Maroon Tide heads to high country

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Galax seeks first 5-0 start since 1984.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Galax football coach Mark Dixon has seen his team successfully navigate its way through some name-recognition schools. He did his best this week to make sure there was no plunge in the intensity level leading up to Friday.

Having notched wins over Glenvar, Floyd County, Eastern Montgomery and most recently Radford, Dixon could foresee a possible letdown with Craig County on the horizon.

“I’m sure we’ve got some kids who are thinking that we’ve gotten through a lot and now we can take a break,” he said before Monday’s practice. “We’ll try to express to them in a couple of minutes that we need to take this seriously.”

Looking for its best start since 1984, the Maroon Tide will make the lengthy trip to New Castle tonight for a nondistrict meeting with the Rockets. All Dixon needs to do is show some footage of the only two meetings between the schools – a tight 13-0 Tide win two years ago and a come-from-behind 30-21 victory last year.

“They gave us all we could handle and then some,” Dixon said of the 2010 contest, in which Craig County held a 13-10 lead midway through the third quarter. “They were physical.”

A film junkie, Dixon has no video of this year’s Craig County team.

“I love to have film,” he said. “I love to dive into it, so I really feel unprepared. I don’t know if I can give the information to the kids that I need to.”

The Maroon Tide is coming off one of its biggest wins in several years, a 43-0 shelling of Radford in which Galax took a 30-0 lead into the half. Despite the lopsided win, Dixon found enough in breaking down that game to fuel any waning enthusiasm he may have encountered this week.

“Enough that went wrong in the Radford game and there were enough who lost their matchups that there will be some fighting for playing time,” he said.

It may have been that way anyhow. Steadily bouncing back from an early-season string of injuries on the line, Galax has filled one void after another until, as those injuries have healed, the team has found it has created depth by necessity. Linemen Darius Brown and Tyler Newman will both be available tonight, but Kenley Adams has filled the void at center well enough to earn the starting job. Dixon said Adams had the best night among the linemen in the Radford win.

The domino effect will make converted tackle Jesse Davis available again at tight end, freeing up Frankie Shalabi for a return to the H position, but Darian Sizemore has played his way into the mix at H.

“He’s been lights-out,” Dixon said of Sizemore. “He needs to be in the game.”

Not that Shalabi is in danger of sitting anytime soon.

“Everybody talks about Jordan [Vaughan] and Steven and Donte [Peoples] and Deion George, but when I talk to other coaches before a game, they always talk about 45,” said Dixon. “They know they are going to have to deal with him.”

While Galax’s win over Radford last week was impressive in and of itself, what stood out was the performance of the Tide defense, which surrendered a 41-yard run on the first play of the game, then allowed just 79 yards the remainder of the night.

“They are starting to see the game. They’ve spent so much time looking in the backfield, and we’ve got guys now who 90 percent of the time will not look in the backfield,” said Dixon, whose scout offense runs opposing teams’ plays without a football. “They learn the other team’s blocking schemes. Radford a couple of times went motion one way and snuck the ball back the other way, and the people responsible for being there never took a step away from where they were supposed to be, and they hit it in the backfield.”




Galax (4-0) at Craig County (2-2)

Friday, 7:30  p.m.


Last week

Galax defeated Radford 43-0

Craig County lost to Roanoke Catholic 19-0

Last meeting

2010–Galax won 30-21

Last Craig County win

The Rockets are 0-2 in the series

Common opponents

None to date


The season

Galax                                   Craig County

D Glenvar 17-14 OT    8/26    D Auburn 41-6

D Floyd Co. 37-21       9/2    L to E.Hardy, WV 44-21

D EastMont 56-12       9/9    D Narrows 28-19

D Radford 43-0            9/16    L to Roanoke Cath. 19-0

at Craig County           9/23    Galax

Open                          9/30    Open

Fort Chiswell              10/7    Parry McCluer

at Graham                 10/14    at Montcalm, W.Va.

Narrows                    10/21    at Bath County

at Bland County        10/28    Covington

at Grayson County     11/4    at James River


The series

2009–Galax 13-0

2010–Galax 30-21



Galax leads 2-0