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Just like a year ago, a 14-0 Galax lead was followed by a scoring frenzy in a game with Radford. This time, though, it wasn’t the Bobcats pouring points onto the scoreboard.
Having let go of a 14-0 lead before halftime in a 27-21 loss last year, the Maroon Tide tacked on three scores in the final 3:07 of the first half to forge a 30-point lead, and Galax went on to demolish Radford 43-0 in a nondistrict game Friday night.
The Maroon Tide improved to 4-0 on the year, with all four wins coming at the expense of the Three Rivers District.
“It’s just a testament to how hard the kids worked all week,” Galax coach Mark Dixon said. “They were really sharp tonight. The sharpest we’ve been. But like I told you earlier, it’s only one win and we’ve got to move on.”
Ahead by two touchdowns, Galax took over on its own 13 following a Radford punt and drove 87 yards in just eight plays, with Austin Pack hitting Deion George in stride for a 40-yard touchdown reception. Eli Brady’s PAT put the Maroon Tide in front 21-0 with 3:07 left in the first half.
Plenty of time, it turned out, to pad the lead.
William Minter coughed up the ball on the ensuing kickoff, and Jacob Fisher scooped it up and weaved his way 32 yards into the end zone with 2:54 left in the half. The PAT attempt never got off the ground, but the Tide was ahead 27-0.
Five plays into Radford’s subsequent possession, Galax’s Frankie Shalabi picked off a Hunter Marshall pass and rambled 33 yards into the end zone. The play was nullified with a block in the back penalty, but the Maroon Tide was able to salvage a 24-yard Brady field goal with 13 ticks left in the first half for a 30-0 lead at intermission.
Galax had taken a 14-0 lead in the first quarter by scoring on its first two possessions. George was somehow left all alone behind the Bobcat secondary, and Pack hit his man for a 55-yard score and a 7-0 lead just 5:33 into the game.
Following a three-and-out by Radford, George’s 26-yard punt return set up the Maroon Tide at the Bobcat 36. Jordan Vaughan carried five times to within inches of the goal line, and the Galax offensive line made a strong push on fourth-and-goal, allowing Pack to lunge over for a TD and a 14-0 led.
Radford’s Corey Dark picked up 41 yards on the fist snap of the night, after which the Bobcats were limited to another 41 yards and a first down the rest of the half. The Maroon Tide defense had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, returned a fumble for a score and picked off both of Radford’s first-half pass attempts.
Fisher’s 32-yard punt return to the Radford 35 early in the third quarter again gave Galax a short field with which to work, and Vaughan carried five times from there, including a three-yard burst up the middle for a 37-0 lead with 6:41 left in the period.
Getting to a 35-point margin and a continuous clock may have been the only thing all night that allowed Dixon to breathe a little easier.
“I know how explosive [Radford is], even when it was 21-0, remembering last year, and I just wanted to get the lead to 35 because I still thought they were capable of coming back. They’ve got a great team, but it was a good night for us.”
Set up by a Devonte McKinney interception at the Galax 30, Maroon Tide brothers Donte and Steven Peoples teamed up for Galax’s final touchdown, each carrying three times on a six-play drive. Donte Peoples did the honors, racing in from 32 yards away. A bad snap foiled the extra point, but the Tide still led 43-0 with 3:42 remaining.
Galax finished with 314 yards of total offense. Vaughan (16 carries, 85 yards), Steven Peoples (11 for 63) and Donte Peoples (3-45) led the way in the Tide’s 197-yard rushing effort. Pack completed 5-of-9 for 117 yards, including four tosses to George for 100 yards.
Radford managed two rushing yards after halftime and finished with 81 yards on the ground, getting 41 of that on its first play.
“The kids read their keys well and understood what we’re trying to do,” Dixon said, “and we’re getting a little better each weak at understanding how to put in a game plan and what we’re trying to accomplish in it, so we’re all growing and learning together exactly how to game plan.”
Galax’s win snapped a 12-game slide against the Bobcats dating back to the Maroon Tide’s most recent win, in 1981.
Galax will travel to Craig County to wrap up its nondistrict schedule this week.
Radford.......0 0 0 0–– 0
Galax........14 16 7 6––43
Gx–George 5 pass from Pack (Brady kick) 6:27
Gx–Pack 1 run (Brady kick) 0:57
Gx–George 40 pass from Pack (Brady kick) 3:07
Gx–Fisher 32 fumble return (run failed) 2:45
Gx–Brady 24 FG, 0:13
Gx–Vaughan 3 run (Brady kick) 6:41
Gx D.Peoples 32 run (run failed) 3:42
First downs 4 11
Rushes-yards 33-84 33-197
Yards passing 36 109
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-2 5-9-0
Return yards 137 146
Punts-average 3-35.0 2-16.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-33 4-30
RUSHING—Radford, Dark 8-40, Marshall 6-19, Griffits 6-16, Minter 4-11, Jordan 4-8, Wright 1-1, Hobbs 1-(-2), Devore 3-(-9). Galax, Vaughan 16-85, S.Peoples 11-63, D.Peoples 3-45, Pack 3-4.
PASSING–Radford, Marshall 3-6-2-36. Galax, Pack 5-9-0-117.
RECEIVING–Radford, Devore 3-26. Galax, George 4-100, Fisher 1-17.