Liberty Christian beats Heritage 30-14 for Class 3-Regional C Championship

Liberty Christian beats Heritage 30-14 for Class 3-Regional C Championship 150 150 SWVA High School Sports


Liberty University, Williams Stadium, Lynchburg, Va – The VHSL football Class 3 Region C Final took place at Liberty University’s Williams Stadium Friday night in a game that pitted the Liberty Christian Academy Bulldogs against the visiting Heritage Pioneers.   This game had a state championship type feel as both of these Seminole district foes came into the contest red-hot.  Heritage trailed at the half, 16-7, but came out and quickly made it a 2 point game when they scored on their first possession in the 3rd quarter.  The turning point of the game came late in the 3rd quarter, when the Bulldog defense forced a takeaway on free safety Will Wycoff’s bone-jarring, fumble-causing tackle which was recovered by LCA on the Heritage 6 yard line. Two plays later, his brother Cade Wycoff ran it in from 4-yards out to put the Bulldogs up by 2 scores, 23-14, with 20 seconds left in the 3rd.  LCA iced the game with a 5 minute, 80 yard TD drive on their one possession in the 4th quarter and picked up a 30-14 victory to move on to the Class 3 State Championship semi-final against the Botetourt Cavaliers in Daleville, VA.  When asked about the matchup next Saturday, Coach Frank Rocco said “… I know that they are big and strong and a physical team… but, I mean our kids are just warriors, they’re great (Botetourt), I know, but we’ll show up and compete.”
First Qtr – LCA received the opening kickoff and 2 plays into their possession, RB/OLB 26 Cade Wycoff (22-169, TD rush, 1-4 rec) broke loose for a 51 yard run to Heritage’s 20 yard line.

LCA’s Cade Wycoff escapes Heritage defenders for a big gain

The Pioneer defense stiffened however, and came up with a big stop on 4th down.  After a Heritage punt, LCA’s WR/CB 1 Jaylin Belford returned the ball 53 yards to the Pioneers’ 1 yard line and on the next play QB 7 Davis Lane (12-59, 2 TD rush, 6/17-80, TD, INT pass) ran it in for the score.  The PAT was no good and LCA was up 6-0. 

Jaylin Belford’s punt return sets up the Bulldogs’ first score

It only took Heritage 17 seconds to take the lead when WR 13 Kenneth Crawford (1-73, TD rush, 3-42 rec) took the handoff on a reverse and ran 73 yards for pay dirt.  K 32 Karson Adcock kicked the PAT and Heritage was on top 7-6. 

Heritage’s Kenneth Crawford turns the corner and is off to the races for a 73-yard TD

The action didn’t stop there though as LCA moved 69 yards in a little under 4 minutes and regained the lead when QB 7 Lane hit TE/LB 22 Conner Hill for a 31 yard pass for the touchdown.  K 16 Chase Dupin split the uprights and the Bulldogs had the lead 13-7.

TE Conner Hill hauls in a Davis Lane pass and races to the end zone for a 31-yard LCA score

Second Qtr –  After the scoring flurry in the 1st quarter, both defensive units dug in and started coming up with stops.  The Pioneers stopped LCA on downs, forced 3 punts, and got an interception by DB/WR 5 Jaylen Pennick. 

LCA LB Dillon Stowers’ strips the ball as he tackles a Pioneer runner

Likewise, the Bulldogs forced 4 punts to go with 2 fumble recoveries and they converted one of Heritage’s fumbles into a 26 yard field goal by K 16 Dupin to take a 16-7 lead into the half.  
Third Qtr –  Heritage received the kickoff and it looked like their opening drive would end in a punt, but a roughing the kicker call against LCA gave them new life.   They cashed in their opportunity soon after when QB 14 Kameron Burns (6/20-91, TD) connected with WR/DB 6 Keshaun Hubbard for 36 yard touchdown pass.  K 32 Adcock added the PAT and it was a 16-14 LCA lead with 10 minutes left in the 3rd.

