past three years and with an 8-1 record thus far, many wonder if they can make it four-in-a-row.
Last season, the Raiders backfield was full of talent with Javon Scruggs, Omar Bailey and Devon Graves. While Appomattox may not be as dominant as the years before, head coach Doug Smith has made best of his young team. Leading the Raiders to eight wins is running back Cristian Ferguson. While Ferguson may not be the quickest guy on the field, his size makes him a load to bring down. He has 1,172 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Tre Lawing adds over 500 rushing yards and 543 yards through the air.
Giles rushed for 372 yards in last year’s game. 226 of those yards came from former tailback Ryan Beidleman but the Raiders’ defense stepped up when they needed to and kept the Spartans out of the end zone. The Spartans may not have a standout running back this season, but that may cause issues for the Raiders not knowing who to key on. Giles has five backs that have combined for 2,500 rushing yards. Tailback Logan Greenway leads the Spartans with 783 yards and four touchdowns. Sharing carries at the tailback spot is Chaston Ratcliffe who has 564 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Hunter Williams and Dominic Collini alternate at full back and combine for 808 yards and seven touchdowns.
The winner of this game will face the winner of Glenvar and Buckingham for the Regional Semifinals. If Giles loses, they will finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 1987.
Game will be played at Bragg Stadium in Appomattox County on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m..
Born in Pulaski, Va it only took a few years before I would end up in the beautiful Giles County where I would graduate in 2012 from Giles High School. Since the age of 4, Pearisburg has been my homeplace and I don’t have any plans to leave.
Sports have always been big in my family. My father was fortunate enough to be able to play football for the Spartans in 1978, which was the first year that Coach Steve Ragsdale introduced the single-wing offense which we will still run today.
My high school football career was cut short due to a knee injury that I sustained my junior year, but fortunately I was able to compete in the State Championship my senior year as a shot put thrower on the track and field team.
I now get to enjoy the football games in the stands with my father as we are known as, “them guys with the train horn,” which we take to every football game. GO SPARTANS!