By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
FT. CHISWELL, Va. —
Four of the five Black Diamond District football programs open post-season play this weekend in the Group A Western Section playoffs, with two on the road tonight and the other two at home on Saturday.
In Division 2 No. 16 Grundy is at No. 1 seed Fort Chiswell, while in Division 1 No. 11 Hurley is at No. 6 Rural Retreat. Also in D 1 No. 1 Honaker hosts No. 16 Patrick Henry and No. 6 Haysi hosts No. 11 Castlewood.
--Grundy (4-6) at Fort Chiswell (9-1); Friday, 7pm. Before the season Grundy expected to make a playoff run. By mid-season defensive struggles and five losses in a six games dashed the Golden Wave’s hopes. An inspired 34-32 comeback win last week over interstate rival Mount View revived them.
Senior running back Nick Travis ran for 269 yards and five touchdowns and went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season against Mount View. Fort Chiswell is led by running back Daniel Hamm, who has rushed for 1,490 yards, totaled 2,037 all-purpose yards and scored 22 touchdowns this season.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve been able get our running game going better than we have all year,” Grundy coach Jeremy Ward said. “As for our defense we have to contain Hamm and their quarterback (Brett Mabry).”
Hurley (6-4) at Rural Retreat (6-4); Friday, 7 p.m.
The Rebels won six of eight games after their 0-2 start and return to the playoffs with a huge offensive line and a deep set of runners led by Dillion Bailey, Nick Gibson, Ralph Jones and Traquan Oliver. Tyler Caudill is the feature back in the Rural Retreat offense, a workhorse who has rushed for over 1,500 yards this season.
“I think we match up with them pretty well,” Hurley coach Greg Tester said. “They’re big, but I think we maybe have a little size advantage on them. They don’t so anything fancy. Caudill gets 20 to 25 carries a game, but he’s a game-breaker. We’ve got to be able to slow them down, but if we can do that I like our chances.”
Patrick Henry (2-8) at Honaker (9-1); Saturday, 1 p.m.
The Tigers routed a young Patrick Henry, 43-13, during the regular season and is heavily favored again Saturday. Honaker’s defense got its second shutout of the season, in an impressive 21-0 win over Haysi.
That gave the Tigers, who are led by senior quarterback Ty Hall and a deep set of backs and receivers, an unprecedented third straight BDD title. “We have just have to stay with what got us here and take care of business,” said Honaker coach Doug Hubbard, whose club has home field advantage through the state semifinals.
Castlewood (6-4) at Haysi (6-4); Saturday, 7 p.m.
This is a rematch of an earlier season game in which Haysi won, 28-14. Both teams lost district title games last week, including Castlewood’s 15-12 heartbreaker against Eastside.
The Blue Devils, who are coached by former Grundy standout David Scammell, are led by 1,000-yard rusher Reid Edmonds.
Haysi has a balanced attack led by senior quarterback Zach Owens and junior tailback Jeffrey Bowen. Haysi, which had averaged 43.8 points in the five games before being shut out at Honaker, has to regroup, says head coach James Colley, in his 31st year at the Dickenson County school.
“We just have to go back to work,” Colley said. “It’ll be tough, just like the first time we played. We have to be ready to play.”