The Bluefield Beavers took 12 seconds on Friday night to record their first playoff touchdown of 2012. It was a prelude of many good things to come for their fans at Mitchell Stadium.
Bluefield (9-2) scored on its first eight possessions, a streak that ended only when substitutes took over the offense in the middle of the third quarter, and the fifth-ranked Beavers breezed to a 63-27 win against Roane County (6-5).
Johnny David went in motion on Bluefield’s first play, and his motion did not stop until he’d taken the ball 53 yards down the home sideline to the end zone.
“We came out here and we knew we had to set the tone,” David said. “We got it done. I’m just thankful. ... We’ve worked hard all week for this. Individually our coaches worked us. It really showed tonight.”
The Raiders, ranked 12th in Class AA, controlled the ball for the next 6 1/2 minutes, driving 78 yards on 16 plays to even the score. They picked up five first downs in the process.
With Bluefield shutting down Roane County’s prime runners, the Raiders went to 255-pound lineman Keith Kelly for a couple of carries, including a two-yard run out of a jumbo formation for their touchdown.
Quarterback Hunter Bradley kicked the extra point and, for the only time of the night, the score was tied.
Bluefield coach Fred Simon said about the defensive effort, “We had a few changes, and they had to get used to what (Raone County) were doing. Once they did, I think we did OK.”
Bluefield would score the next 48 points, putting the game further and further out of reach.
By halftime, Bluefield led 41-7 and had racked up 300 yards of offense. The Beavers ended the night with 484 yards, while the Raiders amassed 276 net yards of offense.
Before it was over, six Bluefield players scored touchdowns and the Beavers did not have to punt once. David and D.J. Stewart had a pair of touchdown runs each, and Justin Carter scored on two pass plays from D.J. Edwards.
Simon said, “Johnny (David) plays hard every game. I’m happy for him, because he gives it everything he’s got.”
Shadeed Fitzgerald and R.J. Bourne each recovered Raiders fumbles to snuff out drives.
In the second quarter, Carter jumped high to grab a pass near the sideline, barely clearing Roane County defender Steven McGinnis. After McGinnis hit the turf, Carter hopped over him and completed a 50-yard scoring play.
With 3:21 left before the half, Carter scored on an almost identical play.
Kicker Justin Mariotti got one of the most spectacular tackles of the night, on the opening kickoff. His textbook hit smacked a Raider returner backwards and into his own sideline, setting off a roar from the Bluefield fans.
Mariotti said, “I was staying back, like coach wants me to, as a safety. I saw that they blocked all of our guys, and I saw an open shot and just I hit him where I was supposed to. And it made a pretty loud impact.”
“It’s always fun to get a hit like that, especially being in my position, where not many people expect it to be coming from.”
The Raiders got one more score, a short look-in pass from Bradley to talented receiver Tyler King late in the third quarter. Bradley went 8 for 17 for 98 yards.
Regarding the Bluefield defense, Simon said, “We did OK as we got going. Finally we got going. We got a little bit of heat on the quarterback, and that helped us.”
On offense, 12 runners got to carry the ball for Bluefield. Cory Coppola’s one rush went for a 21-yard touchdown. Backup quarterback Randall Maxey notched a two-point conversion.
David, who had one rush after halftime, said about watching the other runners, “I loved it. They’ve worked hard, too. They deserve the time just as much as we do. I was just glad they could see (time) in the playoffs.”
Mariotti was happy to see Trevor Mullins kick two extra points in the second half.
Mariotti said, “He started out a couple of weeks ago. Coach Simon asked if I could work with him. We’ve worked a couple of weeks, and he’s gotten progressively better, every day.
“He could be as good as he wants to be, as long as he works hard.”
Charles Ross earned Bluefield’s final score with plenty of second effort, breaking tackles then breaking loose for a 54-yard score with 6:18 left in the game.
David touched the ball five times from scrimmage and got 102 yards. Edwards threw the ball just four times, completing three — including the two touchdowns.
The Beavers’ defense allowed just one run longer than 10 yards in the first half. The Raiders’ leading rusher, senior John Ash, was limited to 19 yards on 16 running attempts. Luke Scott led Roane County with 91 yards on 13 carries.
King caught six passes for 65 yards. In addition to his touchdown, he caught a pass for a two-point conversion.
The Roane County team and head coach Paul Burdette remained in their locker room for more than 20 minutes after leaving the field, and were unavailable for comment.
Bluefield (9-2) will play the winner of tonight’s contest between fourth-ranked Robert C. Byrd High and No. 13 Braxton County.
Simon said, “We worked hard last week, and hopefully we can get a little better now each week, and do a better job in the playoffs.”
He said about advancing to the quarterfinal level, “At least we got another chance. We’ve got another chance to play.”
— Contact Tom Bone
At Mitchell Stadium
Roane County (6-5)..........7 0 6 14 — 27
Bluefield (9-2)..................14 27 14 8 — 63
Blfd – Johnny David 53 run (Justin Mariotti kick), 11:48
RC – Keith Kelly 2 run (Hunter Bradley kick), 5:17
Blfd – D.J. Stewart 1 run(Mariotti kick), 2:54
Blfd – Justin Carter 50 pass from D.J. Edwards (Mariotti kick), 9:14
Blfd – Stewart 49 run (Mariotti kick), 6:24
Blfd – Carter 43 pass from Edwards (Mariotti kick), 2:28
Blfd – Montel Leggett 3 run (kick failed), 0:45
Blfd – Cory Coppola 24 run (Trevor Mullins kick), 8:58
Blfd – David 16 run (Mullins kick), 8:16
RC – Tyler King 2 pass from Bradley (pass failed), 2:43
RC – Luke Scott 1 run (King pass from Bradley), 7:55
Blfd – Charles Ross 54 run (Randall Maxey run), 6:18
RC – Cody May 39 run (pass failed), 3:46
RUSHING — RC, John Ash 16-19, Hunter Bradley 11-10, Luke Scott 13-91, Keith Kelly 5-13, Cody May 3-45. Blfd, Johnny David 5-102, D.J. Stewart 5-59, Montel Leggett 6-56, D.J. Edwards 1-5, Shadeed Fitzgerald 1-40, Cory Coppola 1-21, Christian Oster 2-(-1), Charles Ross 4-61, Randall Maxey 6-27, Marqi Dowell 3-7, Roman Wallace 1-(-3), Marcus Santoro 3-7.
PASSING — RC, Hunter Bradley 8-17-98-1 TD-0 intc. Blfd, D.J. Edwards 3-4-103-2 TDs-0 intc.; Randall Maxey 0-3-0-0.
RECEIVING — RC, Tyler King 6-65, Steven McGinnis 1-29, John Ash 1-(-4). Blfd, Justin Carter 2-93, Brandon Lilly 1-10.
Yards rushing 178 381
Yards passing 98 103
Total yards 276 484
First downs 13 14