Patrick Henry’s defense stands tall in Patriot 14-6 win over Hidden Valley in opener

Patrick Henry’s defense stands tall in Patriot 14-6 win over Hidden Valley in opener 150 150 SWVA High School Sports

Patrick Henry HS, Roanoke, VA – Hidden Valley and Patrick Henry squared off on a Monday night no less, at Merle Gainer field in a close, hard fought battle. The Patriots, with some great defense, eeked out the 14-6 win over the Titans. First games of any season are always a challenge, but this years opener was that, times ten. Without a preseason to speak of, local teams hit the field this week not knowing much about what they were showing up with. Sure, there would be some some starters coming back but for the most part so many things have changed that this Spring pandemic season is a roll of the dice. But as they say, when one door closes another opens. Patrick Henry Coach Fiddler recognized the challenges but may have found an additional weapon in is his backfield, “No scrimmages, short camp, really didn’t know what we were going to get. Tried to rely on our older kids. A younger one came through for us.

Patrick Henry Freshman RB 22 Arjuan Webb

He’s (RB 22 Arjuan Webb) only a Freshman.” Hidden Valley Coach Scott Weaver also has felt the challenges of this Spring Season. He thought his Titans performed well for the most part. “Game one, no scrimmages and you hold them to fourteen, then yes…. I thought we did really well. I thought our offense moved the ball really well. We just have to finish those drives and we win the ballgame.” Hidden Valley had their chances. Twice in the third quarter they moved the ball inside the two only to be turned away twice on fourth down. At the time the game was notched at 6-6. Give credit where credit is due. The Patriot defense had a bend but don’t break mentality, and it paid off this night. Patrick Henry Coach talked about these early games. “It’s always a battle, (you) never know what you’re going to get in the first one (first game), especially this year,”

Hidden Valley LB/HB 15 Ashton Carroll brings down Patrick Henry RB 6 Elijah Davis

First Quarter
The first quarter was a topsy-turvy start with both teams turning the ball over. PH took the opening kick and proceeded to drive the ball deep into Titan territory. The Pats moved the ball on the running of QB 3 Roy Gunn and RB 6 Elijah Davis early on. Gunn also was effective through the air.

Patriot WR 4 Tashawn Webb goes up high for a catch

But the Hidden Valley defense brought that first promising drive to a halt when they held PH on downs at their own thirty-seven. QB 3 was brought down just short of the mark. HV gave it right back with a quick three and out. Patrick Henry drove the ball again. This time the pats made it to the Titan fourteen before DB 7 Joey Strong got the ball back on an interception.

HV Sophomore DB 7 Joey Strong makes a return after he intercepts a pass

The Sophomore picked off QB 3 Gunn near the five, but a good INT return was brought back to the seven on a holding penalty. Hidden Valley gave it right back on an interception of their own. DB 9 Body Kahoun snagged QB 16 Dragovich’s pass at the 5:45 mark to put the Pats back in business at the Titan twenty four. Three plays later, RB 6 Elijah Davis was stripped of the ball by Senior veteran DB 20 Matt Strong on the Titan ten. Back and forth the game went. The first quarter ended 0-0.

Titan QB 16 Sam Dragovich makes a pass while being protected by OL 78 Jay Phelps

Second Quarter
That scoreless tie didn’t last long. QB 3 Gunn found WR/LB 5 Gavin McCormick on a 12-yard TD pass. The extra point was low and subsequently blocked. PH led 6-0 at the 11:52 mark.

Patrick Henry WR/LB 5 Gavin McCormick runs it in for six after the catch

It looked as though HV may dent the scoreboard on their next drive. RB 20 Matt Strong carried the mail for the Titans on this drive and most of the night. QB 16 Dragovich completed two passes on the drive, but the quarterback would give it back to PH. The Junior coughed it up on the fourteen.
The next time Hidden Valley got the ball, they went back to work. QB 16 Dragovich found HB 15 Ashton Carroll on a couple tosses for 13 and 9 yards to get it down to the Patriot thirty two.

