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You kind of knew it was going to happen.
Weeks ago, especially after the night of Sept. 16, you just knew, because this season had that feel about it. You knew deep down inside that Grayson County and Galax would make it to their meeting with one another this Friday, both sporting 9-0 records, even if it took a miracle along the way.
You remember Sept. 16. Grayson County thoroughly dominated what has turned out to be a very good Clintwood team that night, while 15 miles away, Galax completely trashed a Radford team that hasn’t lost since (pending Saturday’s result).
Carroll County started with nine straight wins in 2003 and was 8-0 before losing a game in 1997. Galax and Grayson County have both finished the regular season at 9-1, twice, but in three of the four instances, a Week 1 loss was followed by the teams running the table. The result each of those three years was a 10-2 record and a region runner-up finish.
For either team to be 9-0 is really big. To have both teams undefeated in November is, well, really, really big. And whoever’s idea it was to put this game where it belongs, on the final week of the regular season, and especially to do so this year, should at least get an arm’s length worth of free tickets for the 50-50 drawing.
If you’re planning on going Friday – and if I know you, you are – you’d better plan on getting there early. Like, Wednesday. Get there early to avoid having to park at Rixey’s or somewhere near the New River bridge, but more importantly, get there early to soak in as much of this as is possible. Take a grill and burn some meat. I don’t know what the Independence fire codes are, but if it is illegal, they can’t cite every one of you for it.
Tailgate. Play some corney-hole. Get all you can out of this. And take a video camera. Because you may never see it again. I’ve been doing this since 1990 and it’s definitely a first for me.
I’ve heard folks from more than one school outside the area say that if both teams were 9-0, they’d be going. Plans have been in the works for some time on handling what is sure to be an overflow crowd.
As for the game itself, I’ve been asked at least couple of dozen times which team is better. Each team has had blowout wins over quality opponents. Each has had close calls. And as much as folks like to compare scores, it’s pointless. (If there was any validity to doing so, James Madison would have been playing in the Orange Bowl last year instead of Virginia Tech.) No way Galax would score 58 points in 14 minutes on Clintwood. Just like there’s no chance Grayson County would pound Fort Chiswell 52-0.
A lot of eyebrows were raised following Grayson’s providential one-point win over Fort Chiswell last week. Everyone points to Galax’s 52-point win over the Pioneers for a comparison, but at the time of the Grayson squeaker, Fort was 5-4 with losses to four teams that are currently a combined 32-1.
Galax had its own Fort Chiswell, but that one didn’t draw the doubters out because the Tide’s squeaker of a win over another 5-4 team, Glenvar, came in Week 1.
As for the Clintwood and Radford spankings, those things happen from time to time when you put 22 teenagers on a football field together.
There’s no need to answer the question of which is the better team. We’ll all find out in a few days. What I want to know is, how many hineys can be shoehorned into Bill Strong Field? My guess is that a $6 ticket will only get you a cheek and a half worth of seating area.