Heritage WR Keyshaun Hubbard’s 36 yard catch and run TD draws the Pioneers to within 2 points

The Pioneers’ defense forced a 3-and-out on LCA’s next drive and Heritage drove 46 yards to the Bulldogs’ 24 yard line after the punt.  The Pioneers could not convert on a 4th and 5 and LCA took over on downs.  The rushing combination of QB 7 Lane and RB/OLB 26 Cade Wycoff moved LCA to the Heritage 42 yard line, but on 4th and 4, Coach Rocco sent his punt team out.  P/TE/LB Dillon Stowers bobbled the snap, but was able to get a 38 yard punt off which pinned the Pioneers back on their 4 yard line.  It was on the next play that FS/WR 9 Will Wycoff made his presence known with the big hit that separated the ball from the runner and LCA recovered. 

LCA FS Will Wycoff forces a fumble on the tackle that leads to a Bulldog score

RB/LB 26 Cade Wycoff scored from the 4 yards out and K 16 Dupin made the extra point for a 23-14 LCA lead late in the 3rd.

Fourth Qtr – There was no quit in Heritage as they gave the ball to 21 RB Rajan Booker-Felder (26-128 yards) and RB/LB 25 Jermoine Morris (3-18) and quickly moved to LCA’s 7 yard line with a 1st and goal.

Heritage RB Rajan Booker had a big night rushing for 128 yards

 It was at that time that LCA called a timeout to regroup their defense.  After the timeout, Heritage had 2 running plays for a loss, a holding and delay of game penalty, while Bulldog FS 9 Will Wycoff had another crushing hit to break up a pass and suddenly Heritage had a 4th and goal from the 30 yard line.
LCA stopped them on 4th down and took over on their 20 where they gave the ball 8 straight times to RB/LB 26 Cade Wycoff and moved to the Pioneer 2 yard line where QB 7 Lane scored and K 16 Dupin added the PAT to seal the Region C championship 30 -14.

LCA’s Cade Wycoff takes handoff from Davis Lane through hole opened by Zach Rice

Offense: Rushing– LCA – Jaylin Belford 4-8, Davis Lane 12-59, 2 TD,  Cade Wycoff 22-169,  TD, Caleb Davidson 1-2, Thomas Murphy 2-8   Heritage  – Rajan.Booker-Felder 26-128,  Kameron Burns 5-(-19), Jermoine Morris 3-18, Kenneth Crawford 1-73, TD   

PassingLCA – Davis Lane 6/17-80, TD, INT   Heritage– Kameron Burns 6/20-91, TD  

ReceivingLCA – Will Wycoff 1-16, Cade Wycoff 1-4, Jaylin Belford 2-13,  Sullivan Holmes 1-16,  Conner Hill 1-31, TD  Heritage–  Keshuan Hubbard 1-36, TD,  Kenneth Crawford 3-42, Rajan Booker-Felder 2-13    

PuntingLCA – Dillon Stowers 6-35   Heritage – Kameron Johnson 5-37.2

First Quarter
    •    LCA: Lane 1-yard run (kick missed), 8:04
    •    HHS: Crawford 73-yard run (Adcock kick), 7:47
    •    LCA: Hill 31-yd pass from Lane (Dupin kick), 3:56
Second Quarter
    •    LCA: FG Dupin 26 yard, 2:30
Third Quarter
    •    HHS: Hubbard 36-yard pass from Burns (Adcock kick), 10:03
    •    LCA: Wycoff 4-yard run (Dupin kick), 0:20
Fourth Quarter
    •    LCA: Lane 2-yard run (Dupin kick), 2:22

Salem pulls away from GW in second half to win the Division 4-Region D Finals

Willis White Field, Spartans Stadium,
Salem, Va. – The visiting Eagles of GW Danville had to feel pretty good going into halftime notched at 14-14 with the home standing Salem Spartans. The problem for the Eagles was that they had to come out and play a second half. Salem, as they do so many times, took the second half kickoff and drove the ball for the go ahead score. This time it was RB 42 Zavione Wood’s 21-yard scoring run. Coach Don Holter’s Spartans never looked back. And Salem did it by only throwing the ball four times on the night. RB 42 Wood and FB 28 Cam Leftwich did most of the damage on the ground. Wood toted the rock 31 times for 279 yards and two scores. Leftwich scored three times and picked up 91 yards on 24 carries.

