Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

October 6, 2012

Narrows snaps losing streak at Bland County

BASTIAN, Va. — No. 8 and No. 10 helped Narrows stop a streak at 18.

Joe Hall (8) playing for the first time since being injured in the preseason scrimmage, threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns, including an 81 yard  score to Chandler Burton (10), leading the Green Wave to a 34-9 win over Bland County on homecoming Friday night.

Narrows (1-5, 1-0), which hadn’t won since beating Bland County in 2010, ended nearly two years of frustration, taking a 14-0 first quarter lead, and a 26-7 bulge at the break.

“Eighteen games, it has been a long time,” Narrows head coach Kelly Lowe said. “Our kids came out and played hard tonight. I am really proud of them, they made some plays. Coach (Harris) Hart does a great job here at Bland and we knew coming in we had to play about as good as we could play to have the outcome that we wanted.

“I am just real proud of our kids. It is a long time coming and they get all the credit because they played their butts off and I am proud of them.”

Bland County (0-6, 0-1) lost for the 10th straight time, with the Bears last win coming in 2011 against the Green Wave.

“We can’t fault our effort, we just have to keep working to try and get better,” Hart said. “I thought at times we played a lot better and we have to keep trying to do that.

“They play hard, they have got a lot of heart, they do things the right way and we are going to keep working and we are going to get better.”

Narrows jumped on Bland County from the opening drive, taking the ball 60 yards in four plays, with Tyler Perdue putting the Green Wave up 1:12 into the game with a 26-yard touchdown run. Hall then connected with Burton on the two-point conversion and the 8-0 lead.

“We have got a bit more speed than we have had in years past,” Lowe said. “We were trying to utilize that a little bit and our backs ran real hard, I am real proud of them.”

Narrows got the ball back quickly and did it again, driving 44 yards on seven plays, with Trevor Hart going 22 yards at one point, and Hall connecting with Terrance Martin from 7 yards out for the 14-0 lead.

The 5-foot-10, 240-pound Martin, who was wearing No. 99, also had 75 yards on just four carries, including a 40-yard score in the third quarter.

“It is a blessing to finally get a win,” Martin said. “I can’t even explain it, it has hurt so much. We have been down and we finally came out here and we actually finished a game for once and we get a win.”

 Those two scores put Bland County in catch-up mode, which wasn’t good for the Bears, who hadn’t scored more than seven points all season.

“We adjusted. It is not anything we did differently, our players adjusted mentally and just came up and starting making plays, but we just had a hard time covering No. 10,” Hart said. “We can’t match up with him.”

That was Burton, one of the top basketball players in the region, who had three receptions for 133 yards. Hall was 5-for-8 for 165 yards.

“We got our quarterback back tonight, he has been out since the first scrimmage and we were able to adjust some other people back to where they played a little better and it just really looked good for us,” Lowe said. “Our kids played hard, our line blocked great, our backs ran the ball the great, the receivers caught the ball great so it was just a great night for everybody.”

Both teams committed four turnovers apiece, with the first two coming on the same play. Dylan Walker’s pass was intercepted by Narrows’ Drew Stowers late in the first quarter, but Bland County’s Mason Christian grabbed the ball back and ran from midfield to the 10-yard line.

“He is a football player, he understands the game and plays hard and a great young man and a great kid to coach,” Hart said. “I think a lot of him.”

The Bears scored on the second play of the second period on a 6-yard pass from Walker to Keith Miller. Jordain Carter followed with the extra point to narrow the margin to 14-7.

Walker then recovered a Narrows punt to give the Bears additional momentum.

“I think we had a chance with the ball to possibly tie the game and it didn’t happen, but the kids played hard, played with a lot of heart and played with class and I think we got better and that is what we talked about before the game,” Hart said. “We wanted to be better at the end of the first quarter than we are at the beginning and I think that was true.”

Gavin Givens followed by picking off the first of his two interceptions. That is when Burton went to Lowe with a word of advice.

“I told Coach Lowe we needed to run the hitch-and-go and we ran it and we scored,” Burton said. “He never listens to me, but that is one time he does listen to me.”

Good idea. Hall threw the football down the left sideline to the 6-2 Burton, who got behind the Christian, caught the ball at midfield and out-ran the Bears for an 81-yard touchdown.

“(Joe) faked it and he bit on it so I just got way out ahead of everybody,” Burton said. “I thought he was going to catch me, but I just got away from him in time...I like getting in front of everybody and just running, it is fun.”

“We used that to our advantage and we were going to use it,” said Lowe, of the Hall-to-Burton combination. “Joe made great throws, Chandler made great catches and it really worked out good.”

Another Givens interception on the Bears’ next possession led to another score, a 15-yard scoring strike to Jacob Ballard on a drive that also featured a 34-yard completion to Burton, giving the Green Wave the 26-7 lead at the break.

“Our kids played as hard as they could, we just had a hard time matching up with No. 10 at receiver,” Hart said. “Other than that I felt like defensively we played good most of the night after the first two drives.”

Narrows scored once more in the third when Martin ran over half of the Bland County defense and dragged the rest to the end zone for a 40-yard scoring run. Hall then connected with Michael Kennett for the two-point conversion pass.

“I am speechless, it feels amazing. That is the best I have seen us play in two or three years,” Martin said. “It has been tough, we have so much hardship through the years so it is just great to get a win finally.”

Bland County reached nine points in the final seconds when a high snap on a punt was recovered by Tyler Evans in the end zone and T.J. Hicks brought him down for a safety.

Hart led the Green Wave with 80 yards rushing, followed by Martin (75) and Perdue (62). Bland County was out-gained 379-108, but Aaron Rose did lead the Bears with 106 yards on the ground.

Evans paced Narrows on defense, along with Austin Lively and Givens. Hicks, Walker and Dakota Wright led the Bears.

“Our defense played great, a couple of mishaps there put the ball deep in our territory, but our defense played lights out,” Lowe said. “I am so proud of our defense, our kids really played hard. I am just real proud of them

Bland County will travel to Grayson County next Friday, while the Green Wave will be able to prepare for Fort Chiswell having finally tasted victory.

The preparation this week should have a different feel.

“Coming off a win is real nice,” said Lowe, with a smile.

—Contact Brian Woodson

at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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