Titan HB/LB 15 Ashton Carroll barrels down the sideline Tuesday night

Five plays later, on fourth down and ten at the thirty, QB 16 Dragovich made a nifty scramble, where he reversed is roll out left back to the middle of the field. The QB found WB 14 Tyler McDaniel in the back of the endzone.

Hidden Valley WR 14 Tyler McDaniel hauls in a 30-yard TD catch in tight defense

McDaniel was well defended but the tall, 6’4 receiver hauled it in. Following the play, offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties were called and marked off before the extra point was kicked. Normally these two penalties offset, but since it was in the PH end of the field, HV ‘s penalty was walked off from the three out fifteen yards. Contrary to that, PH’s penalty was stepped off as half the distance to the goal since it was inside the twenty. That made a punch extra point, now a 25-yard boot. HV kicker 8 Brody Layman kick just missed right and the game stayed tied at 6-6. That’s the way the half ended.

Third Quarter
The start of the second half was all Hidden Valley. The Titans took the opening drive and made it to the Patriot nine before being turned away on downs. The Titan defense did their part too. PH moved the ball out to the sixteen but stalled. After a short 17 yard punt,
Hidden Valley came right back down the field on the running of RB 20 Strong and Sophomore RB 10 Jadon LaTempa. Again the PH defense stiffened at the three, turning the Titans away on a incomplete pass on fourth down.

Patrick Henry’s defense, led by LB 5 Gavin McCormick, came up with the big stops in the third quarter. Titan FB 32 Steven Robertson looks for running room.

Fourth Quarter
In the final quarter, PH finally took the lead on a QB 3 Gunn run from a yard out with 5:18 left in the game. PH drove the ball sixty yards to position themselves for the go ahead score.

Patrick Henry QB 3 Roy Gunn looks to throw or run

PH went for two and Gunn kept it himself to make it 14-6. Hidden Valley made one more run at the end zone on their last drive of the night. The Titans used fourteen plays and made it to the Patriots thirteen, but again a fourth down incompletion ended their hopes. Credit PH’s defense. Their D-backs made the plays when they needed to. Patrick Henry ran out the clock for the 14-6 win. Hidden Valley Coach Weaver spoke about missed opportunities after the game, but he gave the Patriots credit. Coach Weaver simplified it for his team. “We told our kids before the game and at halftime. The team who was going to win was going to give more effort and make the big plays. (Tonight) It was really two big plays. We were down inside the two yard line on two different drives. With our size, our line, and our backs you got to do it. We could have put this game away in the third quarter and we didn’t. PH is well coached and they made plays when they needed to.”

This first week of football has many teams in the area playing two games only a few days apart. In football it’s tough to recover and be ready. But the bottom line is everyone is thankful just to be playing.

Hidden Valley’s (0-1) next game is Saturday versus Pulaski County (1-0). Patrick Henry (1-0) will travel down I-81 to take on Blacksburg (0-1) in a rare Sunday game.

Offense: RushingPatrick Henry– Davis 18-83, A Webb 7-26, Gunn 10-22, TD, 2ptr, Medley 2-5 Hidden Valley– Strong 18-80, LaTempa 13-72, Dragovich 8-16 PassingPatrick Henry– Gunn 20/34, 216, TD, INT  Hidden Valley– Dragovich 15/24, 111, TD, INT  ReceivingPatrick Henry– Pedigo 6-48, A Webb 4-33, T Webb 3-41, Taylor 2-60, Medley 2-21, Davis 2-1, McCormick 1-12, TD  Hidden Valley– Carroll 4-41, McDaniel 3-52, TD, Strong 3-7, Robertson 2-3, Pardon 1-10, Simmons 1-5, LaTempa 1-(-7), PuntingPatrick Henry– Medley 2-36.5  Hidden Valley Dragovich 2-39.5


  • PH: Gunn to McCormick 12-yd TD pass; Morrill PAT blocked
  • HV: Dragovich to McDaniel 30-yd TD pass; Layman PAT
  • PH: Gunn 1-yd TD run; Gunn 3-yd run on 2 point conversion
                                                            – Cap’n Crunch & The Machine  


