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INDEPENDENCE –– It’s a screwy kind of year in Region C.
To wit: Grayson County’s 3-0 start to the season was wrecked by a sound 27-7 defeat at the hands of Glenvar, which itself saw a 4-0 start ruined a week later by winless Rural Retreat, a team that was clobbered 55-20 two weeks prior by Grayson County, the same Grayson County that lost a close one to Galax, who lost a close one to Fort Chiswell, who was hammered pretty hard, 35-7, by Chilhowie, a team that lost by four touchdowns to Grayson County.
George Wythe is in a strong position to win the Hogoheegee District title over Chilhowie, despite the fact that Wythe is a full five positions behind the Warriors in the region's Division 2 standings.
Far and away the best team in the region right now is little ol’ Eastern Montgomery, a Division 1 neo-juggernaut that, if the playoffs started today, has a strong enough VHSL rating to get a first-round home playoff game. In Region IV.
As a very murky playoff picture slowly begins to clear, Grayson County opens the homestretch of its season on the outside looking in after four straight losses, but the Blue Devils still are within sight of a D2 playoff berth, thanks to the expanded format that now sends six teams to the postseason.
Grayson will try to improve upon its ninth-place region standing tonight when the Blue Devils (3-4 overall, 0-1 district) host Bland County (2-6, 0-2) in a Mountain Empire District game at Bill Strong Field. The contest is Grayson’s homecoming.
“There are some scenarios where a 6-4 record will get you in,” said Brett McPherson, the Blue Devils’ coach. “There’s a shot. Is James River going to win the Pioneer? Radford has the Carter kid out, Glenvar has three straight losses and they still have Radford, Floyd and EastMont to play, so you don’t know how it’s going to play out.”
Grayson still has plenty to play for, including a share of the MED title should the Devils win out, which would mean a pair of three-game win streaks sandwiched around its current 0-4 slide.
“It’s been a tough stretch, but we just haven’t played well,” McPherson said. “We’ve turned the ball over more, we haven’t been flying around on defense like we have, and I don’t think we played with a lot of passion against Galax. Hopefully we’ll be a little bit hungry Friday.”
As should be the Bears. After an opening-night 34-14 win over PH-Glade Spring, Bland County scored six points in a four-game string of losses and enters the contest at 2-6, 0-2 in the district.
“Coach [Harris] Hart does a good job,” McPherson said. “They’re going to do what they do. They’ll get in that wing-T and run the trap and the belly and the belly keep, and they’ll run that 50 defense. They’ll be disciplined and they’ll play hard, and I imagine they’ll try to run the football and keep us of the field.”
That has been the theme in Grayson’s slide.
“Starting with Glenvar,” McPherson said. “We couldn’t get them off the field, Galax controlled the football against us and Carroll did in the second half. People are using the formula of keeping the football away from us and not letting us get into any kind of rhythm.”
Bland County (2-6, 0-2) at Grayson County (3-4, 0-1)
Friday, 7:30, Bill Strong Field
Bland County lost to Narrows 20-13
Grayson County was idle
2009 – Grayson County won 7-6
Last Bland County win
None to date
1992–Grayson Co. 56-3
1993–Grayson Co. 22-7
1994–Bland Co. 14-13
1995–Grayson Co. 7-0
1996–Grayson Co. 27-6
1997–#Grayson Co. 45-0
1998–Grayson Co. 66-24
1999–Grayson Co. 39-6
2000–Grayson Co. 55-6
2001–Grayson Co. 33-12
2002–Grayson Co. 27-16
2003–Grayson Co. 48-20
2004–Grayson Co. 49-8
2005–Grayson Co. 41-6
2006–Grayson Co. 35-13
2007–Grayson Co. 36-19
2008–Bland Co. 29-14
2009–Grayson Co. 7-6
# win forfeited due to ineligible player
Grayson County leads 15-3
Bland County Grayson County
D Patrick Henry 34-14 8/27 D Alleghany NC 36-14
L to Craig Co. 37-0 9/3 D Chilhowie 48-22
L to Covington 38-20 9/10 D Rural Retreat 55-20
L to Holston 14-6 9/17 L to Glenvar 27-7
L to EastMont 42-0 9/24 L to Carroll Co. 36-35 OT
D Northwood 21-0 10/1 L to Radford 43-6
L to Ft. Chiswell 35-7 10/8 L to Galax 23-14
L to Narrows 20-13 10/15 Open
at Grayson Co. 10/22 Bland County
Galax 10/29 at Narrows
Open 11/3 at Fort Chiswell