Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

October 1, 2010

Richlands, Tazewell rich in tradition

RICHLANDS, Va. — There’s no shortage of football tradition or rivalry when Richlands and Tazewell meet on the football field. Both teams have stacks of film with great plays made when they’ve played each other and both can recant stories of yesteryear.

Coming into tonight’s clash at Ernie Hicks Stadium/EMATS Field, the Bulldogs are looking for their first win of the season while the Tornado is 4-0 with a Southwest District win against Abingdon two weeks ago with an open date last Friday.

The Blues had played a close game against the Falcons with the home-standing Falcons breaking a long play in the first half to keep the Tornado close through the middle of the second quarter. Richlands used their offensive depth, quick-thinking special teams and explosive defense to put the game away in a matter of minutes.

The series between The Tornado and the Bulldogs has developed a rivalry unmatched by any other with bragging rights all the more important in a county divided.

“You can throw the records out and I know we say that every year and it’s an old cliché, but you can’t overlook anybody and you can’t look at records,” Richlands head coach Greg Mance said. “Virginia Tech is a great testament to that when they played James Madison (University).

“If Virginia Tech is prepared for that ball game, then, James Madison is not going to beat Virginia Tech if Virginia Tech comes in with the right state of mind.”

“You can go back to 2003 when we lost to Tazewell and we were 6-4 overall that year and they were 1-9 and it was the only game they won that year. So you can throw all the records out when you play Tazewell.”

Coming along in the Bulldogs backfield is quarterback Cody McCann with running backs Mikal Moore and Jalen Jordan making big plays at wide receiver.

Moore was a critical part of Tazewell’s opening drive last week against Abingdon making taking one of the early handoffs around the right end for a 25-yard gain. The Bulldogs’ bench also went for it on two fourth downs in the drive and Moore carried the ball both times for three and six yard gains to convert for the first down.

Moore finished with 84 yards against the Falcons to pace the Tazewell attack.

“One thing that stands out is Tazewell’s running game,” Mance said. “The Moore kid is very elusive and it’s rare that the first guy there brings him down because he has great balance. And you look at their wideout, Jalen Jordan, he’s a great athlete.

He makes great catches and he makes people miss. We watched him against Lebanon and he does a great job catching the ball and getting it downfield. Cody McCann is throwing the ball well and those two together and they’re dangerous and I’m impressed with their offensive line and (assistant line) Coach (Deacon) Young does a great job.”

Leading the Tornado charge at quarterback will be Tazewell transfer, Cody Lockhart, who threw for 124 yards and completed 9-of-12 passes with two touchdowns in the Blues last outing and is 24-for-34 with over 500 yards passing for the season. Sean Overton was his primary target against the Falcons with 111 yards receiving on seven catches and a touchdown.

“Tazewell is very aggressive on defense and they have a nose guard that’s as quick as a cat,” Mance said. “And Shaquille McDonald, he’s 320 pounds and he can run, he’s as strong as an ox and you have to identify where he is.

“Tazewell is coached extremely well and they play extremely hard. It’s going to come down to four quarters and 48 minutes. In big games, emotions play such a big factor and if you  have to get off to a good start, you have to score and eliminate mistakes.

“Anything can happen in a high school football game.”

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