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It seems pretty simple on the outside. Plug a kid into the runningback spot and presto, instant 100-yard rusher.
Jordan Vaughan made a habit of topping 100 yards until being felled by a foot injury in Galax’s fifth game of the season. Enter Jacob Fisher, who had no carries before he rushed for 159 yards against Grayson County in his first outing as Vaughan’s replacement.
Fisher injured a hand Friday at Covington, giving way to freshman Steven Peoples, who responded with 109 yards in his first true backfield action of the year.
All along the way, Jerad Brown has run for more than 250 yards in sporadic backfield duty.
The one constant through it all has been Galax’s guys up front.
“They’re pretty good,” said their coach, Mark Dixon, immersed in preparation for a Mountain Empire District game tonight against Bland County. “We’re always smaller but we’re pretty good up front.”
One big reason for that has been continuity. Tackles Kurry Thomas and Woody Dixon, guards Alex Larrowe and Colton Turbyfill, center Darius Brown and tight end Zach Testerman have as a unit stayed healthy, and therefore are getting to the point of being a single entity instead of six guys blocking.
“They know what the guy next to them is going to do,” Dixon said. “You’re a whole lot better when you don’t walk up to the line and start making line calls. A great line talks less and less because they all see the same thing, and they’re getting to that point.”
Galax’s improvement also shows up in the numbers put up by quarterback Terrance Mazon, who has thrown just three interceptions in 124 attempts through eight games.
“We don’t have a lot of pressure,” Dixon said. “The way we line up you’ll never be able to bring more than eight and still cover, and we’ll always be able to block eight. It’s math.”
Galax (5-3 overall, 1-1 district) hopes to continue putting up big numbers as they host the Bears (2-7, 0-3), who are coming off a 48-7 loss last week at Grayson County. Bland surrendered nearly 500 yards of offense to the Blue Devils but can’t be taken lightly, Dixon said.
“They can run the ball,” he said. “They’ve got some big guys on the right side of the line who can block.”
Bland put together a pair of impressive second-half drives against the Devils, rattling off 14 plays before being stopped on downs at the 10, then coming back with another 14-play series that produced a touchdown.
Quarterback Dylan Kidd rushed for 88 yards and Ethan Stowers added 69 more for Bland, which had 205 yards on the ground.
Galax is coming off a 34-6 win at Covington and is hitting its stride defensively.
“We’re starting to understand things better,” said Dixon. “We play a little different than they’re used to. You have to fit up where you belong and sometimes that’s against your instinct. Seems like I should fly to the ball, but we don’t teach that. But they’re starting to see why we do it that way. We had probably the best execution that we’ve had last week. Really the last three games. Even Fort Chiswell, we executed. I’m really excited where we are defensively.”
Bland County (2-7, 0-3) at Galax (5-3, 1-1)
Friday, 7:30, Galax High School
Radio: WWWJ 1360AM
Narrows lost to Grayson County 48-7
Galax defeated Covington 34-6
2009 (Galax won 20-6)
Last Bland County win
2008 ( 19-8)
lost to Bland County 21-0 Oct. 1
lost to Galax 45-0 Sept. 27
defeated Bland County 42-0 Sept. 24
defeated Galax 38-26 Sept. 10
defeated Bland County 37-0 Sept. 3
lost to Galax 30-21 Sept. 24
defeated Bland County 48-7 last week
lost to Galax 23-14 Oct. 8
defeated Bland County 35-7 Oct. 8
defeated Galax 20-16 Oct. 15
defeated Bland County 38-0 Sept. 10
lost to Galax 34-6 last week
Bland County Galax
D PH-Glade Spring 34-14 8/27 D Northwood 45-0
L to Craig County 37-0 9/3 D Alleghany NC 35-0
L to Covington 38-0 9/10 L to EastMont 38-26
L to Holston 14-6 9/17 L to Radford 27-21
L to EastMont 42-0 9/24 D Craig County 30-21
D Northwood 21-0 10/1 Open
L to Ft. Chiswell 35-7 10/8 D Grayson Co. 23-14
L to Narrows 20-13 10/15 L to Ft. Chiswell 20-16
L to Grayson Co. 48-7 10/22 D Covington 34-6
at Galax 10/29 Bland County
Open 11/3 at Narrows
1994–Bland County 14-10
1995–Bland County 53-14
1996–Bland County 27-8
2001–Bland County 36-12
2003–Bland County 28-13
2005–Bland County 44-30
2008–Bland County 19-8
Galax leads 11-7