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INDEPENDENCE –– Galax learned first-hand one important fact about playing Radford, and that is that the Bobcats have too many Dontae Carters out there.
It’s Grayson County’s turn to try and corral Radford’s multi-threat quarterback as the Blue Devils look to end a two-game slide when they host the Bobcats in a nondistrict game tonight (Friday) at Bill Strong Field.
“Obviously there are a lot of athletes, a lot of speed,” Grayson coach Brett McPherson said of the defending Group A Division 2 state runner-up Bobcats (3-1). “I don’t know if they’re as good up front as last year, but they’re still athletic, and it all starts with that No. 3 [Carter]. It just seems that whenever he wants to he can step in and take the game over. He’s always making humongous plays. When things are looking rough, he makes a play.”
Carter accounted for all but 14 of Radford’s 258 yards of offense in a 27-21 win over the Maroon Tide two weeks ago, including a pair of 71-yard touchdown runs after Galax had taken a 14-0 lead.
“You’ve got to have some people account for him,” McPherson said. “When he gets in that shotgun in space is when he’s really scary.”
The Blue Devils (3-2) will need to play good position defense and not overpursue.
“We’re going to try to not create running lanes for him,” McPherson said. “You’ve got to stay in your area and be disciplined. If the play goes away you’ve got to be ready for a cutback, and if he gets out of the pocket and you’re a defensive back you can’t leave your man because he’ll throw it 30 or 40 yards.”
Radford doesn’t have the size up front that it usually has, and a quick, swarming defense – like Galax’s two weeks ago and Grayson’s tonight – is a good match for the Radford offense. Galax limited four Bobcat ballcarriers to 14 yards on 14 carries. Carter was the difference, running 16 times for 171 yards.
“He’s going to get some yards,” said McPherson, “you’ve just got to limit it and not give him the 50-yard run or the 60-yard pass.”
It will also serve the Blue Devils well to get off to a good start. Other than somnambulant opening halves against Glenvar and Carroll County, Grayson is averaging nearly 16 points per half in its five games.
“We played a really tough second half against Glenvar and a really tough second half against Carroll County,” he said. “The two quarters before that, we just didn’t play. We’ve got to get our motor going quicker.”
Grayson nearly pulled off a comeback for the ages last week against Carroll. Having been outgained 338-37 and trailing 28-7 at halftime, the Blue Devils roared to life in the second half, scoring 28 unanswered points before falling 36-35 in overtime. A loss like that could be devastating, or it could be looked at in a positive light. McPherson said it is basically a non-factor.
“We watched a little film Monday, but we haven’t really talked about it since,” he said.
Radford (3-1) at Grayson County (3-2)
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Bill Strong Field
Radford lost to Gretna 28-13
Grayson County lost to Carroll County 36-35, OT
2009 – Radford won 42-14
Last Grayson County win
None to date
1998–Grayson Co. 7-0
2007–Grayson Co. 38-25
Radford leads 11-2
Radford Grayson County
D Pulaski Co. 32-29 8/27 D Alleghany NC 34-14
Open 9/3 D Chilhowie 48-22
D Geo. Wythe 36-35 9/10 D Rural Retreat 55-20
D Galax 27-21 9/17 L to Glenvar 27-7
L to Gretna 28-13 9/24 L to Carroll Co. 36-35 OT
at Grayson County 10/1 Radford
at EastMont 10/8 at Galax
Floyd County 10/15 Open
Glenvar 10/22 Bland County
at Auburn 10/29 at Narrows
Giles 11/3 at Fort Chiswell