By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
What can the Bulldogs do for an encore?
Coach Shane Allen hopes for a verse of the same song. After ending their 18-game winless streak with a 27-26 Southwest District triumph over visiting Carroll County last week, Tazewell entertains Abingdon tonight in another SWD encounter. For Allen, last week was a thrilling, emotional victory but he and his team have been back to basic business since Monday.
“Oh, yes, winning that (Carroll) game was huge for us,” grinned Allen. “It was something we can build on for the future, it was a big lift
for our players, we got to give our fans something to really cheer about, and I have to say it was special for me in a lot of ways. We have
put it on the back burner, though, and worked real hard this week getting ready for a Falcon team that has a load of talented players.”
Abingdon (4-4) has displayed an ability to score points, having tallied at least 20 points four times. The Falcons have beaten Patrick Henry (43-7), Happy Valley (10-0), Carroll County (49-28) and Lebanon (26-0). Losses have come against Virginia High (16-13), Chilhowie (27-26), John Battle (38-14), and Richlands (35-6).
Not only do the Falcons have an ace in running back Grant Pennings, who gained more than 250 yards against THS last season, but outstanding kicker Mitchell Ludwig (two field goals against Richlands last week) is a weapon as potent as any local team can count on. Ludwig hit from 44 and 45 yards against the Blue Tornado and kicked another attempt from 47 yards into the uprights. Adam Arnold is a solid passer for AHS, with excellent receivers including Lukas Hart and Josh Hess.
“Abingdon is well coached (by John Bowles) and improved from a year ago,” agrees Allen. “When their rushing game gets going, they can just chew up the yardage in chunks. We have seen that – they can try the passing game, the finesse game, but if that doesn’t work, they can just line up and pound you. Their offensive line is very good and they can make adjustments.”
Tazewell (1-7, 1-2) relied on that formula to the delight of the Bulldog faithful last Friday, coming from behind twice in the second half to win their first home game in nearly three years in dramatic fashion. Jacob McReynolds, running behind a determined line from the ‘I’ formation rather than the standard Wing T, carried 34 times for 191 yards and four touchdowns while kicking three PATs to account for all 27 Tazewell points. Meanwhile, quarterback Cody McCann fired four pass completions to wide out Jalen Jordan for 107 yards total to give a big boost to the attack.
“We did what we needed to,” noted Allen. “We switched up in the second half, stayed with what was working at the time and it paid off. We got some fine blocking – young men like Guye Turner, Carter Rasnick, Brandon Asbury, Nick Goad, and Mikey Wright did some strong work up front to make that running game go when we had to have it. I was really proud of every player on our team. Those in the game played hard and those on the sidelines were cheering for their teammates. It was a group effort right down the line.”
Tonight’s game will begin at 7:30 at Bulldog Stadium/Witten Field and will be Senior Night featuring the final home game for Turner, McCann, Jordan, Asbury, Wright, Alan Rose, Cody Horn, Colby Scarberry, and John Wayne Martin.