Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

November 23, 2013

Last-minute field goal saves Giles Appomattox

PEARISBURG, Va. — After using both his feet all night to elude Appomattox tacklers, Brett Whitlow needed just one to send Giles into the next round of the playoffs.

Whitlow belted a 27-yard field goal with five seconds left to give Giles a 17-14 victory over Appomattox in Group 2A West second round play on Friday night.

The game-winning kick was set up by a classic Spartan single-wing drive. Giles moved the ball 60 yards on 15 running plays while chewing over eight minutes off the fourth quarter clock.

“That’s Spartan football. That (drive) is what we’re all about,” Giles head coach Jeff Williams said.

The Raiders were able to stop Giles at the 10-yard line and then used multiple timeouts to attempt to freeze Whitlow, but their plan didn’t work.

“I just tried to block everything out,” Whitlow said. “Everybody did their job great and we got the win.”

Along with his kicking success, Whitlow was the Spartans’ leading rusher on the night gaining 160 yards. Overall the Spartans gained over 300 yards on the ground while not attempting a single pass in the contest.

“We are brothers out there,” Whitlow said. “We feel our 11 can play with anybody’s 11.”

Whitlow got Giles (12-0) on the board first in the opening period when he capped off the Spartans’ first possession with a one-yard TD run at the 8:10 mark to make the score 7-0.

Appomattox (7-5) responded just three minutes later when Raider quarterback Kendall Blankenship scored on a one-yard TD run of his own to tie the game at seven.

One minute into the second period Blankenship used his arm to put the Raiders ahead as he hit Chicago Ferguson on a 67-yard scoring strike to make the score 14-7.

The Giles win overshadowed a heroic effort from Blankenship, a senior, who led Appomattox in rushing with 126 yards while passing for an additional 84.

“He’s been like that all year,” Appomattox head coach Doug Smith said of Blankenship. “He’s one of those players that comes around every four years or so. He runs with authority and believes he’ll score on every play.”

After Appomattox took the lead on Blankenship’s scoring strike, Giles answered back when

Tyler Perdue scored on an 11-yard TD run with just over six minutes left in the second period to tie the game at 14 apiece.

The Spartans had a chance to take the lead before halftime, but with nine seconds left in the period Perdue was stuffed on a run inside the one-yard line and the Spartans, who had no timeouts left, were unable to get off another play before the buzzer.

The victory got the undefeated Spartans over a bit of a postseason hurdle that saw them lose in the second round of the playoffs the last two years.

“It felt real good to break that curse,” Whitlow said.

This story was provided courtesy of the Roanoke Times.

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