The Chilhowie Warriors have been setting records all season long.
The storied season watched the Warriors go 10-0 for the first time since 1971. The 12-win mark is the most in school history. The defense has allowed three passing touchdowns all season while only allowing 6.7 points a contest.
While Zack Cale and Greg Sanchez get the majority of the publicity for their star power on the offensive side of the ball, this defense is statistically the best in the area.
While pitching its fifth shutout of the season in the first round of the playoffs against Eastside, Logan Branson also etched his name into the Warriors record book.
In two quarters of play, Branson recorded two tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack against the Spartans. With this performance, the four-year starter moved past teammate Alex Adams school record for most tackles for a loss in a season in school history. Adams previously held the record with 29. Branson currently sits at 33.
This record achieving performance was enough to give Branson the nod as the CoalfieldSports.com defensive player of the week for round one of the playoffs.
“The win over Eastside was just the next step in our journey towards our ultimate goal,” Branson stated.
The win over Eastside was the 11thtriumph for a squad that has been determined to avenge a loss in the 2017 state championship to Riverheads. The loss on high school football’s ultimate stage fuels Branson and the Warriors every day they step onto the gridiron.
“Our team motto has been ‘Unfinished Business’ for a reason,” Branson stated. “That loss motivated us to want to get back and finish the job.”
Branson is a team-first type of player. This can be expected of a guy who has led the Warriors defense for four seasons. The leadership role is one that Branson has embraced with open arms.
“Being a four-year starter,” Branson said. “I have the experience needed to lead our defense.”
Branson credits the defense’s performance each week to “playing as a unit and everyone doing their job.” The Warriors defense has done just that as they have embarrassed opponents on their way to a regional championship appearance against Patrick Henry.
Perhaps the sweetest part of the Warriors story is the fact that this team went 2-8 while this year’s senior class graced the field as freshman. Chilhowie head coach Jeff Robinson has said many times that that class had to grow up quick at the varsity level. Many of the Warriors have played 50+ football games.
“We just improved every year since our freshman year and got a lot stronger,” Branson said. “It has been a great ride.”
The great ride has featured 96 tackles for the 5-foot-10, 195-pound linebacker in his senior campaign.
However, the message sent by Branson is very clear when it comes to individual achievements and records.
“I don’t pay much attention to individual accomplishments,” Branson said. “I just want to win.”
To this point, Branson has been satisfied.
All the Warriors have done is found the win column.
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.