Blocked punt for TD and ‘Pick 6’ in first half aids Bees in opening win over LCA

Brookville H.S., Lynchburg, VA – The first game of the year can often be sloppy and wanting for action. That wasn’t the case at Stinger Stadium on Thursday night’s game between Brookville and Liberty Christian. The Bees came out on top in the end 25-14, but both teams showed pretty well considering how little time their teams have had together. This year’s Spring Football schedule can be challenging. Both Brookville and Liberty Christian Academy experienced that tension, as they drew each other to play in their first game. Two strong teams expected to be in the running for the Seminole District championship this year having to meet on the first night is tough. LCA Coach Rocco was disappointed and encouraged both. “We just haven’t had our guys to practice (post season basketball, and wrestling success kept kids in winter sports longer.) Mistakes killed us today, but in many ways I thought we played really well.”

Liberty Christian DB 1 Jaylin Belford pass defends against Brookville WR 1 Jahee Blake

Brookviille Coach Jon Meeks talked about their reaction when they saw that first game this spring. “We saw that (game) on our schedule and our staff agreed that’s a brutal way to start.  For all intent and purposes, for me it felt like the first round of the playoffs. out of the gate with no scrimmage I felt like we were in a playoff game tonight with the caliber team they were.”
The Bees of Brookville came out on top 25-14 over the Bulldogs in a game that was much closer than the final score.  The Bees forced two timely interceptions and blocked a punt for a score. One of those ‘picks’ was DB 28 Tashaun Butler’s one hundred and eight yard ‘pick six.’ The Junior crossed the goal line with no time left on the clock right before half. 

Bee DB 28 Tayshaun Butler hauls in an eventual ‘Pick 6’ in the endzone

Brookville Coach Jon Meeks knew his speedy DB could turn that interception into something special right away.
That momentum swinging swipe and score made it 12-7, after the two point try was no good. For a first game of the season, Brookville’s defense made the needed plays to get the win.

Dunford and Butler celebrate

First Quarter – Liberty Christian’s offensive line is impressive with Junior OL 50 Zach Rice anchoring the trenches for the Bulldogs. Early on, LCA showed their ability to move the ball on the ground, but turnover’s thwarted the Bulldog’s efforts all night.

LCA OL 50 Zach Rice anchors the Bulldogs line

LCA made the first scoring threat of the night on their first offensive series. The Bulldogs  made it to the Bees seven yardline, but Brookville DB 4 Caleb Christian made the big INT near the goal line to stop LCA in their tracks.

Bee DB 4 Caleb Christian picks off a pass on LCA’s first drive

LCA’s defense was stifling early on in this one, but the Bee’s defense may have gave up some early yards, but they didn’t give up any points. On LCA’s second possession, Brookville’s defense pinned the Bulldogs deep in their own territory and then brought the pressure. The result was a blocked punt. After a mad scramble for the ball, DB/WR 1 Jahee Blake ended up with it in the endzone for the games first points

Brookville LB 1 Jahee Blake comes up with a recovery after a blocked punt for the game’s first points. LCA blocked the point after and it was 6-0, Bees. Coach Meeks was happy they spent a little more time this week on special teams. “I was really proud of our special teams. We have been preaching that, in a short preseason. With minimum preparation time, we just put a little extra time in on that. We thought the team that made the big special team play was going to win (tonight). Getting that blocked punt for the touchdown and then our kicker did a great job (all night) placing the kickoffs and not giving them good starting field position.” The quarter ended with the Bees up 6-0.

LCA RB 26 Cade Wycoff looks for running room

Second Quarter – LCA went ahead early in the second quarter on a four yard TD run by QB 7 Davis Lane. With only :08 off the clock in the quarter, the Bulldogs had taken the lead 7-6 with the extra point. After that, the defenses settled in until turnovers started the LCA offense moving again. DB/WR 1 Jaylin Belford  mishandled a Brookville punt at the LCA twenty four which Brookville recovered. But the Bees gave it right back when RB/LB 3 Lance Blankenship was stripped at the thirteen. Bulldop LB 22 Connor Hill made the recovery. That exchange led to Liberty’s drive to the end of the half and consequently, DB 28 Butler’s big defensive play on the last play of the first half. Meeks had praise for the young man. “Tayshaun (DB 28 Butler) s special. When he caught it, I ain’t going to lie, I thought he had a chance (to take it back all the way). Then you worry about someone catching him from behind or running out of gas, but he didn’t. He got a nice block from Lance (LB 3 Blankenship)…really helped spring him. That’s just a kid making an unbelievable play.”

