Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 12, 2013

Tornado nips Bulldogs

By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — The “Z-men” turned the tide for a tornado.

Richlands stopped Tazewell 34-27 Friday, sparked by great plays from Zach Northern and Zeke Vance.

Northern caught passes of 42 and 31 yards to set up touchdowns and scored one himself on a 20-yard toss from Blue Tornado quarterback River Michaels.

Vance had two key interceptions, one to set up a Tornado score and another that halted a serious Tazewell threat before halftime.

Nevertheless, the improving Bulldogs won the total yardage battle 378-253, and turnovers proved decisive on a raw, rainy night as the long-time rivals finally played a close game for the first time in several seasons.

Malik Davis accounted for 248 offensive yards for the Bulldogs including a 40-yard touchdown run and a 69-yard scoring pass to Jesse Mountain.

His counterpart Michaels had a dazzling game for Richlands, with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ben Brown, a 20-yard strike to Northern, and TD runs of 15, 8 and two yards himself.

In addition, Michaels gained 30 crucial fourth quarter yards rushing to help Richlands gain a pair of first downs and run out the clock.

The Blues (4-3) topped Tazewell (1-6) in a game of two’s, felt Bulldog coach Shane Allen.

“Two big turnovers, two short fields, and two touchdowns – that turned it around and we lost the game,” said Allen. “We played right with them all night except for those turning points. We’re getting closer, but we have to move it up to the next level.”

Ben Brown intercepted a first quarter Davis aerial at midfield and returned the ball to the Tazewell 16, two plays later catching a 12-yard pass from Michaels to put RHS in front with 7:50 to go in the first quarter.

Brown then turned around and kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Tazewell answered within a minute when Nick Blankenship blasted 69 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. The Dogs were called for a penalty but Carter Rasnick kicked the PAT from 35 yards out to tie the score at 7-7 with 7:07 on the clock.

Northern’s 42-yard reception set up Michaels’ 15-yard run and Brown again kicked the point after when the Blues captured a 14-7 lead on a 72-yard, 4-play drive with 1:32 left in the opening stanza.

Michaels capped the first half scoring when he raced for an 8-yard touchdown with 7:49 to go in the half. Brown’s kick pushed the Blues ahead 21-7.

Tazewell mounted a 6-play, 98-yard drive to inch closer.

Mountain zoomed down the middle, catching a pass from Davis near the 40 and going the rest of the way for a six-pointer with 6:01 to play in the third period.

Mountain’s catch was good for 69 yards, Rasnick’s kick cut the margin to 21-14 and the contest seemed far from settled.

Vance’s next interception, however, was a key factor. Northern caught a 20-yard strike from Michaels, Brown kicked the point after and the Blues led 28-14 with 1:24 to go in the third period.

A Bulldog fumble gave Michaels the opportunity to run a two-yard touchdown behind a good block by Danny Anderson with 11:55 to play. Brown’s kick sailed wide and the Blues were up 34-14.

After twice converting on fourth-down plays, Tazewell scored with 6:59 to go when Davis powered down the right sideline for 40 yards and a touchdown to cap a nine-play drive. Rasnick’s PAT made it 34-21.

Following a bobble by Griffin McCauley that gave the ball back to the Dogs on the next series, Davis threw a 51-yard pass to Juwan Jordan. Chace Collins made a touchdown-saving tackle for the Blues, but three plays later Davis twisted, spun, and powered his way in for the touchdown.

The Dogs did not get the next kick airborne and trailed 34-27 with 2:29 left.

Michaels made certain Tazewell never got the ball back with his determined running on the final series.

Blankenship had 130 yards rushing for Tazewell and had an 80-yard run called back. McCauley was strong for THS with 86 yards on the ground while Michaels added 65 and had 105 yards passing.

Davis passed for 146 yards and rushed for 102 for the Bulldogs. Tazewell led 14-13 in first downs. The Dogs were penalized four times for 20 yards and Richlands was flagged 9 times for 90 yards.

The Bulldogs and Blue Tornado both have an open date next week.

 

At Bulldog Stadium/Witten Field

Richlands......14   7    7      6  —  34

Tazewell..........7   0    7    13  —  27

First Quarter

R – Brown, 12 pass from Michaels (Brown kick)

T – Blankenship, 69 run (Rasnick kick)

R – Michaels, 15 run (Brown kick)

Second Quarter

R –Michaels, 8 run (Brown kick)

Third Quarter

T – Mountain, 67 pass from Davis (Rasnick kick)

R – Northern, 20 pass from Michaels (Brown kick)

Fourth Quarter

R – Michaels, 2 run (kick failed)

T – Davis, 40 run (Rasnick kick)

T – Davis, 11 run (kick failed)