Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 18, 2013

Lightning strikes for Wave

Player of the Week

NARROWS, Va. — One play into the game and Rodney Perdue knew it was going to be a good night for the Narrows football team.

Who knew it would be this good?

Perdue ran for 233 yards on just 15 carries and scored three touchdowns, as the Green Wave rolled up 496 total yards in a 38-14 win over much-improved Montcalm last Friday night.

“It started from the first play of the game,” Perdue said. “I carried it for probably 10 or 15 yards and I knew from the start, the line was going to pound them and we was going to pound them through the hole.”

It was a combination of ‘Thunder’ (Terrance Martin) and ‘Lightning’ (Perdue) and a plethora of blockers who helped the Green Wave run for 488 yards to win their second game in a row for the first time since 2008.

“Our offensive line came out and blocked phenomenal,” Narrows head coach Kelly Lowe said. “I thought we had a good week of practice going into it and they did a good job all the way across.

“The backs blocked well for each other and the receivers on the edge, when we were running sweeps and stuff, they maintained their blocks and were very, very effective.”

The chief beneficiary was Perdue, who was selected as the Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week.

“It is a team honor, but it feels great to have it like that,” Perdue said. “It feels awesome to know that I did what I needed to do for my team to get the win and I couldn’t have done it without my team...

“I couldn’t have done that without my line blocking, there were some pretty big old holes. I couldn’t have done it without (Martin) leading through the hole.”

Martin had a memorable game of his own, 176 yards and two scores in just 11 carries. Not bad considering he was a tight end until two weeks ago.

“’Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’, that is right, that is a good determination,” Lowe said. “Terrance did a good job of running up inside for us, he broke a couple of long ones, at his size he moves pretty daggone well and he is a load to bring down at times.”

Perdue was much the same, putting on a show that reminded Lowe of Perdue’s father, also named Rodney, who starred for the Green Wave from 1989-91.

“We actually played together in high school, his dad was a good one,” Lowe said. “’Little’ Rodney is a little bit taller, he has got maybe a little more speed than his dad does, his dad was real quick.

“We used Rodney’s speed Friday night to get out on the edge and he had a couple of nice long runs just by out-running some people.”

Perdue, who has run for 406 yards and four touchdowns in three games, is finally getting his chance to play running back, with injuries — to himself and others — keeping him away from that position until this season.

He broke his wrist and was limited to four games at wingback and on defense as a sophomore, and spent all but one game at quarterback last year when Joe Hall missed all but one game with a broken collar bone.

“He is really just now getting a lot of reps at running back this year and each week he keeps getting better and better,” Lowe said. “He is doing a great job and he is just getting better each week as well as everybody else around him.”

No one was happier than Perdue when Hall returned healthy, allowing him to finally play his preferred position.

“That was my first year ever playing quarterback, I guess I just got it in my system where my dad was one of the best running backs to come through this school,” said Perdue, who is also a standout defensive back. “It puts a lot of pressure on you, it was not one of my comfortable positions, but I did it to help the team.”

Narrows has struggled on the gridiron in recent seasons, partly because of a decline in enrollment, but the Green Wave has now won two games for the first time since 2010, and much of the regular season remains, beginning Friday at rival Giles.

“This has always been a football town, ever since I can remember,” said Perdue, whose Wave rebounded from a loss to Auburn to beat Eastern Montgomery 7-6 for its first home win since 2010. “We had numbers drop at football games the past couple of years, but the way we have been playing the last two games, I see a bunch more people showing up.

“You can’t have the fan base without a good football team, and we have a chance to do something special this year.”

Name a member of the Green Wave offense, and Perdue mentioned them, including Hall and Martin, the line of Jesse Perdue, James Payne, Jamie Scott, Austin Lively and Gage Munsey, receivers Gavin Givens, Cody Collins and Kyle Hall, and tight ends Jackson Blankenship and Chase Lawson.

“They were disciplined, they stayed low, they got on their hip,” said Perdue, of the offensive line. “We had a couple of plays where they took plays off, but most of the night they were disciplined and stayed on the hip and opened the holes up for me and Terrance and we hit the holes and we went.”

Perdue, who is the first player of the week from Narrows since Lowe’s nephew, Corey Lowe, won a few years ago, scored a trio of touchdowns, from 24, 10 and 63 yards.

It was one of those nights when Perdue figured he could run all night long.

“It goes through your head, ‘I am going to get this ball and I am going to get this first down, I am going to get this ball and I am going to get positive yards,’” Perdue said. “It is just an awesome feeling.”

Narrows hasn’t felt that feeling much in recent years, and could have struggled after the loss to Auburn to start the season, but the Green Wave used a solid defensive effort to beat Eastern Montgomery.

“It didn’t really drop my confidence because I know what kind of team I have got,” said Perdue, who wears a size 13 shoe. “I know what kind of line I have got and I know what kind of fan base we have behind us. We just came back the next Monday, just had a good little team meeting and we went at it.”

That was followed by Friday’s effort at Montcalm, which is must improved from recent seasons.

“We had momentum going in getting a big win over East Mont, 7-6, but I couldn’t have done what I done without the line blocking, without my receivers blocking, and without the fan base behind us,” Perdue said.

Up next is Giles, which includes Perdue’s cousin, Tyler, who plays for the Spartans. Narrows last beat Giles in 2002.

Don’t count out the Green Wave in this one.

“We have got to keep playing like we have been playing, play as a team, play with our heads held high,” Perdue said. “They are a good football team, I am not going to take that from them, but we are a good football team too.

“This is the most confidence we have had going into this game in three or four years. I have confidence in my team, I have confidence in my line, I have confidence in our defense that we will get the job done.”

—Contact Brian Woodson at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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