Butler’s INT with :00 time remaining in the half was a big lift for Brookville

Third Quarter – Liberty Christian regrouped at half and came out in the third swinging. On their first second half drive, the Bulldogs drove it fifty yards on ten plays to take the lead. QB 7 Davis hit RB/LB 22 Hill in the flat on first down on the Bee’s ten yardline.

TE 22 Conner Hill catches a 10-yard TD pass for the Bulldogs

The Senior  rolled into the endzone. The point after by K 16 Chase Dupin  put the visitors up 14-6.  Credit Brookville Coach Meeks for regrouping quickly. It took the Bees only three plays to retake the lead. QB 7 Drake McDonald found WR 11 Nikolas Dunford  over the middle on a post pattern.

WR 11 Nikolas Dunford hauls in a 65-yard TD pass for Brookville

Dunford made the catch between two defenders, kept his feet and dashed the balance of the 65 yards to paydirt. Brookville went for two but LB 9 Will Wycoff picked off QB 7 McDonald near the left front pilon. Brookville’s lead was 18-14. 

Fourth Quarter – That’s the way it would stay until halfway through the final quarter. RB 2 Silas Rucker  motored in from four yards to in essence put the game out of reach. The point after by K 23 Ethan Brown was good, 25-14 Brookville. LCA attempted to throw their way back into the game from there, but the Bee defense pinned their ears back and went after QB 7 Lane. After an incompletion on first down, LCA’s Junior QB  was sacked again, this time for a seven yard loss by LB 6 Chad Pouncy at the Bulldog thirty four. On third down, LB 1 Blake got back into the action with a sack of his own. That was the third sack in that seven play series, as both LB 6 Pouncy and LB 1 Blake combined for a QB tackle for a loss a few plays earlier. LCA was forced to punt and the Bees were able to run out the clock and escape with a big Seminole District win. Coach Meeks was happy with his teams determination, “We respect them. We knew they were going to be a tough team. “ Coach Rocco likes his team this year. You get that impression but he gave credit where credit is due to his opponent this night. “They (Brookville) are a really good team.

Brookville RB 2 Silas Rucker on the move

It’s a shame we had to play them right out of the gate without the preparation. My hats off to them. They play hard. They are tough kids. As well as we did tonight and moved the ball, they proved to be the tougher team tonight.
In a football schedule never seen or tried before, Virginia high schools are continuing to push the limits of achieving a six game season in a few weeks. Brookville (1-0) will play Liberty-Bedford (0-1) next Friday. LCA (0-1) returns home to take on Jefferson Forest (1-0).  
                                                                           – Cap’n Crunch

Offense: RushingBrookville – Rucker 10-44, TD, McDaniel 1-17, Butler 4-(-7), Blankenship 1-3, Pouncy 1-2 LCA– C Wycoff 11-59, Belford 3-58, Lane 7-6, TD, Murphy 3-9, Davidson 5-8, W Wycoff 1-1  PassingBrookville – McDaniel 5-9, 143, TD, INT  LCA – Lane 9-18, 84, TD, 2-INTs  ReceivingBrookville – Duford 2-104, TD, Blake 2-38, Butler 1-1, Rucker 1-0 LCA – W Wycoff 3-49, Stowers 2-20, Belford 3-15, Hill 1-10, TD  PuntingBrookville– Pauley 3-25  LCA Stowers 3-35


  • BRK: Blake TD on a blocked punt into the end zone; Brown PAT blocked
  • LCA: Lane 4-yd TD run; Dupin PAT
  • BRK: Butler 108-yd INT for TD; Brown PAT missed
  • LCA: Lane 10-yd TD pass; Dupin PAT
  • BRK: McDaniel 65-yard TD pass to Dunford; 2pt attempt failed
  • BRK: Rucker 2-yrd TD run: Brown PAT
           – Cap’n Crunch & The Machine  


