By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The James Monroe Mavericks were unable to stop the Bluefield Beavers’ juggernaut as the Beavers won their eighth straight game, 63-14 on the Mavericks’ home turf Friday night in Lindside.
“We were really undermanned tonight,” said James Monroe head coach Donnie Jackson. “We had a lot of injuries the last week or two, we had four linemen not playing, out for the year. But you’ve got to five Bluefield credit. They’ve got great speed and good team speed overall. I told the guys here that’s the fastest team I’ve coached against. They’re really good and they’re a class act. We wish them all the best.”
James Monroe came out of the gate smoking as Brian Young carried for 12 yards and Reed McNeer completed two passes and the Mavericks moved the ball on the No. 3 Beavers. However, McNeer’s third pass attempt of the game was picked off by Johnny David at his own 40 and the Beavers DB returned it to the house giving Bluefield an early 6-0 lead. Justin Mariotti’s kick was true to make it 7-0.
Beavers head coach Fred Simon talked about David’s interception.
“When the defense scores it breaks a lot of teams backs. It was a nice play.”
The Beavers defense rose to the fore and forced three and outs on the next three Maverick possessions. Bluefield converted each into scores, a 41-yard run by D.J. Stewart, a 21-yard pass from D.J. Edwards to Brandon Lilly and a 53-yard pass from Edwards to Corey Coppola on a play where Coppola, covered by a defender, tipped the ball into the air away from the Maverick, grabbed it and ran the final 20 yards to paydirt. Mariotti’s point after kicks all split the uprights and Bluefield held a 28-0 lead after one quarter of action.
Defense again took over for the Beavers in the second quarter when David stepped in front of another McNeer pass and did not stop running until 72 yards later to make it 35-0.
Bluefield scored twice more before halftime, a 12-yard run by David and a 48-yard sprint by Stewart. Again Mariotti’s kicks were good and the Beavers carried a 49-0 lead into halftime.
For the first half James Monroe managed 65 total yards, 47 on the ground and 18 in the air. Bluefield finished the first 24 minutes with 311 yards of offense, 237 rushing and 74 passing.
James Monroe got into the scoring column in the third period when Jeffrey Lewis ran 30 yards for the score and Ryan Wickline booted the PAT.
Bluefield’s first score of the second half came with 7:51 left in the game when Christian Oster scampered five yards to cap an 11-play 63 yard drive. Marcus Santoro ran for the two-point conversion to make it 63-7.
The Mavs added to their total when Lewis ran for his second score of the night from one yard out. The key play in the drive was a fake punt on fourth down when Micah Deskins ran 50 yards to the Bluefield 15. Wickline’s kick was true to make it 63-14.
Stewart led Bluefield with 95 yards rushing on three carries. Ross carried three times for 78 yards and Oster eight rushes for 71 yards. Edwards completed two-of-four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Lewis led James Monroe with 89 yards on 16 carries. Deskins rushed nine times for 61 yards.
“Everybody played hard, everybody played well, a lot of players got in and kept the same momentum going,” Simon said. “I’m just happy we came out of here without any major injuries. James Monroe played had and their coaching staff did a great job. I’m proud of the victory and looking forward to next week.”
Next week will be the battle between the No. 3 Beavers (8-1) and No. 1 Wayne Pioneers (9-0) with the winner of that game nailing down the No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs. Last year Wayne, the defending champions, beat Bluefield 54-3 at Mitchell Stadium.
Simon hopes that the depth and versatility of the Beavers will stymie the Pioneers’ defense.
“They really can’t key on one person. If they do, the other guys will have good games,” Simon noted. “That’s been the mark of our team all year. If somebody gets stopped, there is going to be somebody who is going to help us. We don’t know who that is, but as long as we’re all ready, we’re good to go.”
James Monroe (2-7) will conclude its season against Greenbrier East.
At H.E. Comer Sports Complex
Bluefield…................…..28 21 6 8 — 63
James Monroe…..............0 0 7 7 — 14
B - Johnny David 60 yard interception return (Justin Mariotti kick), 9:36
B - D.J. Stewart 41 run (Mariotti kick), 7:13
B - D.J. Edwards 21 pass to Brandon Lilly (Mariotti kick), 3:55
B - Edwards 53 pass to Corey Coppola (Mariotti kick), 0:17
B - David 72 yard interception return (Mariotti kick), 8:02
B - David 12 run (Mariotti kick), 2:57
B - Stewart 48 run (Mariotti kick), 0:22
B - Charles Ross 68 run (run failed), 1:05
JM - Jeffrey Lewis 30 run (Ryan Wickline kick), 0:12
B - Christian Oster 5 run (Santoro run), 7:51
JM - Lewis 1 run (Wickline kick), 4:02
Rushing: Bluefield - Leggett 6-66, Stewart 3-95, David 3-44, Coppola 1-9, Oster 8-71, Santoro 4-5, Bourne 3-(-1), Ross 3-78, Morris 3-29, Maxey 5-18, Totals 41-437. James Monroe - McNeer 7-(-16), Deskins 9-61, Young 3-15, Carter 11-36, Lewis 16-89, Shires 1-7, Totals 47-185
Passing: Bluefield - Edwards 2-4-0 (2 TDs) 74 yards, Maxey 1-1-0 21 yards, Santoro 0-1-0. James Monroe - McNeer 3-9-2 18 yards.
Receiving: Bluefield - Coppola 1-53 (TD), Lilly 1-21 (TD). James Monroe - Weese 1-7, Sutherland 1-7, Carter 2-11.