Salem FB 28 Cam Leftwich breaks tackles

The Salem defense gave up three scores, but still kept the explosive Eagles in check for most of the night. LB 7 Noah Collins led the way with 10 tackles. DL 51 Cam Martindale had a big day on the D-Line with five stops, an interception, a fumble recovery and a pass deflection. Salem Coach Holter challenged his O-line at halftime, “told the guys it was going to come down to the line of scrimmage… offense and defense. We especially challenged the o-line at halftime.” Salem moves on to the State Semifinals next week at home to face Tuscarora, who knocked the Spartans out of the playoffs last year.

First Quarter – GW Danville took the opening kickoff, but couldn’t sustain a drive. Salem, on the other hand, started the game just like they drew it up in practice driving and eating up clock for an opening score.

FB 28 Leftwich follows the Mules into the end zone

FB 28 Cam Leftwich finished it off with a 2- yard run with 7:39 left in Q1 to make it 7-0 with K 20 Wes Cross’ PAT. George Washington answered right back on their next possession. The Eagles moved the ball mostly in the air, short passes and runs. GW’s RB 4 Willie Edmunds got it into the end zone from 6 yards out at 3:49. The game was notched at 7 apiece.

GW RB 4 Willie Edmunds ties the game up

Second Quarter – It look like the Eagles might surge ahead after a 78-yard pass from QB 15 Jeb Byrnes to WR 17 Shyheim Watlington moved the ball to the thirteen but the Salem defense would force a into a turnover on downs.

Salem DL 51 Cam Martindale grabs a fumble

The Spartan defensive line, led by DL 73 Stacy Williams, DE 32 Ky’juan Waller, and DL 51 Cam Martindale were key to keeping the Eagle running game under wraps. Two series later, DL 51 Martindale picked off QB 15 Byrnes and returned it twenty yards. Four plays later FB 28 Leftwich made the Eagles pay with a 1 yard TD run. Salem led 14-7 at the 4:53 mark.

Eagle RB 1 Sha’Kobe Hairston ties it up on a one yard run

DL 51 Martinsdale also collected a fumble, accounting for two turnovers. Coach Holter lauded his Junior D-lineman, “I think the world of (DL DL 51 Cam Martindale. He’s intelligent, hardworking and he’s all over the field.”

Spartan RB 42 Zavione Wood

The GW defense would give the Eagles the ball back with good field position at the Salem twenty two by forcing a fumble of their own. RB 1 Hairston turned the trick again, diving over the pile at the one to tie it up a 14 apiece at the half.

Third Quarter – The second half was classic Salem football. When asked about his halftime speech to his troops, Coach Holter remarked, “We talked about focus and discipline. When you have those things, they allow you to execute you game plan in all three phases. We talked about playing with great physicality.” It showed early in the third quarter as Salem ate up clock, over six minutes, and took the lead they would never relinquish. FB 28 Leftwich powered in from the three, his third TD on the night.
Up 21-14, Salem’s defense got into the act again. Holding GW on downs at midfield. Once Salem regained possession, it took only five plays for the Spartans to extend their lead. RB 42 Wood finished off this march with a 13-yard run. K 20 Wes Cross nailed the point after for the 28-14 Spartan lead with :23 seconds left in the quarter.

Salem RB 42 celebrates a touchdown

RB 42 Wood and FB 28 Leftwich are special once they get in sync. Salem Coach Holter likes that they are old school, “Zavione (RB 42 Wood) is a special back. Our Fullback (FB 28 Cam Leftwich) is extremely physical, runs hard. Not only does he get the tough yards but he’ll block you. We like running ‘iso’, trap, and lead that a lot of folks don’t like doing anymore.”

Fourth Quarter – Both teams scored once more in the final stanza to get to the 35-21 final. GW fought back and RB 1 Sha’Kobe Hairston’s 1-yard run moved the Eagles closer, 28-21, with 9:19 left.

GW’s RB 1 Hairston scores on second effort

But Salem wouldn’t be denied. Exclusively keeping the ball on the ground, and behind “the Mules” (Salem’s O-line), Salem drove the ball. With less than two minutes left, RB 42 Wood put Salem up by two touchdowns, 35-21 with a 10-yard jaunt.

