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Galax scored on three of its first four second-half possessions Friday night to secure a 30-21 win on homecoming against the Rockets of Craig County.
Though Galax (3-2) dominated the final 24 minutes of the game, it was the Rockets (3-2) that held a lead after the first half.
Craig County wasted no time putting six points on the board in the first eight minutes of the game. Rocket quarterback Josh Oulette connected with Brenton Christian on the opening drive for a touchdown after Tide defender Austin Pack went for the interception and missed.
Galax failed to move the chains on its opening possession, but caught a break when Craig County’s Cody Dunbar mishandled the punt. Zach Marshall recovered the ball for the Tide and Galax took over on the Rocket 33-yard-line.
Six straight runs by Tide running back Jordan Vaughan and the Tide drew even with the Rockets with 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
A successful point after attempt gave Galax its first lead of the night.
After failing to move the ball on its next possession, the Rockets punted the ball away. Galax took over on its own 20 and quickly moved into Rocket territory after Vaughan had carries of 16 and 44 yards.
Jerad Brown took over the running duties for three plays and moved the ball to the Craig County 6-yard-line.
An incomplete Terrance Mazon pass and short gain from Vaughan, and the Tide was facing a fourth-and-goal from the 2. Galax originally lined up to go for it, but a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 7 and the field goal unit came on. Matthew Wright connected on the 24-yard field goal and the Tide led 10-6 with 7:13 remaining in the half.
The lead was short lived, however as the Rockets took over on their own 31. Ten plays and five minutes later, Oulette found a crease in the Tide defensive line for a 2-yard touchdown. The extra point gave the Rockets the lead again with 2:24 left in the half. Neither team scored again and Craig County took a 13-10 lead into the locker room.
The Maroon Tide hit the ground running (literally) in the second half. Starting from the Galax 33, Vaughan ran three straight times to midfield. Ten plays later – including seven runs by Vaughan – the Tide crossed the goal line and retook the lead for the final time. With 6:35 left in the third quarter, Galax led 17-13.
On the ensuing kickoff, Craig County’s James Jones coughed up the ball and Galax’s Donte Peoples was able to come up with the fumble and the Tide took over in Rocket territory.
Vaughan need just four carries and numerous broken tackles – including a take down of the back judge as he crossed the goal line – to score his third touchdown of the night. After initially being met at the line by a herd of Rocket defenders, Vaughan emerged and sliced and diced his way the through the secondary for a 26-yard touchdown run. The extra point stretched Galax’s lead to nine.
Neither team scored on the next few possession, but the Tide would find the end zone again early in the fourth to stunt any chance of a Rocket comeback. After Craig County failed a fourth-and-10 from it’s own 48, the Tide took over with 9:14 remaining in the game.
Vaughan rumbled his way to the Rocket 34, then again found open space on the right side of the Craig County defense and quickly moved the ball to the 10.
An apparent ankle injury sidelined Vaughan after the 24-yard run.
Two plays later, Mazon hit receiver Deion George on a fade route in the corner of the end zone. George made a remarkable catch over a Rocket defender and nearly fumbled the ball away before landing in the corner of the end zone with the ball on his chest. The extra point gave the Tide a 17-point lead with 6:33 remaining in the game.
The Rockets may have been down and out, but were sure to put some points on the board for pride before the game ended. After taking over on their own 43, the Rockets – aided by a questionable pass interference call on fourth-and-17 – moved into Tide territory.
Oulette found Jones behind a Tide defender and the Rockets pulled within nine points after the successful two-point conversion.
A failed onside kick, followed by a Tide punt, gave Craig County the ball with 1:42 remaining in the game.
The Rockets were able to once again move the ball at will before Pack picked off an Oulette pass in the end zone to put the game away.
With the win, Galax moves to 3-2 on the season heading into a bye week.
Following the week off, Galax will welcome neighboring rival Grayson County.
Craig County......6 7 0 8––21
Galax..................7 3 14 6––30
CC–Christian pass from J.Oulette (kick failed) 4:42
Gal–Vaughan 3 run (Wright kick) 0:15
Gal–Wright 24 FG, 7:13
CC–J.Oulette 2 run (Lee kick) 2:24
Gal–Vaughan 2 run (Wright kick) 6:35
Gal–Vaughan 26 run (Wright kick) 4:49
GC–Rodriguez 19 run (Ruiz kick) 8:05
Gal–George 8 pass from Mazon (kick failed) 6:33
CC–Jones 7 pass from J.Oulette (Jones pass from J.Oulette) 2:59