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Carroll County rebounded nicely last week from a pretty thorough defeat the week before. Tonight, Grayson County will get its chance to do the same.
The Cavaliers conclude their nondistrict schedule and the Blue Devils look to bounce back from their first loss of the year as the two meet in Independence for a 7:30 kickoff at Bill Strong Field.
Grayson County was held to 38 points below its average for the year in a 27-7 loss at Glenvar while Carroll County (2-2) hung a half a hundred on the board and felt a lot better about itself with a Southwest District win over Tazewell last week, seven days after the Cavaliers were handed their heads in a 40-0 loss at Christiansburg.
The point total was actually a lot higher, if you ask Carroll coach Tom Hale, whose team surrendered two fumbles returned for touchdowns, accounting for all of Tazewell’s 13 points.
“I told the kids after the game, our offense scored 63 points, it’s just that 13 were for the other team,” he said.
Grayson County didn’t have such a problem, mainly because the Blue Devil offense spent so much time on the sideline.
“We just never got the ball,” Grayson coach Brett McPherson said. “They just 4-yarded us to death. We had one turnover and one penalty. We didn’t play bad, we just couldn’t get them off the field. Every third down they had, they converted.”
Each team offers a serious challenge to the other, and both coaches recognize the threat posed by his opponent.
“Carroll has put up some humongous numbers in a couple games,” McPherson said. “I don’t care who you’re playing, when you run for 500 yards a couple of times, that’s outrageous. We’ve got our hands full keeping them from doing the same thing [as Glenvar], running over us and keeping the football. And that’s what they do well.”
The Cavaliers are giving opponents some new looks on offense, which isn’t making things easier on opposing defenses.
“They’ve got more sets than they have had, they’re doing more motion, the jet sweep has opened up a lot of things, they run the mid-line option with the quarterback, so they’re not just trap, sweep, waggle,” McPherson said. “They’re doing a lot of things.”
Carroll County is coming off what Hale called the best defensive game the Cavaliers have had in a long time, though he felt offensive execution could have been better.
“We’re working hard this week on trying to execute better, because we really fell like Grayson is a very solid, good, athletic football team,” Hale said. “We’ve got to block them because they really get after it defensively.”
With Grayson County having topped season point totals of 2008 and 09 in just the first three games of 2010, it may take another stellar defensive effort by the Cavaliers.
“A lot of [Grayson’s] kids now are juniors and seniors, they’re coming into their own and they’re playing with a lot of confidence,” Hale said. “They’re playing real well. I’m really concerned that if we don’t go in there playing with a chip on our shoulder, they could certainly pull off a win.”
The challenge for Carroll will be keeping an eye on wideout Eric Harvey while not ignoring a potent ground attack led by Xavier Rodriguez, who was held below 100 yards Friday for the first time this year.
“[Harvey] is 6-foot-4, and our tallest corner is maybe 5-11, 6-0,” Hale said, “and they way they do it, the quarterback just throws it up in the air and it’s a jump ball situation, and from what we’ve seen on film, Harvey wins the majority of them. It’s hard to defend.”
Alex Horton moved back to cornerback after three games at linebacker, and will at least have experience covering Harvey, as he did in last year’s meeting, a 25-7 Carroll win.
“They’re a lot more diverse than they were last year,” Hale said. “The Rodriguez kid can run the ball. They’ve got a big fullback that can run the ball. Their offensive line has got good size. They’re moving the ball and scoring points on people.”
Carroll County (2-2) at Grayson County (3-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Bill Strong Field
Carroll County defeated Tazewell 50-13
Grayson County lost to Glenvar 27-7
2009 – Carroll County won 25-6
Last Grayson County win
None to date
1990–Carroll Co. 42-14
1991–Grayson Co. 21-2
1992–Grayson Co. 20-19
1993–Carroll Co. 28-22
1994–Grayson Co. 20-6
1995–Carroll Co. 3-0
1996–Carroll Co. 47-0
1997–Carroll Co. 59-14
1998–Grayson Co. 21-14
1999–Carroll Co. 35-14
2000–Carroll Co. 34-7
2001–Grayson Co. 28-27
2002–Carroll Co. 25-7
2003–Carroll Co. 37-6
2004–Carroll Co. 56-12
2005–Carroll Co. 41-13
2006–Carroll Co. 26-8
2007–Grayson Co. 38-14
2008–Carroll Co. 35-0
2009–Carroll Co. 25-6
Carroll County leads 14-6
Carroll County Grayson County
L to Bassett 17-14 8/27 D Alleghany NC 34-14
D Patrick Co. 47-19 9/3 D Chilhowie 48-22
L to C'burg 40-0 9/10 D Rural Retreat 55-20
D Tazewell 50-13 9/17 L to Glenvar 27-7
at Grayson County 9/24 Carroll County
Open 10/1 Radford
Abingdon 10/8 at Galax
Marion 10/15 Open
at Grundy 10/22 Bland County
at Richlands 10/29 at Narrows
Graham 11/3 at Fort Chiswell