The Patrick Henry Rebels laid claim to the programs first ever regional football title this past Saturday with a 24-0 victory over the J.I. Burton Raiders at Emory & Henry’s Fred Selfe Stadium.
The three headed attack of Dakota Rector, Cody Smith and Zach Brown led the way on offense for the Rebels as they accumulated all of their points in the first half. Zach Brown, who has been hobbled by injuries to both ankles led Patrick Henry in rushing. Brown exited the contest in the third quarter as the injury he had been battling flared up once more. Brown finished the contest with 81 yards on 14 carries and 2 touchdowns. Patrick Henry opened the game with a 13 play 60 yard drive that chewed up over half of the first quarter. The end result would be a 6 yard scamper from Brown to put the Rebels up 8-0 with 5:32 showing on the clock. A three and out from Burton allowed Patrick Henry to put another long scoring drive together that extended in to the second quarter. This time a 10 play drive that was capped off by a 22 yard touchdown run from Brown to make the score 16-0 with 9:45 remaining before halftime. The Rebels would put the finishing touches on the contest with four minutes remaining in the first half on a sneak from Dakota Rector to make the score 24-0. Cody Smith, who finished with 50 yards rushing, converted all three two point conversion runs in the contest. Esau Teasley led the charge for the Raiders on the ground as he tallied 50 yards on 10 carries while Mikey Culbertson chipped in 34 yards on 9 carries. The stingy Rebel defense held the Raiders to only 6 first downs while limiting them to 114 yards of offense and forcing an interception.
This was the fifth meeting between the two schools. The Rebels have defeated the Raiders in 1999 and 2000 while also adding a victory in the playoffs last year and of course this seasons regional title game. The lone Burton victory over Patrick Henry came in the playoffs in 2017 in Glade Springs.
Mark Palmers Rebels now welcome in the 11-1 Galax Maroon Tide in the state semi’s which will kick off at 3 p.m. at Fred Selfe Stadium on the campus of Emory & Henry on Saturday, December 7th. Galax defeated George Wythe 52-6 in last weeks region 1c title game. Galax has been defeated the last two years in the state semi’s by Chilhowie and in 2016 by Riverheads. The Maroon Tide are looking to get back to the state championship game where they last appeared in 2015 and defeated Riverheads 7-6 to claim the VHSL 1A state championship. This will be the second all time meeting between Patrick Henry and Galax as the one and only previous meeting came in 2014 in the playoffs which wasn’t kind to the Rebels. Galax went on to defeat Patrick Henry 60-21 at Galax Athletic Field before eventually being ousted from the playoffs by James Colley’s Haysi Tigers in Sandlick.
The Rebels defense which has been led by Ean Rhea, Caleb Walk, Bobby Cline, Chase Brown and others, will look to slow down the high octane offense of the Maroon Tide that is led by quarterback Cole Pickett and tailback Denver Brown. Brown ran over, around and through George Wythe on his way to 317 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. Patrick Henry will hope to have senior tailback Zach Brown on Saturday as this will be the Rebels biggest challenge yet.