Salem beats Christiansburg 35-13 in opener for the Blue Demons

Christiansburg H.S., Christiansburg, VA –
It’s not opening up a season in a pandemic with limited practices and reps. Couple that with taking on the Salem Spartans, after they have a game under their belt and this is your first go … doesn’t bode well for most anyone.
Those are the cards Christiansburg drew. C-burg Coach Wilkens talked about some first game issues. “A lot of people say the biggest growth is from game one to game two. In the first half we had some run fits and that hurt us. We were just a pinch away from certain plays that really hurt, made the score look worse than it was. I was really proud of our kids.” The Spartans scored touchdowns on three of their four first quarter drives. Salem not only scores more times than not, but they eat up big chunks of clock. Coach Holter was and is especially proud of his line, “They are tough and gritty, take a lot of pride in what they do. We have two brand new tackles this year – OL 78 Phillip Dehaven, and OL 79 Andy Lutes, just a Sophomore, on the other side.

Salem’s O-line is oft referred to as ‘The Mules’

Then we have two veteran guards and the center – 55 Alex Haley, 52 Brady Torian, and 63 Will Clemons in there. They kind of lead the way, make the calls, instill what it means to be a ‘mule’ in them. Got (TE 14) Jake Massey at tightend. All five of those guys will get after you.” And get after you they do.

Salem FB 28 Cam Leftwich bulls his way forward

First Half
Salem is like facing a train on the tracks. Once they get their machine going they are hard to slow down. Having said that, Christiansburg has good personnel, good size, and a good balance of speed and skill guys. But you can’t get behind the Spartans and have to play catch up and expect to win.

Christiansburg’s defense is stout. DB 8 Casey Graham and LB 9 Drew Lloyd

Coach Wilkens talked about what Salem is known for, “You ask anybody what Salem does well, … they don’t beat themselves. We made them drive the length of the field every possession, but we weren’t able to get off the field when we needed to.”
Salem took the opening kickoff and marched the ball 69-yards for the games first points. The Blue Demons worked the visitors into a fourth down situation once at Christiansburg’s thirty seven, but QB 11 Chauncey Logan found his FB 28 Cam Leftwich rolling across the middle for the first down pick up.

FB 28 Cam Leftwich is a weapon as a pass catcher for the Spartans as well. Blue Demon DB 8 Casey Graham readies to make the tackle

Three other times the Blue Demons got the Spartans into third downs, but couldn’t get off the field. Salem RB 42 Zavione Wood is the man who is going to get the ball most of the time. The Senior runs hard and can break it long if he gets a crease.

Salem RB 42 Zavione Wood darts through a hole in the Blue Demon defense

Wood finished the day with 215 yards on 25 carries and scored once. Salem Coach Holter was happy with his ball club and has some new faces on his O-line, “They just went to work… did a great job in their prep, maturity, and discipline. Things we discuss every day. Three days to get ready for a team like Christiansburg and I’m proud of them.”
The C-burg defense forced a fumble by RB 42 Wood on Salem’s second possession, and that jump started their offense. Two runs by the Blue Demons, two yards by QB 7 M.J. Hunter and then ten more from RB 42 Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon and C-burg was sitting pretty on the Salem thirty seven.

Blue Demon RB 42 Kenyon Johnson-Buchannon totes the rock for Christiansburg

Coach Alex Wilkens wasted little time and went for the quick strike. QB 7 Hunter hit WR 2 Travis Altizer right down the middle of the middle of the field on a go route. WR 2 Altizer hauled it in. After a few penalties, the ensuing extra point was blocked, but the game was close at 7-6 with 11:54 in the second. “We have been very fortunate to have number 7 for four years. We are excited about him. He’s a good ball player, gutsy…makes big plays,” Coach Wilkens remarked.

