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Fort Chiswell rolls past Tide

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Galax’s early lead didn’t stand up as the Pioneers improved to 7-1 with a 31-8 win over the Tide.

By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

Galax remained winless in the Mountain Empire District after another tough loss at home Friday night, falling to Fort Chiswell 31-8. The game began promising for Galax (1-6 overall, 0-2 MED), after the Maroon Tide put up eight quick points on its opening drive. Galax’s offense netted a loss of 1 yard on its first two plays before quarterback Terrance Mazon found Deion George on a crossing route over the middle of the field. George headed for the sideline and ran untouched 68 yards to the end zone to put the Tide up 6-0 with 10:33 remaining in the first quarter. A successful two-point pass stretched the lead to 8-0. The celebration was shortlived, however, as the Pioneers (7-1, 2-0) needed only one play to answer. Quarterback Will Freeman showed off his arm as well, finding Zack Cook wide open along the far sideline. Cook easily hauled in the pass and headed 51 yards for an effortless touchdown. A failed two-point conversion kept the gap at two points with 10:28 left in the first quarter. Both defenses buckled down, and neither team advanced far into the other’s territory. With 2:48 remaining in the first quarter, the Pioneers took over on the Tide 47-yard line. Fort Chiswell rode its workhorse Chris Rodriguez — a 5-foot 11-inch, 200-pounder who entered the game averaging 177 yards this season — en route to its second score of the evening. The nine-play drive was capped off when Freeman pitched the ball to Rodriguez, who darted to the left and crossed the goal line untouched. The Pioneers failed on their two-point conversion and led 12-8 with 9:28 left in the half. The Tide turned the ball over on its next two possessions, including an interception by Mazon that led to a failed fourth-down conversion by the Pioneers and a lost fumble on its own 29-yard line. The Pioneers took advantage of the gifted short field, moving the ball 29 yards in five plays and 2:17. Rodriguez once again finished the drive off, this time from 3 yards out, giving Fort Chiswell an 18-8 lead after the failed point after. The Pioneers took the 10-point lead into halftime, and received the kickoff to start the final 24 minutes. Rodriguez set Fort Chiswell up with a short field after a 35-yard return on the kickoff. The Pioneers ran straight at Galax, calling seven straight run plays, and capped the drive off with a 9-yard run by Hody Viars to take a 24-8 lead with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter. Galax managed to move the ball deep into Pioneer territory, but turned it over on downs at the Fort Chiswell 13-yard line. It was midway through the final 12 minutes before Fort Chiswell added its final points of the night. After taking over on the 50-yard line, the Pioneers put the ball in the hands of Johnse Hatfield, who outran all the Tide defenders en route to a 50-yard touchdown. The point after was successful and the Pioneers put up their 31st unanswered point. Rodriguez finished the night with 133 yards on the ground after taking the majority of the fourth quarter off. Overall, the Pioneers outgained the Tide 275-34 on the ground. Galax, however, won the battle through the air, with Mazon passing for 130 yards — 68 of which came on his first completion — and Freeman managing only 61. The loss drops Galax to 0-2 in the Mountain Empire District, heading into its homecoming game against Covington Friday night.   Fort Chiswell  6  12  6  7––31 Galax              8    0  0  0––  8

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First quarter Gal–George 68 pass from Mazon (pass good) 10:33 FC–Cook 51 pass from Freeman (run failed) 10:18 Second quarter FC–Rodriguez 4 run (run failed) 9:28 FC–Rodriguez 3 run (kick failed) 1:40 Third quarter FC–Viars 9 run (kick failed) 8:53 Fourth quarter FC–Hatfield 50 run (Martin kick) 6:18                                       FC    Gal First downs                15    6 Rushes-yards      41-275    24-34 Yards passing            61    130 Comp-Att-Int        2-5-0    8-20-1 Return yards              56    132 Punts-average      3-38.0    4-28.0 Fumbles-lost             1-0    3-1 Penalties-yards      10-90    3-20     Individual statistics Rushing–Fort Chiswell, Rodriguez 22-133, Hatfield 11-108, Freeman 2-20, Viars 6-14. Galax, Mazon 10-31, Vaughan 11-3, Newman 3-0. Passing–Fort Chiswell, Freeman 2-5-0-61. Galax, Mazon 8-20-1-130.

Receiving–Fort Chiswell, Cook 1-51, Viars 1-10. Galax, George 2-75, Vaughan 4-27, Rodriguez 1-19, Gable 1-9.