By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
Big plays — and take your pick because Tazewell had a four-pack in the second half that catapulted the surging Bulldogs — who rallied for 20 points in the final frame — to their second successive Southwest District win on Witten Field, a 27-10 triumph over Abingdon Friday.
Jalen Jordan blocked a 52-yard field goal attempt, recovered the ball and returned it to the Falcon 39 to set up a one-yard run by Cody McCann that gave THS a 14-10 lead that proved to be the winning points.
Jesse Mountain intercepted a Tyler Arnold pass to halt a go-ahead bid by the Falcons (4-5, 1-3) with seven minutes left on the 25, later caught a 44-yard pass to give Jacob McReynolds a shot at a one yard run.
Guye Turner intercepted an Abingdon aerial on the 15 with 1:31 to play, and McReynolds then bolted 85 yards down the right sideline for a highlight touchdown. Andrew Collier recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that allowed Tazewell (2-7, 2-2) to run out the clock.
McReynolds, who scored all 27 points a week ago, piled up 113 yards in the final stanza and finished with 160, two touchdowns, an interception on defense and a 45-yard punting average in another stellar effort.
“Give the Lord the credit and let the Dogs get the win,” smiled McReynolds. “On that last touchdown, I think just about the whole team was lined up blocking so I just had to stay up. I run as fast as I can from point A to point B — that’s all I was trying to do. Hard work and hard practices are paying off for us and you saw that again tonight.”
Defensively, Tazewell had solid efforts from a host of players including Derrick Wallace, Turner, Nick Goad, Mikey Wright, McCann, Carter Rasnick, Alan Rose & Co. On the offensive line, Brandon Asbury again had a great night in his second start in two weeks while Turner, Goad, Rasnick, and Cody Horn were among the key blockers.
Abingdon scored first in a sudden, dazzling burst to open the game. The Falcons drove 54 yards in five plays, starting with a 26-yard dash by Josh Hess. Grant Pennings rambled 11 more yards, giving Abingdon a first down on the Dog 11-yard stripe. Hunter Norris then picked up two, and three.
From there, Norris angled to the right corner of the end zone where Arnold neatly deposited the pass and the visitors scored their first points. Kicker Mitchell Ludwig drilled the PAT far beyond the goal posts for a 7-0 lead with 7:52 left in the first period.
In a sign of things to come, the Dogs fired a shot heard ‘round the park. On second and 10 from the 30, McCann rolled to his left and arched a pass toward Jordan, sprinting toward the sideline. Jordan leaped over the defender, got a hand on the ball at the 40, staggered, plucked it out of the air, and exploded the final 30 yards for a 70-yard score. McReynolds booted the extra point, tying the score at 7-7 with 5:56 left before halftime.
“I don’t know how I caught that ball,” laughed Jordan. “I went up for it, it hit the defender’s helmet, and I think I bobbled it about four times. Once a I had it and got my feet under me, I just outran the secondary and got the score.”
Neither team could get on the board again before halftime, although the Falcons blunted a Bulldog drive started by Carter Rasnick’s takeaway and return to the 19, when Abingdon’s Hess had an endzone interception. McReynolds then intercepted a pass for the Dogs on the next series.
Ludwig, who consistently kicked the ball out of the end zone all night on kickoffs, missed a 36-yard field goal attempt with :08 before halftime.
He put the Falcons in front for the second time, however, when he nailed a 24-yard three-pointer with 5:30 to go in the third quarter.Hess had another interception for Abingdon to jump start the five-play, 25-yard drive.
Jordan’s field goal block, combined with a key McCann to Carter Rasnick first down pass, and 26 yards on two carries from McReynolds, put McCann in position for the go-ahead score with 10:47 remaining and McReynolds hit the point after.
Mountain’s interception, bolstered by McCann’s key five-yard gain on fourth-and-one at the Abingdon 44, preceded the long bomb to Mountain that put the ball on the Falcon two. From there, McReynolds blasted in for the score on fourth down with just 2:18 to play. The Falcons blocked the PAT, leaving Tazewell in front, 20-10, after the 8-play, 52-yard drive.
“I saw the ball and just went up and caught the ball on the interception,” said Mountain. “Cody (McCann) lofted the pass for me on the big gain inside the five. I saw the ball and probably should have scored but we got the touchdown and that is all that matters. I like making plays that help my team. That was fun.”
Turner’s theft was a prelude to the dramatic 85-yard waltz by McReynolds, who broke through the line, and had a green wall of blockers until midfield, when he outran everybody else to race alone into the end zone. His kick made it 27-10 and that was enough to seal the deal as the delirious fans could hardly wait until the final gun to run out and embrace their heroes for the second straight week.
“I don’t have any problem going for the big play when it’s there,” said Tazewell coach Shane Allen. “We have a pair of players outside (Jordan and Mountain) where if you single cover them, are capable of getting six on any play.
“Our quarterback has the arm to make it happen, and he (McCann) told me tonight after a turnover ‘Coach, I’ll get that back for us’ and then he went out and did it. Our defense again tonight made some big plays. I think the only difference over the past month is that our confidence is growing. There is a lot of talent — and these young men are very unselfish, they pull for each other — and it is great to see them have the success they are capable of.”
Tazewell had 146 yard rushing, McCann completed six passes for 126 yards and 282 yards in team offense. Abingdon had 214 total yards including 128 rushing (73 by Pennings) and 86 passing. Jordan had 76 yards receiving and Mountain caught 52 more. The Dogs led 9-8 in first downs.
Tazewell travels to Richlands on Friday Nov. 2 for an SWD game.
At Bulldog Stadium/Witten Field
Abingdon.................................7 0 3 0 — 10
Tazewell...................................7 0 0 20 — 27
A – Norris, 6yard pass from Arnold (Ludwig kick) 7:52
T – Jordan, 70-yard pass from McCann (McCann kick) 5:56
A – Ludwig, 24-yard field goal 5:30
T- McCann, one-yard run (McReynolds kick) 10:47
T- McReynolds, one-yard run (kick blocked) 2:18
T- McReynolds, 85-yard run (McReynolds kick) 1:02