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SALEM –– After combining for 957 multi-purpose yards, a dozen touchdowns, 83 points and more momentum swings than could be kept up with, the difference was one misplaced footstep.
An anticlimactic two-point conversion attempt left a valiant Galax comeback one point short and the Maroon Tide opened its 2013 season with a 42-41 loss Friday to Glenvar at Highlander Stadium.
Glenvar (1-0) scored four unanswered touchdowns at one point to lead 35-21 before Galax (0-1) rallied. With top runningback Steven Peoples on the sideline with a possible head injury, Galax turned to Joseph Dixon, and Dixon responded with the game of his life, starting with a 77-yard run on the last play of the third quarter. Jonathen Reyna’s PAT pulled the Tide to within 35-28 with a quarter to play.
Glenvar held that lead as the clock dwindled down to less than four minutes remaining when Galax’s Charles Harris picked off a Levi Mullins pass and returned it 30 yards for a tying touchdown.
Glenvar responded by driving 70 yards in four plays, taking advantage of a Galax personal foul along the way, and surging back in front with Mullins’ 38-yard toss to Jeremy Martin for a 42-35 lead with just 1:54 to go.
That was plenty of time, it turned out, for Galax to make it exciting. Five plays into its ensuing possession, Dixon broke free on a draw play and raced 48 yards for a touchdown with 35 seconds left. Feeling his team was running on fumes by that point, Dixon elected to go for two, but upon taking the snap, quarterback Carson Orton had his foot stepped by a Galax lineman and hit the turf.
“I just thought we were out of gas, but I shouldn’t have because we fought back,” Galax coach Mark Dixon said. “But we didn’t have anybody left. The kids were cramping, they were hurting, and we just weren’t stopping them. They were starting to grind on us on the ground, and our bigs were getting knocked back.”
The Maroon Tide recovered an onside kick and moved to as close as the Glenvar 30, which would have put Reyna on the fringe of his field goal range, but a run for minus-five yards and a seven-yard sack put the Tide out range.
Glenvar’s Tyler Smith capped a 99-yard Highlander drive by bulling in from the 4 for a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, but Galax responded with three scores in the first 5:10 of the second to lead 21-7. Steven Peoples broke a 67-yard run and returned a punt 62 yards for a TD, and Dixon ran in from 32 yards out for the Tide.
But Galax gave up a 45-yard Mullins-to-Remington Stanley scoring pass just before the half, the first of four unanswered Highlander touchdowns.
“The things that frustrate me are the penalties, giving up a 99-yard drive when we jump offsides three times, the fumbles in the backfield, that’s just a lack of attention to detail, but it’s stuff I think we can clean up,” Dixon said. “But this is a young team. A very young team. And I’m proud of them. I wanted to see if they would lay down or fight, and they fought.”
Galax finished with 441 yards of offense, 376 on the ground. Dixon ran 14 times for 223 yards and Peoples carried 15 times for 152 yards before leaving the game late in the third quarter.
“Joseph is just a stud,” Dixon said. “Steven got dinged a little bit and I just wanted to be on the safe side with him, but Joseph stepped in and did a great job. He’s a heck of a runner. I think everybody saw that.”
Mullins hit 12-of-20 passes for 187 yards as Glenvar gained 278 yards of offense. All three Glenvar scoring drives in the third quarter started in Galax territory, including two inside the 25.
“In the second half we were just snakebit,” said Dixon. “We started giving up some long runs on a short field, and we work on so many other things that I just didn’t have us in good shape. That showed up. Their kids were in better shape, and that cost us.”
Galax 0 21 7 13––41
Glenvar 7 7 21 7––42
Gl–Smith 4 run (Thompson kick) 0:25
Gx–Peoples 67 run (Reyna kick) 11:49
Gx–Peoples 62 punt return (Reyna kick) 9:59
Gx–Dixon 32 run (Reyna kick) 6:50
Gl–Stanley 45 pass from Mullins (Thompson kick) 1:10
Gl–Smith 5 run (kick failed) 6:50
Gl–Smith 16 run (Stanley pass from Mullins) 5:38
Gl–Smith 24 run (Thompson kick) 0:23
Gx–Dixon 77 run (Reyna kick) 0:03
Gx–Harris 30 interception return (Reyna kick) 3:29
Gl–Martin 38 pass from Mullins (Thompson kick) 1:54
Gx–Dixon 48 run (run failed) 0:35
First downs 13 16
Rushes-yards 38-376 33-91
Yards passing 65 187
Comp-Att-Int 5-12-1 12-20-1
Return yards 100 138
Punts-average 5-26.2 6-37.8
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 8-60 0-0
RUSHING—Galax, Dixon 14-223, Peoples 15-152, Harris 6-19, Orton 1-(-7), K.Brown 2-(-11). Glenvar, Smith 22-86, Martin 1-17, Muse 2-4, Mullins 8-(-16).
PASSING–Galax, Orton 4-8-0-57, K.Brown 1-4-1-8. Glenvar, Mullins 12-20-1-187.
RECEIVING–Galax, Isom 2-39, D.Brown 1-9, Dixon 1-9, Peoples 1-8. Glenvar, Martin 5-82, Stanley 4-70, Shaffer 2-25, Carmichael 1-10.