By ANTHONY STEVENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
HONAKER, Va. —
After a tough loss last week, the Tigers rebounded nicely in the opening round of the 1A-West football playoffs. Honaker (10-1) controlled every aspect of the game in a 48-6 victory over Bath County (5-6) at EMATS Stadium.
After struggling against the numerous weapons of Haysi last week, the Tigers defense was more than up to the task against the Chargers single wing offense, limiting them to 147 yards of total offense.
"We did a much better job tonight," middle linebacker Mackenzie Phillips said. "We stayed with our assignments and plugged the holes. The defensive line was about two yards in their backfield most of the night and that makes the reads and the tackles much easier for the linebackers."
Bath County only completed two passes and were held to 138 yards on the ground. Randy Horton had two interceptions and Hayden Horn added another pick. Shey Bunn finished with eight tackles and Phillips had six tackles.
“This week we kind of refocused and regrouped," Phillips said. "I really feel we performed the best we have in five weeks."
The Tigers established control early. On a 3rd-and-9, quarterback Casey Dye hit Bunn in-stride on a slant down the middle for a 53 yard gain. Two plays later Dye broke free on a scramble for a 33-yard TD run.
After three plays and a punt for the Chargers, Honaker was at it again with a nine-play, 78 yard drive. Bruising tailback Austin Smith reached the end zone on a six-yard rush to go up 14-0. Smith finished with 45 yards on the ground to give him 1,033 yards rushing this season. He also has 15 touchdowns this year.
"Our main goal is to win football games," said Smith. "The yardage was a secondary goal. I'm happy to get the yards, but I would rather win more than anything. The line really stepped up, we all knew we had to play better tonight."
Phillips added a couple of field goals from 25 and 37 yards out for a 20-0 halftime lead.
Honaker has several sustained drives, adding four touchdowns in the second half. Dye tossed a 36-yard TD pass to Avin Parrott and connected with Horton from 21-yards out. Parrott scored on a 40-yard run and Horn on a 25-yard rush. Dye was 8-of-13 passing for 272 yards.
"Dye was real sharp throwing the ball, he put it up where we could make some plays," Honaker coach Doug Hubbard said. "He was on the money on the short routes. The kids made some catches and had some good runs after the catch."
The Chargers lone touchdown came in the third quarter on a nine-play, 69 yard drive. The key play was a 45 yard run by Tyler Robertson. Ben Wolfe then scored on a three-yard run.
"We were just overmatched," Bath County coach Will Fields said. "I knew that coming in. This playoff system is not good, we're a team that probably shouldn't be in the playoffs.
"I knew my kids would play hard, they always do."
The season ends for the Chargers. Honaker advances to the second round and will host Covington next week on a date to be determined.
Bath County.........................0 0 6 0 — 6
Honaker.............................14 6 14 14 — 48
HON - Dye 33 run (Phillips kick)
HON - Smith 6 run (Phillips kick)
HON - FG Phillips 25
HON - FG Phillips 37
HON - Parrott 36 pass from Dye (Phillips kick)
BATH - Wolfe 3 run (run failed)
HON - Horton 21 pass from Dye (Phillips kick)
HON - Horn 25 run (Phillips kick)
HON - Parrott 40 run (Brown kick)
First Downs: BATH 7, HON 15; Rushes-Yards: BATH 31-138, HON 41-272; Passing Yards: BATH 9, HON 219; Comp-Att-Int: BATH 2-12-3, HON 8-13-0; Fumbles-Lost: BATH 1-0, HON 3-1; Penalties-Yards: BATH 5-33, HON 2-20; Punts-Average: BATH 2-42.5, HON 0-0.