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Cavs, Devils get defensive

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Both are coming off stingy outings as the two meet for Carroll County’s homecoming.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE -- One is seeking its first win, the other is finding a groove. One is airing it out, the other is running over folks. But despite their differences, Grayson County and Carroll County have one thing in common -- they put up one heck of a defense a week ago. Carroll County (2-2) dominated the first half defensively and the second half offensively en route to a 33-14 thrashing of Tazewell. In Independence, the Blue Devils (0-4) held undefeated Glenvar to seven points, four first downs and 110 yards of offense in a 7-0 loss. Regardless of Grayson’s offensive woes, the Devil defense has caught the eye of Carroll coach Tom Hale. “Everybody they’ve played, it looks like they’ve had a real good plan defensively and they’ve stuck with it,” Hale said. “They’ve given everybody a tough time. They haven’t gotten beat bad, and they’ve played some pretty good teams. We’re going into this game with a lot of respect for them.” Grayson County isn’t far from entering the game at 3-1, even 4-0. Three of the Devils’ four losses have come by an average of 5.3 points. Even in a 12-point loss to Chilhowie, Grayson was down just five in the fourth quarter. “Every game, with three or four minutes left, we have been within a touchdown of taking the lead or tying the game, we just can’t get over the hump,” Blue Devil coach Brett McPherson said. Despite committing 15 turnovers the last two games, Grayson has allowed just one touchdown the last six quarters, which is a big reason the Devils have been in every game. On the flip side, those 15 giveaways are a big reason they have but one touchdown in the last eight quarters. “We’re really playing hard and scrappy, we’re just struggling on offense,” McPherson said. “We just can’t run the football, and until we can do that, we’ll continue to struggle. Everybody in the world knows we’re going to throw to the Harvey kid. I’d be an idiot not to. But we’ve got to find a way to run the ball.” The Harvey kid is wide receiver Eric Harvey, currently averaging more than five catches and 100 receiving yards per game. “He’s impressive,” Hale said. “Seeing him go up and catch some of the balls he’s caught, it’s amazing. If you didn’t see it, it would be hard to believe some of those catches. But he makes plays if the ball is anywhere in his area. That’s going to pose a problem, because we’re definitely not going to defend him 1-on-1.” It will be the second week in a row Grayson has faced a wing-T offense, but McPherson doesn’t see a lot of similarities between Carroll and Glenvar. “Glenvar was pretty vanilla and Carroll does a lot more because they have a lot more experience with it,” McPherson said. “Glenvar’s just been running it two years. So any counter we make, [Carroll] will have an adjustment for it, so we’ve got to be on our toes. Last week we were able to lock some kids down to cover certain things, and we can’t do that this week.” Carroll County had four ballcarriers rush for between 46 and 111 yards against Tazewell, picking up 333 ground yards for the game. “I think each week we have progressed and gotten better,” said Hale. “I’m real pleased with where we are as a football team at the halfway point of the season. I feel like if we don’t get injured and we continue to progress, I believe we’ll be a team to reckon with in the district.” “They’re well-coached, they do a great job with that wing-T and they do a great job making adjustments on the fly when they see what you’re doing,” said McPherson. “And they run a lot more sets than people realize. They’re compact in there, but they do a lot of things with the unbalanced, the double wing, moving the halfback to the other side. But the bottom line is, they’re going to run the trap and they’re going to run the power and the jet sweep and if we can’t take care of that, it’s going to be a long night.”   WEEK 5 Grayson County (0-4) at Carroll County (2-2) Friday, 7:30 at Tommy Thompson Field   Last week Grayson County lost to Glenvar 7-0 Carroll County defeated Tazewell 33-14 Last meeting 2008 (Carroll County won 35-0) Last Grayson County win 2007 (38-14) Common opponents None to date   The series 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 Overall Carroll County leads 13-6     The season Grayson CountyCarroll County L to Alleghany, N.C.  21-20  8/28     L at Bassett 21-20 L to Chilhowie 32-20             9/4      D Patrick Co. 28-27 L to Rural Retreat 14-6           9/11    L to C’burg 23-7 L to Glenvar 7-0                     9/18    D Tazewell 33-14 at Carroll County                    9/25    Grayson County at Radford                              10/2     Open Galax                                     10/9     at Abingdon Open                                      10/16   at Marion at Bland County                     10/23   Grundy Narrows                                 10/30   Richlands Fort Chiswell                         11/6     at Graham