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HONAKER –– Galax was able to absorb a quick 1-2 punch by Honaker at the outset of its Western Section Division 1 second-round game. A similar salvo by the Tigers to close the first half proved to be too much to overcome.
Honaker had two touchdowns before Galax had three offensive snaps, and the Tigers added two scores 16 seconds apart just before the half to advance with a 42-14 win Saturday at Fuller Field.
The Western Section’s No. 1 seed, Honaker (11-1) will host No. 5 J.I. Burton (9-3) in the state quarterfinals this weekend.
Very young and playing without injured 1,800-yard rusher Donte Peoples, No. 8 Galax’s season comes to a close with a 7-5 record.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of what they’ve done,” Galax coach Mark Dixon said of his team, which was three last-minute defeats away from a 9-1 regular season, despite having to fill the void left by the departure of the most successful senior class in school history. “I think they answered the call at the beginning of the year, considering how many kids were gone from last year’s team.”
Honaker was blown out by Galax 48-9 in last year’s playoffs, but never trailed Saturday after taking the opening kick and driving 55 yards in five plays.
Quarterback Ty Hall found Payton Ball for a 26-yard completion to the 6 and Hall pushed into the end zone from there on the next play. The first of six Makenzie Phillips PATs put Honker in front 7-0 in less than three minutes.
Two plays into Galax’s initial possession, Honaker’s Devin Viers pounced on a fumble at the Tide 21, and Hall scored his second rushing touchdown four plays later, this time from the 3.
The Maroon Tide played toe-to-toe with the Tigers for most of the rest of the half, cutting the 14-0 Honaker lead in half before the end of the first quarter. Forcing a three-and-out, Galax took over following a punt to its own 40 and was in the end zone after five Steven Peoples carries. Peoples had rolled his ankle in last week’s first-round game and was doubtful going into Saturday, but was well enough by game time to carry 30 times for 212 bruising yards.
The Maroon Tide would drive from its own 1-yard line to the Honaker 32 in a 13-play possession in the second quarter but was stopped there on downs. The end of a potential tying drive for the Tide set up a two-touchdown burst by the Tigers, starting with a 5-yard Hall run with 1:16 on the clock.
Galax lost a fumble on its first play following the kickoff, and Hall wasted no time taking advantage, hitting Payton Ball on the next play for a 27-yard scoring strike and a 28-7 halftime lead.
“We had some opportunities to get back in it, we just didn’t, and we kind of wore down,” Dixon said. “We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to.”
Galax opened the second half with an eight-play, 65-yard scoring drive to climb to within 28-14. Peoples carried seven times for 61 yards, including a 4-yard scoring run at 9:43 of the third.
That would be as close as the Maroon Tide would get, as Dye scored on an 85-yard run late in the third quarter and Hall added a 36-yard scoring run midway through the fourth.
Dye had 130 yards on seven carries, but Hall was the Tigers’ catalyst, rushing 11 times for 82 yards and four scores while completing five passes for 89 yards and a TD.
“They’re so much more diverse than they were last year,” Dixon said. “They can spread the field and throw the ball, they’ve got a good power running game, and I think the quarterback is fantastic. He keeps plays alive, so when things aren’t perfect he can buy you time. At this level, when you have a quarterback like that, it’s a difference-maker. They’re good all over, but he’s the one that stands out to me.”
Eleven different Tigers combined for 273 yards on 38 rushes.
Western Section Division 1 Second round
Honaker 42, Galax 14
Galax.............7 0 7 0––14
Honaker......14 14 7 7––42
H–Hall 6 run (Phillips kick) 9:17
H–Hall 3 run (Phillips kick) 6:49
G–S.Peoples 17 run (Brady kick) 1:11
H–Hall 6 run (Phillips kick) 1:16
H–Ball 29 pass from Hall (Phillips kick) 1:00
G–S.Peoples 4 run (Brady kick) 9:28
H–Dye 85 run (Phillips kick) 1:48
H–Hall 36 run (Phillips kick) 6:24
First downs 17 15
Rushes-yards 42-240 38-273
Yards passing 50 89
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-0 5-11-0
Return yards 40 43
Punts-average 3-36.3 3-37.0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-50 1-5
RUSHING—Galax, S.Peoples 30-212, Dixon 6-37, Harris 1-4, Smith 2-(-3), Poole 2-(-3), K.Brown 1-(-7). Honaker, Dye 7-130, Hall 11-82, Ray 4-16, J.Smith 1-13, Ball 6-11, Parrott 1-4, Horn 1-3, Lester 1-3, A.Smith 2-7, Johnson 2-2, Shelton 2-2.
PASSING–Galax, Poole 8-15-0-50. Honaker, Hall 5-11-0-89.
RECEIVING–Galax, D.Brown 3-37, Gable 2-17, Isom 1-5, S.Peoples 1-(-4), Dixon 1-(-5). Honaker, Ball 2-62, Harmon 1-13, Shelton 1-7, Horton 1-7.