Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

October 18, 2012

Blues nearing Southwest district title

RICHLANDS, Va. — Richlands is two games from being crowned the Southwest District champions for the ninth consecutive time. However, the Blue Tornado hasn’t won the district eight times with the next one pending by dwelling on accolades and trohpies.

Richlands has built their success by playing one game at a time and this is Week 8. Blue Tornado head coach Greg Mance is consistent that records and awards are for enjoying after the season is over. As for the next game, it’s business as usual.

This week’s task at hand is the Abingdon Falcons and a road trip to Washington County to play in Falcons Stadium.

“We’ve got a big challenge against Abingdon,” Mance said. “Abingdon put it on Carroll County (a couple weeks ago). Carroll County was winning at the half and Abingdon came out and rushed for over 300 yards in the second half and won the game.”

The Falcons have won two straight games to improve to 4-3 on the season after  beating Carroll County and non-district Lebanon last week. Against the Pioneers, Abingdon pitched a 26-0 shutout led by quarterback Tyler Arnold who completed 14-of-19 passes for 202 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown.

Defensively, the Falcons held the Pioneers to 186 in total yards and complimented that effort by rolling up 351 yards on offense.

The Tornado is coming off a win (28-7) over rival Carroll County Friday night with a  roster dotted with injuries including standout quarterback, Gray Baker. After throwing for over 1,000 yards this season a knee injury sidelined him stopping him short of making a thumbprint on the school’s passing records.

Stepping into the signal calling role for the Blues is Ben Brown and Michael Horton. The two shared responsibilities against the Cavaliers with Brown getting the starting nod, then, turning the reigns over to Horton for much of the second half.

“Benny’s (Brown) banged up and his knee tightened up he actually went down in warm-ups (before the Carroll County game),” Mance said. “He slipped and went down when he was kicking and his back tightened up and he was really struggling in the first half.”

“We had some stuff open but Carroll County was doing a good job on defense teeing up on Colten. Benny couldn’t run it since he was injured, so, we put Michael Horton in the game in the second half and it kind of caught (Carroll County) off guard a little bit and Michael had some big runs.”

Horton carried the ball nine times in the second half for 43 yards.

Although, the Richlands offense didn’t put up the vertical numbers they’ve had in the previous eight games, Todd McGlothlin led the corps when the ball was put downfield.

McGlothlin’s longest reception of the night went for 26 yards from Brown which led to an eventual touchdown later in the drive.

“We’ve been challenging Todd to be the player on offense that he was last year,” Mance said. “He’s been sick this season and a couple bangs and bruises and a high-ankle sprain that it took him forever to get over, but, he came back and he’s been a defensive force all year. Against Marion he had eight catches and some big catches (against Carroll County).”

“But, overall Todd’s playing really well and when we can get a couple kids back out here and we have to get Benny healthy. He’s just not been able to practice with us.”

McGlothlin caught four passes for 77 yards, the sum of the total passing yards for the Blues against the Cavaliers.

Staten has been the workhorse of the Tornado ground game this season and put his season rushing statistics near 1,200 yards for the year after a 210- yard effort against the Cavaliers including a 50-yard touchdown run for the Tornados’ second touchdown of the evening.

The Tornado defense held Carroll County to 55 yards on the ground and just 60 through the air.

“We’ve got to get healthy,” Mance said. “And we’ve got to keep getting better.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30.

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