TAZEWELL, Va. — It was a wild, but happy Dog House Homecoming.
With slightly more than a minute to play in the first half, neither team had scored. When the game ended, there were 72 points on the board and Tazewell escaped with a 40-32 win over Chilhowie Friday despite an 18-point fourth quarter effort from the visiting Warriors.
Malik Davis, aided by a terrific 35-yard touchdown pass-and-catch to Juwan Jordan, coupled with Diante Cecil’s fumble recovery steered the unbeaten Bulldogs (4-0) to a pair of crucial touchdowns just before halftime and push THS to a 14-0 lead.
Nick Blankenship piled up 208 yards rushing — he has 414 in the past two games — and scored a 58-yard touchdown on Tazewell’s first offensive play of the second half, using Jesse Mountain’s crunching block to spring loose near midfield.
Following Jordan’s interception in the third stanza, Blankenship capped the march with a 10-yard scoring run and then punctuated his night by dashing 52 yards for yet another Bulldog touchdown with 9:14 to go, answering Jamie Blevins’ dazzling 35-yard touchdown catch for the Warriors a moment before.
Hunter Delp played a terrific game for Chilhowie. Delp had 172 yards passing, usually under pressure, and converted four fourth down throws for first downs. He had a pair of touchdown passes and two two-point runs.
Chris Hall brought the Bulldog crowd to its feet late in the third period after Chilhowie put together a 60-yard, 9-play scoring drive capped by Austin Millsaps’ 9-yard touchdown.
Hall took the kickoff at his 20, cut left and raced 80 yards for another dramatic score using a fine block by Austin Reed before Davis raced in for the two-point conversion.
In the thrill-a-minute battle between two heavyweight offensive lines, Tazewell had 394 offensive yards, barely edging the battling Warriors (1-3) who totaled 390. Chilhowie ran off 81 offensive plays while Tazewell unofficially had only 38.
Chilhowie never punted in the game and Tazewell punted only two times. Neither team tried any kicks for points.
At one second-quarter stretch, the Warriors had run off 16 plays and Tazewell had just three. Chilhowie took its time, keeping the ball away from Tazewell’s high-scoring offense, while the Dogs seemed able to score when they could get the football away from the Warriors.
Caudill scored the first Warrior TD on a 6-yard scamper in the third stanza and Millsaps went over from nine yards on the next series. Millsaps then caught the conversion pass from Delp.
Blevins’ scoring reception came in the fourth period and Tyler Price added a six-yard touchdown catch with less than two minutes to play, after the Warriors took advantage of field position following a safety against the Bulldog offense.
Davis, battling a sore back all week, overcame the pain and led his team with a gutty performance before half. Included in the mix was a 53-yard pass to T.J. Kitts, the back-up quarterback / receiver near the end of the second stanza to set up the first touchdown.
Davis had 66 yards rushing and 120 passing, scored on a five-yard run and had a pair of two-point conversion runs.
He said, “Our defense held strong through the first half and we were able to come out and outscore Chilhowie. The Warriors are very big, and physical on both the offensive and defensive line. They are tough.”
Xavier Caudill was relentless as a runner for CHS in the second half. He finished with 123 yards on the ground. Price converted several key catches for Chilhowie as he notched 40 yards in receptions.
Mountain had a solid defensive game for Tazewell, noting, “We made more stops on third down than on fourth down, it seemed. The offense played well again. We still have work to do.”
Tazewell coach Shane Allen said, “Getting four wins at home was crucial for us. Now we have to go on the road and it will be tougher each week.
“I was proud of Malik playing through injuries like he did. Juwan (Jordan) made an outstanding catch on the first touchdown to get us going and T.J. Kitts gave us a real spark with that big catch he made before the half. Nick is an outstanding runner.
It took everything we had to win. Chilhowie is big and tough. They played every down like it was the last one. They stacked the box with size like we have not seen. What a game.”
Chilhowie led 20-13 in first downs. Tazewell had four penalties for 50 yards and the Warriors were flagged eight times for 45.
Lexie Lambert was crowned Homecoming Queen at halftime.
Tazewell travels to George Wythe this week.
At Bulldog Stadium/Witten Field
Chilhowie.....................0 0 14 18 — 32
Tazewell.......................0 14 14 12 — 40
T – Jordan, 35-yard pass from Davis (run failed)
T – Davis, 5-yard run (Davis run)
C- Caudill, 6-yd run (run failed)
T – Blankenship, 58-yd. run (run failed)
C –Millsaps, 9-yd. run (Millsaps pass from Delp)
T – Hall, 80-yd. kick return (Davis run)
T -Blankenship, 10-yd. run (run failed)
C –Blevins, 35-yd. pass from Delp (Delp run)
T –Blankenship, 52-yd. run (pass failed)
C – safety
C – Price, 6-yd. pass from Delp (Delp run)