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Ground game chews up Rockets

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Galax attempted no passes while rolling up 358 yards on the ground in a 48-23 win.

By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

Galax scored on every possession Friday night with its powerful running game en route to a 48-23 non-district win over Craig County on Homecoming.

The Tide (4-1) ran only 29 offensive plays—all of which were on the ground—but managed a season high 48 points to collect their fourth straight win over Craig County (3-2) and third straight win of the season.

The Peoples brothers once again shined, as big brother Donte Peoples needed only five carries to rack up 156 yards and two touchdowns.

Younger brother Steven Peoples ran for 147 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns Tide sophomore Joseph Dixon added another 76 yards and two touchdowns on six carries of his own.

Galax didn’t attempt a pass the entire night and simply ran through, over and around the Rockets defense. After holding Craig County’s offense on its opening drive, the Maroon Tide offense took over on the Rockets’ 34-yard-line following a shanked 13-yard punt.

On its first play from scrimmage Galax quarterback Chris Poole pitched the ball back to Donte Peoples, who scampered 34 yards untouched to the end zone for his first score of the night.

The Rockets offense failed to lift off again on its next possession and after managing just one first down, quarterback Cody Dunbar was rushed in the pocket and picked off by Donte Peoples on a third and long.

The interception gave Galax the ball inside Rocket territory yet again—this time from the 49-yard-line.

Steven Peoples pounded the ball on seven of the next nine plays and managed to cross the goal line from one yard out with 2:34 left in the first quarter.

Following the kick by Eli Brady, the Tide led 13-0.

Craig County managed to move into Galax territory on its ensuing possession, but ran out of steam at the Galax 35-yard-line and punted the ball away. A beautiful punt by Jefferson Lee pinned the Tide at its own two-yard-line, but the celebration was short lived.

On Galax’s first play, Donte Peoples again found a wide open field on the right side of the line and pulled away from the nearest defender by at least 20 yards on his way to a 98-yard touchdown—his second of the evening.

Following Brady’s kick, the Tide led 20-0 with 9:37 left in the half.

Another three-and-out followed by a 12-yard punt and Galax once again took over the ball deep in Rocket territory.

Starting on the Craig County 37-yard-line, Galax continued to pound the ball on the ground with six straight runs.

Steven Peoples capped the drive yet again, taking the ball from the 11-yard-line and juking a few Rocket defenders nearly out of their shoes as he crossed the goal line untouched yet again. Brady’s extra point stretched the Tide lead to 27-0 with 5:05 left in the half.

Craig County managed to move the ball on its next drive again before being halted at the Galax 25-yard-line.

From there Lee nailed a 42-yard field goal as time appeared to expire on the half.

The referees spent several minutes debating on how much time was left on the clock and eventually settled on 7.4 seconds—enraging the Craig County coaching staff which insisted the clock ran out as the ball went through the uprights.

The Rockets had reason to worry, as the extra time on the clock nearly lead to yet another Tide touchdown.

Taking the ball from his own 13-yard-line, Donte Peoples found a gap in the Rockets kick coverage and busted wide open for what would have been an 87-yard touchdown return. Galax was flagged for an illegal block in the back, however and the Tide took its 24-point lead into the half.

The third quarter went similar to the first two, as Galax continued to push around the Rockets defense. On its first possession of the second half, the Tide needed just two plays to go 61 yards for another S. Peoples touchdown. Peoples appeared to be running towards the sideline before cutting back in near the 20-yard line and sending three Rocket defenders to the sideline on his way to his third touchdown of the evening.

Craig County failed to convert on a fourth-and-13 on its next possession and turned the ball over to Galax with 8:45 left in the third quarter. Donte and Steven Peoples each got one carry on the drive before heading to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.

The running game didn’t miss a beat, however, as Charles Harris and Joseph Dixon picked up where the Peoples’ brothers left off. Harris carried twice, moving the ball to the Craig County 25-yard line and Dixon capped the drive with three straight runs up the middle.

Brady’s kick extended the Tide’s lead to 41-3 and the clock began to run continuously per Virginia High School League rules.

Opting to rest starters and get some back-ups valuable game time, Galax took the field on the next drive with its second string defense. The Tide defense managed to hold the Rockets offense on a long fourth and 11 before a questionable pass interference call extended the drive deep into Maroon Tide territory.

Craig County took advantage of back-to-back penalties by the young Tide defenders and found the endzone when Matt Ouellette busted up the middle of the Galax defense with 11:26 left in the game.

Galax managed to recover an attempted onside kick and took over on its own 49-yard-line with 11:24 left on the clock.

Dixon needed just two runs, as he broke tackles left and right on his way to a 31-yard run, followed by a 20-yard touchdown run with 11:03 left in the game. Brady’s kick extended the lead back to 48-11.

Craig County managed to score on its next possession when Dunbar broke free from two Tide defenders behind the line of scrimmage and turned what was going to be a five-yard loss into a 21-yard touchdown run. Following a successful onside kick, the Rockets moved the ball effortlessly again and Dunbar found Matt Bryant in the corner of the end zone with six seconds left on the clock.

The Tide averaged 13.4 yards per carry, snapping the ball only 29 times.

With the win, Galax finished its non-district schedule with a 4-1 record heading into district play following a bye week next Friday night.

 

 

Craig County..........0    3    0  20––23

Galax...................13  14  14    7––48

 

First quarter

G–D.Peoples 34 run (kick failed) 9:37

G–S.Peoples 1 run (Brady kick) 2:34

Third quarter

G–D.Peoples 98 run (Brady kick), 10:11

G–S.Peoples 11 run (Brady kick) 5:05

CC–Lee 42 FG, 0:07

Third quarter

Gx–S.Peoples 43 run (Brady kick) 11:29

Gx–Dixon 20 run (Brady kick) 6:04

Fourth quarter

CC–Oulette 5 run (Dunbar run) 11:26

Gx–Dixon 20 run (Brady kick) 11:03

CC–Dunbar 21 run (run failed) 2:42

CC–Bryant 25 pass from Dunbar (kick failed) 0:06

 _______________________________

                                   G  CC

First downs                16  15

Rushes-yards      29-388  36-166

Yards passing               0  178

Comp-Att-Int         0-0-0  11-17-1

Return yards               71  77

Punts-average           0-0  3-13.0

Fumbles-lost             0-0  4-0

Penalties-yards        3-35  6-30

 _______________________________

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Craig County, Dunbar 16-71, Gunter 11-62, Smith 6-20, Oulette 3-13. Glax, D.Peoples 5-156, S.Peoples 16-147, Dixon 6-76, Harris 2-9.

PASSING–Craig County, Dunbar 11-17-1-178. Galax, Poole 0-0-0-0.

RECEIVING–Craig County, Bryant 7-127, Towers 2-40, Smith 2-11. Galax none.