Cavaliers open playoffs at home with Warriors

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Carroll County will make just its second home playoff appearance

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE -- Carroll County will host a playoff game for the first time since 1997 and for just the second time in school history when the Cavaliers welcome Magna Vista for a Region IV Division 4 first-round game tonight at Tommy Thompson Field. Once a mainstay in the postseason, Magna Vista (6-4) is making its first playoff appearance in three years after posting back-to-back 0-10 seasons. The Warriors will bring a five-game winning streak to Hillsville after dropping 25 of their previous 26 games. Much of the credit can be attributed to Harvey Taylor, a 5-foot-7, 162-pound sophomore quarterback. Resurrecting an offense that averaged fewer than six points per game over the past two seasons, Taylor has accounted for more than 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Warriors, who got past Bassett 22-14 last week to wrap up the Piedmont District championship and an automatic berth in the playoffs. In Magna Vista’s spread option attack, Taylor has carried 183 times for 953 yards, scoring 13 touchdowns. As a passer, he has completed 87 of 161 attempts for 1,057 yards and five touchdowns, though he has been intercepted 15 times on the season. The 10th-grader hasn’t authored Magna Vista’s turnaround by himself. Runningbacks T.C. Carter and Byron Becker have also contributed, with Carter (5-11, 181, jr.) accounting for 677 yards and 10 touchdowns and Becker (6-0, 215, sr.) chipping in with 470 yards and one score. Trevor Kellam and Tyler Davis have been the Warriors’ most productive receivers, each with 28 catches on the year. Davis leads the way with 470 receiving yards, while Kellam has accounted for another 227. Carroll County has spent the week looking for a way to regain the form it showed in winning five games in a row before closing out the regular season with losses to Richlands (21-13) and Graham (35-14). “We’ve got a tough job to do this week,” said Carroll County coach Tom Hale following Saturday’s loss at Graham. “We’ve got to get these kids up against a team that we can beat. They’re tough and they’re quick, but if we can get them ready to play I think we’ll be alright.” Carroll County has a brief history with Magna Vista, which was a consolidation of old Drewery Mason and G.W. Carver high schools, and then absorbed Laurel Park two years ago. The Cavaliers and Warriors have met twice before, both times in the postseason.  Magna Vista won both, most recently a 34-14 decision in the 2005 playoffs. That was two years after the Warriors held off the Cavaliers 3-0 in the Region IV Division 4 championship game. The winner of tonight’s game will travel to Salem next week to face the top-seeded Spartans (10-0) in the region semifinals.   REGION IV DIVISION 4 PLAYOFFS First round  Magna Vista (6-4) at Carroll County (6-4) Friday, 7:30 at Tommy Thompson Field   HOW THEY ADVANCED Magna Vista The Warriors enter the postseason as the Piedmont District champion and are the No. 6 seed in the new expanded playoff format. Under the old four-team format, Magna Vista’s district title would have been good for the No. 4 spot, knocking the Cavaliers out of the playoffs. The Warriors have won five straight games since a 1-4 start that extended a stretch of 25 losses in 26 games. Carroll County The No. 4-seeded Cavaliers reached the playoffs as a wildcard team on the strength of their VHSL rating and finished second in the Southwest District. Carroll County stood 6-2 before back-to-back losses to Richlands and Graham to close the regular season.

PLAYOFF HISTORY Magna Vista After back-to-back 0-10 seasons in which the Warriors averaged fewer than six points per game, Magna Vista snapped a 21-game losing streak and returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2006, when they lost to Bassett in the first round. The 2003 Region IV Division 4 champion, Magna Vista lost in the region finals in 2005.

Carroll County The Cavaliers are also back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, when Martinsville ousted them in the Region IV Division 4 semifinals. It is the fifth playoff appearance in the last seven years for Carroll County, which is 1-10 all-time in the postseason. Two of those losses came to Magna Vista, including a 3-0 defeat in the 2003 region championship game.

Last week Magna Vista defeated Bassett 22-14 Carroll County lost to Graham 35-14 Last meeting 2008, Region IV Division 4 semifinals Magna Vista won 34-14 Last Carroll County win Carroll County is 0-2 in the series Common opponents Patrick County Magna Vista won 21-6 Oct. 23 Carroll County won 28-27 Sept. 4 Bassett Magna Vista won 22-14 last week Carroll County lost 21-20 Aug. 28

The season  Magna Vista                                        Carroll County def. Heritage 35-0               8/28    lost to Bassett 21-20 lost to Morehead, N.C. 42-35   9/4    def. Patrick Co. 28-27 lost to Wm. Fleming 35-13     9/11    lost to C’burg 23-7 lost to Franklin Co. 56-7        9/18    def. Tazewell 33-14 lost to Wm. Campbell 14-8     9/25    def. Grayson Co. 25-6 def. Halifax County 12-9       10/2    Open def. Martinsville 28-14          10/9    def. Abingdon 26-7 def. Tunstall 35-3                10/16    def. Marion 14-13 def. Patrick County 21-6        10/23    def. Grundy 42-14 Open                                10/30    lost to Richlands 21-13 def. Bassett 22-14               11/6    lost to Graham 35-14

The series 2003–Magna Vista 3-0, Region IV Division 4 championship game 2005–Magna Vista 34-14, Region IV Division 4 semifinals

Overall Magna Vista leads 2-0