Salem’s Wood scores the game’s last points with two minutes left

GW quickly worked the ball back into Spartan’s territory near the thirty, but Salem DB 8 Chase Greer snatched what would be QB 15 Byrnes last toss and that was that. Salem’s ground game behind the “Mules” (The Spartans name for their O-line) stood out. Coach Holter made no apologies for keeping the ball on the ground and running the football, “We try to keep it simple here in Salem. Last time I checked, three times four is twelve, and that’s a first down. Patience is important.”

Salem, Division 4-Region 4D Champions now moves on to face the Tuscarora Huskies from Leesburg, a 21-13 winner over Broad Run. The last time these two teams faced was in 2019. The Huskies won 36-20 and advanced to the state finals, eventually losing to Lake Taylor.         – Cap’n Crunch

Rushing – 
Salem – Wood 31-279, 2TDs, Leftwich 24-91, 3TDs, Wilson 3-(-18)
GW Danville – Edmonds 17-87, TD, Dixon 2/5, Byrnes 5-7, Hairston 5-4, 2TDs, King 1 – (-1)
Passing – 
Salem– Wilson 1-4, 12
GW Danville – Byrnes 12-27, 248, 2 INTs
Salem– Collins 1-12
GW Danville – Watlington 4-104, Howard 3-76, King 2-47, Dixon 2-18, Spratt 1-5  

First Quarter-
Salem: Leftwich 2-yd TD run; Cross PAT good
GW Danville: Edmunds 6-yd TD run; Deandrea PAT good
Second Quarter-
Salem: Leftwich 1-yd TD run;; Cross PAT good
GW Danville: Hairston 1-yd TD run; Deandrea PAT good
Third Quarter-
Salem: Leftwich 3-yd TD run;; Cross PAT good
Salem: Wood 21-yd TD run;; Cross PAT good
GW Danville: Hairston 1-yd TD run; Deandrea PAT good
Fourth Quarter-
Salem: Wood 10-yd TD run; Cross PAT good

Galax defense makes 21 first half points hold up in Division 1-Region C Finals win

Galax, Va. – The Maroon Tide is not an easy team to play especially in the playoffs, and they showed why at Friday Night’s Division 1C Regional Finals. Galax beat a very good Narrows Green Wave team 21-0. Coach Kelly Lowe’s Narrows team had only given up one score all year long but Galax put three TDs on the board in the first half and then their hard hitting defense made it stand up. Narrows settled down in the second half on defense, stopping two Maroon Tide drives, forcing a fumble at the Narrows one and intercepting Galax QB 8 Cole Pickett. That was the only thing that Pickett didn’t do well Friday. The 6’3, 195-lb Senior threw for 203 yards on a 15/19 night with one score in the air and one on the ground. Most of that came in the first half. It seemed every time Galax needed to extend a drive, Pickett either threw a receiver open or took off and picked it up himself. Coach Kelly Lowe was disappointed with the outcome but gave credit to The Maroon, “We got started slow, but hats off to Galax. They are a great football team. But I’m really proud of the way our kids responded in the second half… came out, played aggressive and hard.”

The Green Wave takes the field

First Quarter – Narrows received the opening kick to start the contest. The Green Wave found the going on the ground tough from the jump. The Galax defense stuffed the first two runs for 3-yards total, and when QB 11 Neil Bowman’s pass fell incomplete, the visitors had to punt. Galax took over on their own nineteen and went to the air right away.

Galax QB 8 Cole Pickett finds HB 10 Kolby Barnes

QB/FS 8 Cole Pickett, found his H-back/LB 10 Kolby Barnes for six yards. Mixing the pass and run, The Maroon steadily moved the ball downfield. Keeping the Green Wave guessing was part of the strategy. Galax Coach Shane Allen said as much after the game, “We knew they were not going to let us just run the football. They loaded the box and made us throw the football.”

HB/LB 10 Barnes gets behind the defense for a big catch

Twice Narrows pushed Galax to third down, but each time The Maroon answered the call. RB/DB 9 Keaton Beeman collected five yards on a third and three at their own thirty-seven. But the back breaker for Narrows, was a third and fifteen at the Green Wave twenty seven. This is where QB 8 Pickett’s skill set really came to the ‘fore. Finding WR 28 Sam Olinger in a crease the duo combined for a yard more than needed to move the sticks. The drive would end with a TD pass to WR 2 Kolton Keatley from 10 yards out.

