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On a date like 11/11/11, there was no way a 1 was going down.
Top-seeded Galax opened its postseason in dominant fashion and thoroughly dismantled No. 16 Holston, thumping the youthful Cavaliers 64-7 in the opening round of the Western Section Division 1 playoffs Friday at Galax High School
The Maroon Tide advances to this week’s second round, where it will host No. 8 Castlewood (8-3), a 38-24 winner over Rye Cove.
For a team that carried a 10-0 record into the playoffs and had taken the field in front of about 5,000 spectators a week earlier, the Maroon Tide’s playoff opener had anything but a postseason feel to it.
“There was no atmosphere,” Galax coach Mark Dixon said. “To be honest with you I wish there had been more people out here tonight. That was a little disappointing. I think our kids sensed it, so hopefully our crowds will pick up. We’ll have to pick up and get enthusiastic.”
The game’s opening kickoff summed up the evening for the Maroon Tide – not sharp, but far too athletic for Holston to have any chance. Deion George bobbled the kick, dribbled the ball around and finally got the handle on it, then raced 82 yards to the Holston 8-yard line. Jordan Vaughan bowled over a Holston cornerback at the goal line on the Tide’s first snap, and it was as close as the Cavaliers would be the rest of the night. The first of seven Eli Brady PATs had Galax in front by seven just 25 seconds into the game.
Holston’s best drive was its first as Dakota Barlow picked up 37 yards on the Cavaliers’ first play of the night. Holston drove as far as the Galax 22 before missing a 37-yard field goal.
The Maroon Tide scored on its first five possessions and found the end zone twice on its sixth, though neither counted. Jacob Fisher brought down a high, arcing toss from Austin Pack for a 22-yard score and a 14-0 lead with 1:58 left in the first period, and Holston’s next possession ended with a fumble recovery by Colton Turbyfill at the Cavalier 42. Three plays later, Donte Peoples rumbled in from 21 yards out, breaking a tackle every 5 yards, for a 21-0 gap three seconds before the end of the first quarter.
“They are about as fundamentally sound as anybody we’ve played all year,” Holston coach Jason Matlock said. “They’ve got that senior leadership, you can tell they’ve been in the weight room, they just work together so well.”
A three-and-out by Holston set up a three-and-in by the Tide. Taking over at its own 40, Galax was in the end zone three plays later as Donte Peoples ripped off a 52-yard gain to the 1 and Steven Peoples carried in from there.
Steven Peoples took a draw play 26 yards for a touchdown on Galax’s next series for a 34-0 lead before Holston managed its first stop.
Galax’s first two plays of the fruitless series were touchdowns of 45 and 40 yards, both waved off by penalty. The Tide was stopped on downs at the Holston 30, but Dante Ravenell’s interception put Galax back in business two plays later at the Tide 46. Steven Peoples snagged a short Pack pass and wove his way through the secondary on a 45-yard scoring play 13 seconds before the half for a 41-0 lead at the break.
With no continuous clock in playoff games, the onslaught continued after intermissions. Donte Peoples broke three tackles and dragged two Holston defenders the final five yards on a 33-yard touchdown run and Brady booted a 21-yard field goal late in the third period to push the lead to 51-0.
Ravenell’s second takeaway of the night, a fumble recovery at the Holston 1, set up a Joey Dixon score from the 3 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Holston got on the board on the ensuing kickoff when Barlow raced 90 yards for a touchdown and a 57-7 score, but eight straight Dixon carries put the Tide back in the end zone. Dixon scored from the 3 with 6:06 left for the final margin.
Galax amassed 401 of its 551 yards on the ground and had three backs rush for more than 100 yards, led by Donte Peoples with 131 yards on seven attempts. Dixon carried 17 times for 121 yards, all in the second half, while Steven Peoples added 116 yards on nine rushes, plus 52 yards on two receptions.
Pack was an efficient 10-of-15 for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Barlow had 82 yards on 15 carries for the Cavaliers, who were held to 123 yards of offense.
Despite the offensive numbers, Dixon left the field with a look of concern.
“We’re just not sharp, especially on the offensive line,” he said. “I can’t put my finger on it, we’re just not sharp as we need to be. I look out there and it’s just not right.”
Holston..........0 0 0 7–– 7
Galax...........21 20 10 13––64
Gx–Vaughan 8 run (Brady kick) 11:35
Gx–Fisher 15 pass from Pack (Brady kick) 1:58
Gx–D.Peoples 21 run (Brady kick) 0:03
Gx–S.Peoples 1 run (kick failed) 8:24
Gx–S.Peoples 26 run (Brady kick) 5:26
Gx–S.Peoples 45 pass from Pack (Brady kick) 0:13
Gx–D.Peoples 33 run (Brady kick) 4:33
Gx–Brady 21 FG, 1:47
Gx–J.Dixon 3 run (kick failed) 11:54
H–Barlow 90 kickoff return (Miller kick) 11:36
Gx–J.Dixon 3 run (Brady kick) 6:06
First downs 6 23
Rushes-yards 28-75 41-401
Yards passing 34 150
Comp-Att-Int 5-12-2 10-15-0
Return yards 203 108
Punts-average 5-36.0 0-0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 2-7 2-15
RUSHING—Holston, Barlow 15-82, Milhorne 8-12, Cannon 1-1, Ashley 1-(-1), Thomas 2-(-7), Lowe 1-(-12). Galax, D.Peoples 7-131, J.Dixon 17-121, S.Peoples 9-116, Vaughan 5-29, Fisher 1-8, team 2-(-4).
PASSING–Holston, Thomas 5-12-2-34. Galax, Pack 10-15-0-150.
RECEIVING–Holston, Wampler 1-18, Applegate 3-17, Anderson 1-0, Barlow 0-(-1). Galax, S.Peoples 2-52, Fisher 3-28, Adams 2-26, Shalabi 1-23, D.Sizemore 2-21.