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Galax to battle for top spot

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Fort hasn't seen much of a drop-off from last year and stands between the Tide and the MED lead.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 This one may not be for all the marbles, but the winner will certainly have a couple jars full more than anybody else around.

The Mountain Empire District lead and the inside track to the district title will be at stake tonight when Galax (4-2 overall, 1-0 district) travels to C.F. McKinney Stadium for a key MED meeting with Fort Chiswell (6-1, 1-0). After knocking of Grayson County 23-14 last Friday, Galax is looking for wins over the district's two biggest hurdles in back-to-back weeks, and will have only Bland County and Narrows (combined 3-10) between itself and an outright championship.

Meanwhile, Fort Chiswell has been rolling merrily along despite losing some studs off of what was Fort's best football year ever, but will still need to get past Grayson County to seal up its second straight crown.

Regardless of the outcome, Maroon Tide coach Mark Dixon and his staff have already reached one goal for the program.

“It’s neat for these kids to be in a position to play in games that really matter,” said Dixon between sessions of scratching his head about how to stop the Pioneers. “And that’s all we’ve really wanted as coaches, is to have people show up for games, and for the kids to play in games that matter. Friday’s going to go a long way in determining who wins the district, and that’s great for our kids.

“This is the biggest game we’ve been in in a long time. Most people may think we’ll be lucky to hang in there, and they may be right, but you never know. We’re going to play it and we’ll see what happens.”

Dixon's words came during a break in trying to figure out just the opposite of what he had to do a week ago. Last week against a multi-talented and balanced opponent, Galax's defense had to be everywhere at once. This week, the trick is for everybody to be at one place at the same time against a straight-ahead power running attack.

Such is the dilemma in preparing for the Anti-Grayson.

“Their power stands out, how physical they are, how big they are,” said Dixon with admiration in his voice. “They can just pound you to death.”

Tabbing Fort Chiswell the best team he’s seen other than Eastern Montgomery, the Tide coach admitted to actually enjoying watching the Pioneers on film.

“I love what [Fort coach Steven James] does,” he said. “I think he does an unbelievable job. I love when teams go four and five yards a pop. I love that kind of football. But I know how hard it is to go 80 yards like that. There’s a penalty here or a missed assignment or an incompletion on a three-step route. Anything can throw that kind of drive off. The thing with these guys is they can pound you for seven or eight or 12 or 15 yards at a time.”

Dixon’s planning is just as tricky on the offensive side. For perhaps the first time all year, he isn’t so sure that the Tide can sustain the running attack is has shown through its first six games.

“As good as our run game has been, it’s been right at you, and we can’t do that against them,” he said. “If we are going to run it it’ll have to be a different style. Even against Radford I felt we could run power, but this is the first week I’ve felt we might not be able to do that.”

Asked whether he was more proud of the fact that Galax held in check Grayson’s highly-potent offense or the fact that Jacob Fisher played his first downs of the year at runningback and responded with 159 yards, no fumbles and no negative yardage runs on 21 attempts, Dixon had to take a moment.

“I thought we’d be able to run it,” he said, despite going in without leading rusher Jordan Vaughan, who remains sidelined with a broken foot, “but I really didn’t think we would stop them. That’s the thing I was the proudest of.  I knew Jacob Fisher. I knew what he was capable of. Pound for pound he’s our best athlete. The thing about him is he plays so much bigger than he is. He plays so big.”

Dixon is just hoping for a lot of big, from a lot of people, against Fort Chiswell.

 

 

WEEK 8

Galax (4-2,1-0) at Fort Chiswell (6-1, 1-0)

Friday, 7:30

C.F. McKinney Stadium

Radio: WWWJ 1360AM, www.wwwj1360.com

 

Last week

Galax defeated Grayson County 23-14

Fort Chiswell defeated Bland County 35-7

Last meeting

2009 – Fort Chiswell won 31-8

Last Galax win

2007 (18-0)

Common opponents

Northwood

lost to Galax 45-0 Aug. 27

lost to Fort Chiswell 42-7 Sept. 10

 

The series (since 1970)

1984–Galax 12-0        

1985–Galax 34-8        

1986–Galax 7-6        

1987–Ft. Chiswell 6-3 (ot)        

1988–Ft. Chiswell 22-20        

1989–Ft. Chiswell 21-7        

1990–Ft. Chiswell 27-12        

1991–Galax 14-7        

1992–Galax 15-0        

1993–Fort Chiswell 19-10        

1994–Ft. Chiswell 29-15        

1995–Ft. Chiswell 28-7        

1996–Ft. Chiswell 25-6        

1997–Ft. Chiswell 35-6

1998–Galax 25-13

1999–Galax 41-20

2000–Ft. Chiswell 29-6

2001–Galax 49-16

2002–Galax 56-41

2003–Ft. Chiswell 42-14

2004–Ft. Chiswell 28-23

2006–Ft. Chiswell 33-30

2005–Galax 22-16

2007–Galax 18-0

2008–Ft. Chiswell 47-6

2009–Ft. Chiswell 31-8

Overall

Fort Chiswell leads 15-11

 

 

The season

Fort Chiswell                                     Galax

D Rural Retreat 41-19          8/27         D Northwood 45-0

D Auburn 41-0                     9/3         D Alleghany, N.C. 35-0

D Northwood 42-7               9/10         L to EastMont 38-26

L to Chilhowie 35-7              9/17         L to Radford 27-21

D Floyd Co. 22-21                 9/24         D Craig County 30-21

D George Wythe 16-14         10/1         Open

D Bland Co. 35-7                  10/8         D Grayson Co. 23-14

Galax                                  10/15         at Fort Chiswell

Narrows                              10/22         at Covington

Open                                  10/29         Bland County

Grayson County                  11/3         at Narrows