Maroon WR 2 Kolton Keatley splits two defenders for a 10-yard touchdown catch

Pickett moved the ball around through the air all night, utilizing six different receivers. Coach Allen was happy with his QB’s performance, “It helps when you have a four year starter back there (at QB) and with the receivers we have.” With Galax finding success throwing the ball and with their balanced rushing attack, that put a lot of pressure on the Green Wave defense. Prior to that first TD toss, the Green Wave had only surrendered one score all year, a lone TD and 2 point to conversion the week before.

Second Quarter – The Galax defense frustrated the Narrows offense as the game continued. A big part of playoff football is making the big play when the big play presents itself.

FS/QB 8 Pickett picks off a Narrow’s pass

On The Maroon’s second drive, Coach Allen’s Charges were on the move again. Following up their 81-yard opening drive, Galax added a 76-yard march. Three big pass plays and double digit run highlighted the seven play series. Again, QB 8 Pickett guided the home team through another long third down to keep the drive going. Staring at third and eleven on the Narrow’s forty, Pickett threw RB 9 Beeman open, waiting for the pattern to develop. Credit the Galax offensive line for giving Pickett time to find his receivers. When the Green Wave finally started to get pressure, Pickett showed his feet and picked up positive yardage.

Galax RB 7 Javonte Reeves darts around the right end for six points

RB 7 Javonte Reeves took the ball around the right end from 11-yards out and Galax led 14-0 at the 11:28 mark.
The Maroon would add one more with 2:53 until halftime. The 74-yard drive was all passing until the end. Pickett made good on passes of 18, 23, and 14 yards to advance the ball to the Green Wave twenty. Again a big pass for a third down and eleven pick up from Narrows forty-three kept the drive alive. The play before LB 23 Ty Robertson had finally dropped Pickett for a sack, but it mattered little when the Senior picked up the first down on the next toss.
QB 8 Pickett finished off the drive himself. As Coach Kelly Lowe started to bring more and more pressure, Pickett was flushed from the pocket. But the heady Senior stepped away from the pressure and took off.

Narrows DB 18 Derek Johnston sends Galax QB 8 Pickett head over heels

DB 18 Derek Johnston sent the signalcaller head over heels at the one, but Pickett bulled in from a yard out to make it a 21-0 game at the break.

Pickett takes it in from the one for Galax

Second Half – Narrows came out and played defense in the second half like the Green Wave faithful had seen all year. The Narrows defense gave up yards but no points on The Maroon’s first drive.

Narrows Head Coach Kelly Lowe fires up his defense in the second half

A big hit on Pickett at the goal line forced a fumble at their own goaline.

Narrows DB 14 Logan Green gets the pick

The next time Galax had the ball DB 14 Logan Green picked off Pickett in the middle of the field in Green Wave territory. The defense had regained their swagger, but the offense couldn’t solve the hard nosed Galax D.
Narrows was held to 70 total yards rushing and only 7 first downs for the night. Galax Coach Allen was happy with the Regional Championship, but said there was work that needed to be done. “We made way too many mistakes in that second half. We have to clean that up. We’ve got to go play a really good Holston team. They are dynamic.”   – Cap’n Crunch

Galax Head Coach Shane Allen accepts the Region 3C Championship trophy

Rushing – 
Galax – Beeman 6-28, Reeves 5-23, TD, Pickett 10-17, TD, Ashworth 1-7, Team 2-(-11)  Narrows – Bowman 11-40, Jacob Robertson 6-18, Snidow 3-9, Ty Robertson 3-3
Passing – 
Galax– Pickett 15-19, 203, TD, INT  Narrows – Bowman 3-15, 42, INT
Galax – Keatley 4-78, TD, Beeman 4-71, Ashworth 4-27, Olinger 2-22, Vera 1-21, Barnes 1-18  Narrows – Green 2-32, Pruett 1-10
Galax– Vera 1-38 yd avg  Narrows – Bowman 3-31 yd avg

First Quarter
Galax: Pickett 9-yd TD pass to Keatley; Vera PAT good
Second Quarter
Galax: Reeves 11-yd TD run ; Vera PAT good
Galax: Pickett 1-yd TD run; Vera PAT good

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