Tide, Bears seek good finish

-A A +A

Defending MED champ Bland County closes its regular season Friday by hosting Galax.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Galax and Bland County aren’t particularly huge rivals on the football field. Boys from one school don’t date girls from the other, kids at the two locales don’t share part-time workplaces, they don’t hang out at the same places, they don’t share anything that would add any more zest than what usually exists between two teams located more than an hour apart. But if there was ever a series in which one could throw the records out the window, as folks are fond of saying when neighboring schools play each other, this one is it. Take 2006, for example. The Bears came to Galax with a sparkling 6-1 record, only to have the Tide, 1-6 at the time, administer a 26-7 whipping. Or back in 2001, when Galax was 6-1 and rolling merrily along when a 3-4 Bland County team laid a 36-12 shelling on the Tide. The two aren’t always on thesame level of play, as only three meetings have been settled by a touchdown or less in a 16-year series that is very balanced as a whole (Galax leads 9-7). But this is one of those years that could produce a very competitive battle when the Maroon Tide travels to Bastian for an MED game Friday. The two are on more equal footing this year, as Bland County is a modest 2-7 overall, 0-3 in Mountain Empire District play, and Galax is 0-2 in the league and 1-7 after Friday’s nondistrict loss to Covington. Just a peek at common opponents would suggest a real scrap is in the making. Galax and Bland County share six common opponents, and other than versus Northwood, the two have experienced strikingly similar results. Both lost by more than 35 points to Eastern Montgomery, and both lost by two points or fewer to Grayson County. Both took fairly close wins over Craig County, and both lost by three touchdowns or more to Fort Chiswell. Galax gave Covington a better test in a 30-26 loss Friday than Bland County did in a 19-6 loss last month, but Bland thumped Northwood 41-21 five weeks after Galax lost a four-point game to the Panthers.  “They’re real young,” Galax coach Jared Van Acker said Monday. “They had a bunch of seniors last year who are gone, so it’s left kind of a vacuum, but they’re still a good football team.” Bland County is coming off a 7-6 loss to Grayson County in a game decided largely on a missed second-quarter PAT attempt. The Bears allowed the Blue Devils a season-high 132 rushing yards in the loss, but outgained Grayson as a whole, 245-191. Fullback Jacob Lambert led Bland with 53 rushing yards, while quarterback Dylan Kidd ran for 41 yards. “That’s their bread ad butter, the belly option, out of that wing-T,” said Van Acker. “[Kidd] reverse-pivots and gives it to the fullback or takes it around the outside edge, so they’re the two main weapons that we have to stop. And like any running team, you’ve got to dare them to throw the ball and take them out of what they’re comfortable doing.” Kidd had a nice night throwing the ball Friday, completing seven passes for 129 yards, including three to Raymond Greene for 81 yards. Bland also has a solid kicking game and the Bears aren’t ashamed to play field position football. Galax was on the verge of a turnaround win Friday, leading Covington by 10 points in the fourth quarter before falling 30-26. A fumble returned for a touchdown and a miscue in punt formation helped keep the Tide searching for a win. “It was a tough loss because the kids played hard, on both teams,” Van Acker said. “It was a good football game, just a shame that we came out on the short end of the stick… We’re just not getting over the hump right now. We’ve got two games left and we’re hoping to get over the hump. It’s time for the ball to bounce our way.”   WEEK 10 Galax  (1-7, 0-2) at Bland County (2-7, 0-3)

Friday, 7:30 p.m. in Bastian

Last week Galax lost to Covington 30-26 Bland County lost to Grayson County 7-6 Last meeting 2008 (Bland County won 19-8) Last Galax win 2007 (20-19) Common opponents Northwood Galax lost 42-38 Aug. 28 Bland County won 41-21 Oct. 2 Eastern Montgomery Galax lost 41-6 Sept. 11 Bland County lost 60-6 Sept. 25 Craig County Galax won 13-0 Sept. 25 Bland County won 28-21 Sept. 4 Grayson County Galax lost 16-14 Oct. 9 Bland County lost 7-6 last week Fort Chiswell Galax lost 31-8 Oct. 16 Bland County lost 35-0 Oct. 9 Covington Galax lost 30-26 last week Bland County lost 19-6 Sept. 11

The season  Galax                                                        Bland County lost to Northwood 42-38          8/28    lost to PH-Glade Spring 26-8 lost to Alleghany, N.C. 31-12    9/4     def. Craig County 28-21 lost to EastMont 41-6              9/11    lost to Covington 19-6 lost to Radford 42-0               9/18    lost to Holston 41-6 def. Craig County 13-0            9/25    lost to E.Montgomery 60-6 Open                                  10/2    def. Northwood 41-21 lost to Grayson Co. 16-14        10/9    lost to Fort Chiswell 35-0 lost to Fort Chiswell 31-8        10/16    lost to Narrows 14-12 lost to Covington 30-26          10/23    lost to Grayson Co. 7-6 at Bland County                    10/30    Galax Narrows                               11/6     Open

The series  1992–Galax 31-0 1993–Galax 7-0 1994–Bland County 14-10 1995–Bland County 53-14 1996–Bland County 27-8 1997–Galax 34-6 1998–Galax 49-8 1999–Galax 47-19 2000–Galax 53-19 2001–Bland County 36-12 2002–Galax 26-8 2003–Bland County 28-13 2004–Galax 27-8 2005–Bland County 44-30 2006–Galax 26-7 2007–Galax 20-19 2008–Bland County 19-8

Overall Galax leads 9-7