Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 22, 2012

Beavers pass test from Latin

Bluefield grounds Hawks

BLUEFIELD — In five games against schools from Charlotte the past four years, the Bluefield Beavers had never led for a second. Friday night at Mitchell Stadium the Beavers came from an early deficit and routed the Hawks of Charlotte Latin 61-37.

Latin, a private school from the Queen City was playing Bluefield for the second straight season. The Beavers had played four previous games against Charlotte Country Day.

Things looked ominous for the Beavers from the opening of the game. Christian Mackey took Justin Mariotti’s opening kickoff on his own eight yard line and raced untouched 92 yards for the score. Ben Scott’s kick made it 7-0. On the ensuing kickoff the Beavers failed to cover the ball and Latin swooped it up on the Bluefield 28.

“I was a little concerned, but we had a long time to go,” said BHS coach Fred Simon.

In four plays Latin drove to the Beavers 16 before Justin Carter stepped in front of a Daniel Jones pass in the endzone and returned it to the Bluefield 16.

The Beavers came out running, 20 yards by Montel Leggett, 23 from D.J. Stewart set the stage for D.J. Edwards to call his own number from the Latin 33 and race into the endzone. Mariotti’s kick was true and the game was tied at seven.

Latin embarked on its longest drive of the half, marching 76 yards in 11 plays with Denzel Pearson running the final nine for the score. Scott’s kick put the visitors back on top 14-7.

Scott’s kickoff was fielded by Stewart at his own 15. He cut up the middle, then broke it outside and raced 85 yards for the touchdown. Mariotti’s kick again split the uprights and the Beavers had tied the game with 1:29 left in the opening quarter.

Taking possession at his own 33, Jones made a bad pitch and the Beavers’ D.J. Sims pounced on the loose ball giving Bluefield excellent field position at the Hawks 30.

“I was thinking, ‘Get the ball,’” Sims said. “I fired off like Coach always tells me, ‘Stay low and do your job.’”

A five yard penalty moved the ball to the 25 and Johnny David carried the ball to the 13. Leggett then took it to the three before D.J. Edwards, on a keeper, found paydirt on the final play of the first quarter. Mariotti’s kick put Bluefield ahead 21-14, a lead the eager Beavers would not relinquish.

David picked off another Jones pass and returned it to the Latin four yard line and Leggett’s one yard run and Mariotti’s kick pushed the score to 28-14.

“In any tough game you play, you’ve got to have turnovers,” Simon said. “We rose to the occasion tonight.”

The Hawks responded with a 10-play, 76 yard drive, a mix of running and passing, capped by Pearson’s five yard jaunt. Scott’s point after made it 28-21.

Bluefield was not finished in the first half. The Beavers added two more touchdowns, one a four yard run by David, and the second a five yard pass from Edwards to Corey Coppola. Mariotti was perfect on both kicks and Bluefield carried a 42-21 lead into the intermission.

The Beavers stayed in rhythm after the break, marching 59 yards in seven plays, scoring on David’s second touchdown of the night, a five yard run.

Bluefield’s defense, which had been stellar all night, had back-to-back sacks by Sims and Brandon Lilly, forcing Latin to punt. Bluefield, failed to move the ball, however, and Mariotti’s first punt of the night was a 44 yarder.

Bluefield got the ball back with 1:39 to play in the third and wasted little time tacking more points on the Mitchell Stadium scoreboard. On it’s second play, Leggett ran off left tackle, broke into the secondary and ran untouched for an 82 yard score. Mariotti’s kick was wide left, but Bluefield was ahead 55-21.

David had his second interception of the night when he picked off Jones at the Beavers 40 and returned it to the Latin 49. A personal foul and ejection of a Hawks player moved the ball to the 34.

“We worked on it all week, the coaches told me to watch his eyes,” David said. “I did and I executed and I’m thankful. I can’t describe how I feel right now, it feels unreal.”

The Beavers, however, made one of their few mistakes of the night when they fumbled on the 23.

On the first play from scrimmage Jones hit Carson Song on a fly pattern down the far sideline for a 76 yard touchdown with 8:31 left in the game. Scott’s kick was good.

Bluefield responded with a six play 47 yard drive. David ripped off a big run that appeared to take the ball to the Latin one, but he stepped out at the 28.  On the next play Shadeed Fitzgerald, playing his first game of the season after suffering a broken collarbone in a scrimmage against Shady Spring, galloped 28 yards for the touchdown.

Latin would score twice more in the game, once on a 25 yard run by Mackey with 6:17 to play, and on a safety when a punt snap sailed over Mariotti’s head and he covered it in the endzone.

The Beavers rushed for 408 unofficial yards in the game, led by Leggett, who toted the pigskin 12 times for 160 yards. Edwards rushed three times for 63 yards and two scores, David nine times for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Bluefield only attempted four passes in the game and completed two for 17 yards and one score.

Jones completed 17-of-33 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown for Latin. Song had 10 catches for 179 yards and a score. Pearson was the Hawks leading rusher with 79 yards on 15 carries.

Edwards summed it up for the Beaver Nation.

“We are going to enjoy this victory. We played them last year and they put it on us, and we wanted to lay it back on them this year,” Edwards said.

Bluefield improved to 3-1 with the win and host Gate City next Friday at Mitchell Stadium. Latin suffered its first loss of the season and fell to 4-1.

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