C-burg QB 7 M.J. Hunter quarterbacks the Blue Demon offense

Salem came right back with a 13-play, clock eater. RB 42 Wood capped it off from two yards out to make it 14-6 with K 20 Wes Cross’ point after.
C-burg looked to answer on their next drive. And when RB 42 broke off a 26-yard gain on third and one down to the Salem thirteen, the home team faithful had some hope that this game may come down to a one score difference. But Salem’s defense had other ideas. Three running plays netted four yards and on fourth and six, Hunter’s pass fell incomplete. The Salem defense turned up the pressure and got off the field. 
The Spartans answered that with another drive ending in six points. This time it took eight plays for QB 11 Logan to find WR 2 Shaun Collins in the endzone from the twelve. The Senior bobbled it but then gathered it in. The left footed K 20 Cross nailed the point after and Salem led 21-6 at the break.

Salem WR/DB 2 Shawn Collins high points a TD pass from QB 11 Logan

Third Quarter
Salem’s special teams did the trick at the start of the second half. Christiansburg got the ball to start but couldn’t advance it. The Blue Demon punt was short and WR/DB 2 Collins caught the ‘wounded duck’ seven yards beyond the line of scrimmage and then out ran everyone to the endzone.

Collins catches a short punt and returns it for a TD early in the second half for Salem

With less than two minutes gone in the second half, Salem had increased their lead to 28-6. Coach Holter complimented the Blue Demons.

C-burg Coach Alex Wilkens talks to WR/DB 5 Jaxson Clarke

”That’s a great coaching staff over there. They love what they’re doing and they are great for high school football. Having to play Christiansburg on three days rest. I don’t know if playing a game was an advantage or not but it was fun (Salem beat Blacksburg on Tuesday). You didn’t really get to enjoy that much because it’s time to get ready for a very difficult Christiansburg team who has great size, good speed. What they do with that double wing and gun. You have to keep your eyes disciplined and trained. Takes a little bit to get used to that.”

Fourth Quarter
Both teams added a score in the final stanza. Salem got their touchdown at the 9:34 mark. It was QB 11 Logan to WR 2 Collins again, this time from 29 yards out. Collins is long and fast. Once he gets it in his mitts you better close quickly or he’s going to be ringing up points on you. That made the tally 35-6, Salem.

Salem WR 2 Shawn Collins adds his third TD of the day

Christiansburg added a score late as some backups got some work. RB 1 Christian Cunningham broke off a nice 78-yard run to set up the last score. RB 8 Casey Graham took it in from the seven with a minute left in the game to get us to the final margin, 35-13. Coach Wilkens spoke highly of the Spartans, “We were excited to play Salem game one. They are where we aspire to be.”

Salem Head Coach Don Holter works the sidelines

Salem now stands at 2-0 and is now looking towards a matchup with Patrick Henry (2-0). Christiansburg goes from the pot into the fire as they face a Coach Mark Dixon Pulaski County Cougar team who is also 2-0.
                                                                                                       – Cap’n Crunch

Offense: RushingSalem– Wood 25-215, TD, Leftwich 12-43, TD, Williams 3-18, Logan 2-6, Collins 1-5 Christiansburg– Johnson-Buckannon 9-43, Graham 5-21, TD, Hunter 10-24, Lloyd 4-0, Cunningham 1-78 PassingSalem– Logan 8-13, 82, 2TDs  Christiansburg– Hunter 6-13, 64, TD  ReceivingSalem– Collins 2-41, 2TDs, Massey 1-14, Leftwich 2-11, Jordan McDonald 2-9, Jayden McDonald 1-7  Christiansburg– Altizer 1-37, TD, Lloyd 3-26, Thaxton 1-2, Taylor 1-1 PuntingSalem– Logan 2-32  Christiansburg Fetrow 4-27.5


  • S; Cameron 1-yd TD run; Cross PAT
  • C: Hunter to Altizer 37-yd TD pass; Dixon PAT missed
  • S: Wood 2-yd TD run: Cross PAT
  • S: Logan to Collins 12-yds: Cross PAT
  • S: Collins 31-yd punt return for TD: Cross PAT
  • S: Logan to Collins 5-yds: Cross PAT
  • C: Graham 7-yd TD run: Dixon PAT


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