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Maroon Tide hangs on

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Grayson County cut a 20-point gap to six before the Maroon Tide regrouped for a crucial 23-14 win.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 Galax opened a 20-0 lead, weathered a Grayson County rally and finally held on for one of the biggest wins this program has seen in many a year, earning a 23-14 victory over the archrival Blue Devils in a key Mountain Empire District game Friday.

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“They made plays,” Galax coach Mark Dixon said. “The thing is they keep coming back. Grayson made a run at us there and we came back. We responded. I couldn’t be any prouder of them, because I know how good a football team Grayson County is.” 

Having given up two quick scores to see its 20-point lead melt to just six midway through the third quarter, and then punting the ball away after a three-and-out, a wounded Maroon Tide (4-2 overall, 1-0 MED) defense rose to the occasion, stopping the Blue Devils (3-4, 0-1) on three plays and taking over on the Grayson 43 following a 15-yard Juan Ruiz punt return and a personal foul penalty on Grayson.

A time-consuming 13-play drive ended with Miguel Lopez’s 30-yard field goal for a two-possession lead with just under five minutes to play.

“That was huge. That made it a two-score game,” Dixon said. “I debated it because he’d never kicked a field goal in his life, but I talked to [special teams coach Kent] Garrett, and he said, ‘Kick it.’ He hit it right through there.”

Jerad Brown then iced the win with a spectacular interception, dragging his feet in bounds while extending over the sideline to make a diving catch with 3:50 to play.

Turnovers were a thorn in Grayson’s side all night. The Blue Devils dropped the ball five times, losing three of them, including a giveaway on their first drive at the Maroon Tide 8.

“We’re just making too many bonehead plays,” said Grayson County coach Brett McPherson, whose team incurred three personal foul penalties on top of committing four turnovers. “That’s on me but it’s on them, too.”

Galax then fumbled on its first two snaps of the game, both inside the opponent’s 10, but was unharmed, and the teams traded punts before Galax took the lead for good.

Relying heavily on a third-string runningback with leading rusher Jordan Vaughan out with a broken foot, Galax handed the ball to Jacob Fisher, who carried four times for 41 yards on a 41-yard drive, breaking over left tackle for an 11-yard touchdown with 1:50 left in the first. An errant snap on the PAT left Galax up 6-0.

Grayson fumbled away its next drive and was then stopped on downs at the Galax 27, setting up a 73-yard drive by the Maroon Tide. Terrance Mazon hit Fisher out of the backfield for a 45-yard completion to the Devils’ 7-yard line, and Mazon scrambled in from the 6 three plays later. Lopez added the PAT for a 13-0 lead 38 seconds before the half.

Galax took the second half kickoff and raced 71 yards in seven plays, including a 48-yard Austin Pack reception, with Fisher going in from the 7 for a 20-0 lead 2:35 into the second half.

Stymied up to that point, Grayson made a game of it with successive scoring drives. Mikey Rodgers caught a 15-yard Ethan Hash toss and turned it into a 44-yard scoring play, with Mario Ruiz adding the point after at 7:56 of the third.

Xavier Rodriguez capped a 66-yard march on Grayson’s next series with a 14-yard scamper, trimming the lead to 20-14 with 4:46 left in the third. Rodriguez was held to 54 yards on 17 carries, which was key to Galax’s defensive game plan.

“Our D-line played great,” said Dixon. “We had to be able to hold up up front so we could cover outside, and we did. We didn’t have a lot of people in the box, but our four defensive linemen played physical and stopped the run.”

Grayson managed just 14 yards and two turnovers the rest of the night.

Fisher carried the load for Galax, rushing 23 times for 145 yards and the two scores.

“I don’t know what class he’s in, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll,” said Dixon. “If he’s not our best athlete he’s not far from it. He has the skills to run. I worried about him holding up because he’s a little small, but he’s the real deal.” 

“I give Galax a lot of credit,” said McPherson. “They had a good game plan and came out and ran the football on us, contained us, so I give them credit for playing well. But we couldn’t hold on to the football, had a bunch of personal fouls, just doing several things that really hurt us, and we just can’t play like that and expect to win.”

Mazon completed just 4-of-10 passes, but two went for big gainers as he finished with 117 yards through the air.

Hash was 12-for-22 for 171 yards for Grayson, with Rodgers catching six balls for 85 yards.

Galax travels to league leader Fort Chiswell (6-1, 1-0) Friday. 

 

Grayson County......0  0  14  0––14

Galax......................6  7   7   3––23

 

First quarter

Gal–Fisher 11 run (pass failed) 1:50

Second quarter

Gal–Mazon 6 run (Lopez kick) 0:38

Third quarter

Gal–Fisher 7 run (Lopez kick) 9:25

GC–Mk.Rodgers 44 pass from Hash (Ruiz kick) 7:56

GC–Rodriguez 14 run (Ruiz kick) 1:27

Fourth quarter

Gal–Lopez 30 FG, 4:42

 _______________________________

                                  GC     Gal

First downs                  17     13

Rushes-yards        33-109     43-185

Yards passing             171     117

Comp-Att-Int       12-22-1     4-10-0

Return yards                31     52

Punts-average       2-33.0     4-34.8

Fumbles-lost              5-3     3-0

Penalties-yards        4-50     11-92

 _______________________________

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Grayson County, Rodriguez 17-54, Hash 9-41, Anderson 6-16, Roberts 1-(-2). Galax, Fisher 23-145, Brown 10-22, Mazon 10-18.

PASSING–Grayson County, Hash 12-22-1-171. Galax, Mazon 4-10-0-117.

RECEIVING–Grayson County, Mk.Rodgers 6-85, Harvey 4-36, Mx.Rodgers 1-26, Anderson 1-24. Galax, Pack 1-48, Fisher 1-45, George 2-18, Shalabi 1-6.