NARROWS, Va. — The Narrows High School football team is unbeaten approaching the midpoint of its 2019 regular season campaign. Now that a win against arch-rival Giles is in the books, the Next Big Deal approaches.
The Green Wave will be gunning to be 5-0 for the first time since 2002 when Narrows (4-0) heads up Interstate 81 to face Holston (3-1) at Damascus, Va., on Friday night.
“I’ve never been 5-0, so it’s been 17 years,” said Narrows head coach Kelly Lowe, whose father, Don Lowe, was Green Wave head coach the last time the program made it unbeaten through the half-season.
The Spartans’ customary position on the Green Wave slate has been the spoiler in recent years. Aside from that, Narrows has been thriving under the younger Lowe and might’ve already collected a ‘high five’ or two if not for that jinx, which was finally dispelled in a 20-8 win at Pearisburg, Va. two weeks ago.
Lowe’s squad has since had an intervening open date to scrub away any potential hubris that might bubble up in the aftermath. Narrows has other bitter rivals in the VHSL Class 1 Pioneer District, and beyond, as well as ambitions to attain heights no other Green Wave squad has previously achieved.
Lowe wants to keep his players moving in one direction: forward.
“We’ve played Holston the last two years. They’ve gotten better each year we’ve played them and they’ve got a very good team right now,” Lowe said.
Two Cavs offensive skill players who’ve caught Lowe’s eye include Quaheim Brooks, who passed for 108 yards and three scores in a 37-29 loss to Rural Retreat last week, and fullback Austin Faris, a 6-3, 240-pound load at fullback.
“They’ve got a very good quarterback who’s very elusive and we’re going to have to do a good job of containing him. They’ve got a big strong fullback who runs hard between the tackles. And they’ve got two running backs to go along with that guy who are pretty elusive and run extremely hard. And they’re very well-coached. They do what they do very well,” he said.
Matthew Morgan leads the Green Wave rushing attack with 344 yards in 46 carries while running back Chad Blaker (36-238) and his brother, quarterback Chase Blaker (51-246) have been regular participants in the land grab.
Chase Blaker, the younger brother of former Narrows quarterback Cole Blaker, has completed 22-of-42 passing attempts for 338 yards and three touchdowns. The Wave’s leading receiver have been Dustin Wiley (8-201, 3 TDs) and Reid Bowman (6-57).
Defense has been a particular virtue for Narrows this season, with a host of playmakers figuring in key stops from one week to the next.
“We’ve got five kids from 18 tackles to 36 tackles. It’s a good mix right there,” Lowe said.
Chase Blaker, Jake Robertson, Ty Robertson, Bowman, Wiley, Fleet McDaniel, and Isaiah Coffey have all made big plays. The bookends are bad news: Morgan leads the team with six sacks and has eight tackles for loss. Cole Needham has four sacks and seven tackles for loss. Chase Blaker has two interceptions so far. As a team, the Narrows defense has collected five fumbles.
“What we’re focused on is us. We feel like if we do what we do well, then we’ve got a pretty good chance to win each night. That’s been the MO for us offensively and defensively. We take care of our job and our responsibility and we feel like it’ll put us in a good position,” Lowe said.
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