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After a four-year hiatus, one of the longer-running rivalries in this part of the state will resume tonight when Floyd County travels to Galax for a nondistrict game in what will be the Maroon Tide’s 2011 home opener.
After a pair of sub-par efforts on their home turf, the Buffaloes are probably hoping a change of scenery will do them good.
Unfortunately, one of the game films Galax coach Mark Dixon has to work with in preparing for Floyd was last week’s 49-0 loss to Christiansburg. About the only thing obtainable from breaking down that tape was that Christiansburg is really good.
“We’ll be much more similar in style to what Grayson does so I’m expecting to see that Floyd team, which was a pretty good football team,” said Dixon, who also had the Grayson tape. “Offensively, they’re very good. Defensively I know there are things that [Floyd coach Winfred Beale] has done that you could already see starting to come together in the Christiansburg game. He’s a heck of a coach. He’ll have it figured out.”
One thing Beale doesn’t have to figure out is who to give the ball to. One of the top juniors in Southwest Virginia will be at Beale’s disposal as Dorian Harris tries to keep up the pace he set as a sophomore transfer from Salem. Despite not playing regularly until the third game of the season, the 6-foot, 205-pound Harris led Timesland in rushing with more than 1,600 yards, scoring 21 touchdowns along the way. Obviously, Harris creates some problems.
“Huge problems,” Dixon said. “He’s a one-mistake runner in that if you make one, he can go all the way. There were times we made mistakes at Glenvar [in last week’s 17-14 OT win] and we could chase it down. With him, there’s no chasing it down. He’s got it all as a tailback. He just plays at a different speed than everybody else.”
Besides Harris, the thing that jumps out about Floyd County so far is the fact that, including the benefit game with Grayson County, the Buffaloes have surrendered an uncharacteristic 113 points in two games.
“The No. 1 thing I saw in the Grayson game was missed tackles,” Dixon said. “They were there to make the play and they just missed tackles. Obviously [Beale’s] stuff is very sound. They know what they’re doing. And Grayson is really diverse. They can present problems that we don’t present. So I don’t think they’ll have the same issues with us.”
Galax is coming off a tough overtime win at Glenvar in which the Maroon Tide had a potential game-winning touchdown waved off with a holding call, then had to make eight stops – four of them inside the 5 – in overtime before prevailing on an Eli Brady field goal.
“For any other team but these kids, I’d say it was huge,” said Dixon of the adversity his team overcame. “These kids have done that for a while. You’re talking about kids who went to the state basketball tournament and did the same thing. I’ve never seen them fold. I have an absolute belief in these kids, and it’s justified by what they’ve done.”
A bigger positive in Dixon’s eyes was the fact that his team saw early on that it would have to earn it every week.
“They’ve heard too much, ‘Man, this is y’all’s year’ ” he said. “That game was a reality check. We can have a really good year because of who those kids are. You get in those battles and know how to stand toe-to-toe. We’re not going to blow anybody out. We set the schedule up to make sure that doesn’t happen, or if it does, it’s very few times. I think more than anything, they learned that it’s going to be this way. Get used to it.”
The Tide also picked up a new twist offensively. An injury forced a bit of shuffling to be done in the backfield, with No. 1 tailback Jordan Vaughan spending some time at the fullback spot.
“One of the best packages we had was Frankie at [tight end], Jordan at H and Steven Peoples at tailback,” Dixon said. “Because of Jordan’s hands and his quickness it can give us a three-wide look. It keeps those three on the field at the same time and still lets us run our power game, or move Steven out to the slot. So now we’re getting some diversity.”
As former district mates in both the New River District and the MED, the two teams met every year until 2006, other than a two-year gap in 1982-83. Each has had its turn dominating the other.
No records are available pre-1970, but the Maroon Tide won 12 straight from 1970-1981, whipping the Buffaloes by an average of 28 points a game. That streak came to a screeching halt with a 16-14 win in 1984, an outcome that left an otherwise untouchable 9-1 Galax team at home come playoff time.
Floyd got its own later in the rivalry and has won the past 11 meetings by an average 30 points. Galax’s last win was a 32-7 triumph in 1995.
Floyd County (0-1) at Galax (1-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Floyd County lost to Christiansburg 49-0
Galax defeated Glenvar 17-14, OT
2006 – Floyd County won 48-0
Last Galax win
None to date
Floyd County Galax
L to C’burg 48-0 8/26 D Glenvar 17-14 OT
at Galax 9/2 Floyd County
at Patrick County 9/9 E.Montgomery
George Wythe 9/16 Radford
Fort Chiswell 9/23 at Craig County
Open 9/30 Open
at Glenvar 10/7 Fort Chiswell
E.Montgomery 10/14 at Graham
at Giles 10/21 Narrows
Radford 10/28 at Bland County
at Auburn 11/4 at Grayson County
The series (since 1970)
1970–Galax 22-0 1989–Floyd Co. 13-6
1971–Galax 27-6 1990–Galax 22-20
1972–Galax 17-12 1991–Galax 22-16
1973–Galax 29-6 1992–Floyd Co. 32-8
1974–Galax 43-0 1993–Floyd Co. 14-7
1975–Galax 9-6 1994–Galax 23-20
1976–Galax 53-0 1995–Galax 32-7
1977–Galax 40-6 1996–Floyd Co. 35-7
1978–Galax 20-0 1997–Floyd Co. 33-21
1979–Galax 25-0 1998–Floyd Co. 28-13
1980–Galax 24-6 1999–Floyd Co. 40-0
1981–Galax 20-16 2000–Floyd Co. 21-6
1984–Floyd Co. 16-14 2001–Floyd Co. 46-9
1985–Galax 35-6 2002–Floyd Co. 49-0
1986–Galax 20-7 2003–Floyd Co. 48-12
1987–Galax 14-6 2004–Floyd Co. 53-7
1988–Floyd Co. 51-8 2005–Floyd Co. 25-13
2006–Floyd Co. 48-0
Galax leads 20-15