By ANTHONY STEVENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
HONAKER, Va. —
Old fashioned football was on display at EMATS Stadium. In battle between two physical teams, Honaker was able to remain undefeated with a 27-7 win over Wise Central.
Honaker (3-0) had been able to control the front in their prior two wins but they had a battle with the Warriors.
“They had some big fellows up front, at the beginning of the game they bullied us around some,” Honaker quarterback Casey Dye said. “At halftime we came together and knew we could do it and the front line started playing better.”
Honaker took the opening kickoff and had to punt after six plays. Central methodically moved the ball down the field using their running game. But the drive stalled and the Warriors turned the ball over on downs at the Honaker 22.
The Tigers then had an impressive nine-play, 78-yard drive. On a 2nd-and-10, Dye ran an option and broke free us the right side using his speed to score on a 42-yard run.
“I was able to get outside,” said Dye. “When the linebacker missed, I had an open lane to the end zone.”
Wise Central (1-3) took the ensuing kickoff and again consistently moved the ball down the field. But turnovers had been a huge problem in the Warriors two previous losses and they stung them again. Central fumbled the ball at the Honaker 12 and it was pounced on by the Tigers Avin Parrott.
Honaker couldn’t capitalize and had to punt. Central took advantage of a short field and tied the contest with a six-play, 39-yard drive. Logan Collins scored up the middle on a 12-yard rush to tie it up at 7-all.
“There is not a better five than our offensive line, I would match them up against anyone,” Central coach Darren Reed said. “We went up against some big boys tonight. A lot of teams hang their hat on a quarterback or running back but we depend on the line, they work hard and so does the rest of the team.”
A special team’s play proved costly. Randy Horton took the kickoff for Honaker, faked a reverse and then raced up the left sideline to the Central 12 for a 78-yard return. On their second play, Dye tossed an 11-yard scoring strike to Horton to give the Tigers a lead.
“The kickoff return was definitely huge with the offense not moving the ball like we normally do,” remarked Dye. “Horton was my last read on the TD pass. He knew what I was doing and rolled back out with me.”
Again Central move the ball down the field quickly. But Parrott had another big play, picking off a Collins pass. Honaker fumbled it on its first play and it was recovered by Central’s Dalton McCoy. They were slowed by a penalty and then time ran out and Honaker held a 14-7 lead at halftime. But the Warriors outgained the Tigers 185-99 in the first half.
The second half was a different story. Honaker slowed the Central offense and tossed a shutout in the final 24 minutes. Central punted three times and turned the ball over on downs once after intermission.
Honaker took over six minutes off the clock with a 13-play, 85-yard drive. The scoring play was an 18-yard TD pass from Dye to Shey Bunn who made an outstanding run after the catch.
The Tigers put the game away late in the third quarter. Fullback Mackenzie Phillips had a 27-yard run to set up a one-yard TD rush by Austin Smith.
Dye finished with 72-yards rushing on seven carries. Smith gained 69-yards on 20 carries for the Tigers.
“Central was big, I had been worried about them all week long,” said Honaker coach Doug Hubbard. “They wouldn’t have been 1-2 if they hadn’t turned the ball over 12 times in their first three games. They came back on J.I. Burton last week after they had made some mistakes, so we knew we were in for a tough game.”
Honaker will have their first Black Diamond District contest when they travel to Twin Valley on Friday. Central returns to Russell County to face Lebanon.
Wise Central.........................0 7 0 0 — 7
Honaker................................0 14 13 0 — 27
HON—Dye 42 run (Phillips kick)
WC—Collins 12 run (Shortt kick)
HON—Horton 11 pass from Dye (Phillips kick)
HON—Bunn 18 pass from Dye (Phillips kick)
HON—Smith 1 run (kick failed)
First Downs: WC 22, HON 19; Rushes-Yards: WC 45-221, HON 41-206; Passing Yards: WC 20, HON 65; Comp-Att-Int: WC 1-10-1, HON 5-9-1; Fumbles-Lost: WC 1-1, HON 3-1; Penalties-Yards: WC 7-49, HON 3-25; Punts-Average: WC 3-33.3, HON 2-31.5.