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SALEM –– A 30-minute traffic delay along Interstate 81 due to bridge construction and confusion on the actual starting time of Galax’s season opener had some folks still filing into Glenvar’s Highlander Stadium midway through the second quarter.
The latecomers didn’t miss a whole lot.
An eventful second half culminated in a Glenvar field goal that wasn’t, a Maroon Tide field goal that was and a 17-14 overtime win by Galax in a nondistrict game Friday night.
Eli Brady’s field goal from 24 yards out in the extra session was the difference as the Maroon Tide opened the season with a hard-earned win over a quality opponent.
“That’s a heck of a football team,” Galax coach Mark Dixon said of the Highlanders. “I knew that coming down. For our kids to step up and continue to get stops when we had to have them… They were pounding on us and pounding on us but we were resilient.”
With regulation ending in a 14-14 tie, Galax elected to open the overtime session on defense and actually had to keep the Highlanders out of the end zone for eight plays. After three plays netted Glenvar just one yard, Tyler Haynie booted a 26-yard field goal to put the Highlanders ahead 17-14, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave Glenvar the option of a first down inside the 5. Glenvar at first declined the penalty, but officials hadn’t explained the option of taking a first down instead, and after some discussion the Highlanders were allowed to erase their three-point lead for a chance at a touchdown.
“It was frustrating when they got to come back out and take four more cracks,” said Dixon. “It put us on a rollercoaster ride, which is tough for kids, but in the end it was a great thing because we held. It was a great night.”
Virginia Tech-bound Seth Dooley plowed ahead to the 2-yard line on second down but Devonte McKinney and Dante Ravenell sacked quarterback Jacob Mabry at the 10 on fourth down to end the possession.
Galax’s overtime possession netted three yards on three Jacob Fisher carries before Brady came on for the game-winner. His line drive boot squeaked just inside the left upright, sending Galax home with a 1-0 record.
“That’s not how I envisioned it going through,” said Dixon, “but we work on that every day, live. Just get it through somehow.”
Glenvar snapped a 7-7 tie with its opening series of the second half, driving 70 yards in 10 plays. Mabry plucked a bobbled shotgun snap out of the air and darted in from four yards out on fourth down, and Haynie’s PAT had Glenvar on top 14-7.
Galax answered quickly enough, with Steven Peoples ripping off gains of 11, 17 and 20 yards on consecutive carries.
The Tide stalled at the 33 before Fisher snagged a 22-yard Austin Pack toss on fourth-and-11. Three plays later Jordan Vaughan sprinted in from six yards away and Brady’s kick knotted the game at 14 with 2:53 left in the third period.
Galax would advance as far as the Highlander 8-yard line midway through the fourth period but Mabry ended the threat with a diving interception in the end zone.
“Austin made some plays, he’s just getting used to it,” Dixon said of Pack, who missed some preseason reps while recovering from some offseason work on a knee. “We had a nice play called down there, it was a one-receiver route and it’s either him our out the back of the end zone. That’s some of the stuff hell grow into.”
Galax’s Donte Peoples rambled into the end zone from 28 yards out with less than three minutes remaining, but a holding call nullified the play.
“It’s just sloppy. The penalties are just sloppy,” said Dixon, whose Tide incurred five penalties in the second half alone.
Following an uneventful first quarter, Galax took the first lead when a turnover set up a 40-yard Pack-to-Deion George touchdown reception.
Glenvar responded with a lengthy drive to just outside the Maroon Tide 10, from where Haynie made a leaping catch in traffic in the end zone on a fourth-and-10 play, leveling the score at 7-7 with 1:54 left in the half.
Pack steered Galax back down the field by completing six straight passes, including a 35-yard toss to Fisher that appeared to go for a touchdown just before the half. Fisher was ruled to have stepped out at the 18, and the drive ended with a missed 37-yard field goal attempt.
Galax..........0 7 7 0 3––17
Glenvar......0 7 7 0 0––14
Gal – George 40 pass from Pack (Brady kick)
Glen – Haynie 12 pass from Mabry (Haynie kick)
Glen – Mabry 4 run (Haynie kick)
Gal – Vaughan 6 run (Brady kick)
Gal – Brady 24 FG