Month: November 2015

Fort Chiswell Boys Basketball 2015-16 Preview

Max Meadows… The Fort Chiswell Pioneers are under the direction of head coach Derrick Jackson, who’s in his 10th year. He will have Jerard Blevins, Josh Wingate and Anthony Watson as his assistants. Coach Blevins will be the junior varsity head coach. The Pioneers will have six seniors, three juniors and two sophomores.

Fort Chiswell will play their usual district foes, Galax, Grayson Co., Narrows, Bland Co. and Graham. Their out of district schedule will have county rivals George Wythe and Rural Retreat. They play Chilhowie, Tazewell, Eastern Montgomery and their usual three-game Christmas Tournament. The Pioneers will actually play Graham only once for their 22 game schedule.

Coach Jackson was asked to give a few words about each of his players. He started with his seniors. (Bryson Booher) is quick, can shoot and handle the ball. Does a good job at point guard for us. Will rely on him a great deal this upcoming year. (Jared Stephens) is a good inside player at 6-2. Plays hard, Good jump shooter out to 12 feet. Good defender.”

“(Ben Porter) is a 6-3 post player. Strong, quick .Was in weight room in off-season a lot. (Ben Van Dyne) is a 5-9 guard, strong with ball. Will see action at both guard positions. (Cole Underwood) didn’t play last year. He’s 6-6, big body. Space eater. Defends the rim. Will see some time.” (Elliott Delp) is a physical wing player . 5-11/ 6-0. Likes to mix it up. Strong and athletic.”

Coach then started on his junior players. “(Colby Rider) is a 6-3 post player, his third year on varsity. Very strong, finishes strong. Physical player. (Andrew Stoots) will play some guard for us. Was on JV last year. Football player who is a basketball scorer. (Dallas Beasley) shoots well, was on JV last year. He’s an outside threat.”

The two sophomores will be Tanner Bailey and Isaiah Ramsey. Coach remarked on Bailey by saying, ”Is a 6-1 wing player. Athletic, Penetrates well. We need him to step up for us. Can help us. (Isaiah Ramsey) is a 6-2 wing player. Athletic and has a good shot. Needs to learn to drive and create more. Physical.”

Coach Jackson summed up the district this way, ”Galax’s Verle Brown does an excellent job for them. That seems to always find a way to be tough. Always play good defense.”

(Grayson Co.) will have a new coach. Lot of their players are back from a disappointing season for them last year. (Graham) will be very tough. Lost their best player but returns some talented kids. Their JV was very good.”

“(Narrows) is another team with a new coach. Will be scrappy. They shot the ball well. (Bland Co.) are young and are good. Have five- six players that are young and very good. They are an upcoming team. The Watters kid is a very good freshman.”

Coach Jackson provided insight on the out-of-district games by saying, “(Chilhowie) Warriors love to shoot the three’s. They can make it a long night for you if they are on. (Rural Retreat), I think their whole team is back. Will be improved. (Tazewell) is another team that will have a new coach. Last year they were good, and most of them are back from what I’ve hear.”

“(Eastern Montgomery), most of their team is back. Couple good players. (George Wythe’s) Coach Burns has an experienced team back. Tall, athletic, well-coached and good ball club.”

Coach Jackson said, ”We will play up tempo; we want to push the ball . Get out and run if possible. Like to look inside first offensively. On defense we will play a lot of 2-3 zone and will match up out of that. We will press some. We like to get after it on defense. Pressure the ball and hopefully cause some turnovers.”

As far as the junior varsity for the Pioneers, Coach Jackson and Blevins said, ”We will carry 15 kids this year. Most of them will be freshmen with three or four sophomores.“

This years Fort Chiswell team has some good experience returning and should be in the mix of things. With some breaks, they will be in the hunt for some post-season action. They need to get leadership from their seniors and consistent play will carry them a long way.

Pulaski Co Cougars 2015-16 boys Basketball Preview

Dublin…Coming off an 11-13 first year as head coach, Andrew Hart is looking at an inexperienced underclassman led squad in his second season. It doesn’t help that three-four players decided not to come out after football was over. This Cougar team will be rebuilding with eight underclassmen of which seven will be sophomores.

Coach Hart said, “ We have only a few returnees from last year. So yes, we will be young, and our schedule will be demanding.” The Cougars will have five seniors: Isaac Poe, Hesus Hickman, Miguel Garcia, Braeden Blevins and Kevin Smith. The Injury bug has already bitten them as Smith has a fractured orbital bone. He will be back in action hopefully by the 10th of December.

Coach Hart is in his second year (11-13) and is assisted by Brandon Smith, CJ Burgis and Phil Mallory. All of them are previous Cougar players. All are starting their second year. Burgis will be in his second year as the junior varsity headman, with Mallory being his assistant. The junior varsity recorded a record of 9-13 last year. They ended on a bad note having lost their last seven in a row.

The lone junior on the squad is Bryan Roberson and the sophomores will be Trent Blankenship, Logan Robertson, CC Grubb, Noah Bradley, Alex Akers, Sean Spencer and Brady Dickerson.

Coach Hart gave a short synopsis of his players, “ Senior Isaac Poe is a true point guard. He’s a leader, good shooter and ball handler. He plays good defense, and we need a good season from him.”   Senior Hesus Hickman is “a very good rebounder, very active around the rim. He has a nose for the ball is a good defender.” Senior Miguel Garcia “…can do it all, shoot, rebound, play defense, handle the basketball. Need a big year from him.” Senior Braeden Blevins “…shoots and rebounds well. Hope to get some time from him. The injury (Senior Kevin Smith) has suffered has set him back. He shoots the ball well, good vocal leader and is good rebounder.”

Hart then started on his junior and sophomores. “(Junior Bryan Roberson) may be our best overall shooter. He can stroke it and will see action. (Sophomore Trent Blankenship) is a good passer and defender. We will count on him for lot of minutes. (Sophomore Logan Robertson) is a good shooter, good on ball defender, gritty and hustles. Good ball handler. Will see lot of action for us.”

(Sophomore Alex Akers) “…is a tough defender. Can do lot of things real well. Will get into action this year. (Sophomore CC Grubb) is very talented. can shoot, score and athletic. Will see lots of time on the court.” (Sophomore Noah Bradley) “…can be very good around the rim. Good rebounder. Can be a good scorer. Will see time in the front court for us. (Sophomore Sean Spencer) does lot of things well, handles, shoots. Hasn’t fully recovered from a knee injury. (Sophomore Brady Dickerson) handles and shoots well. Is improving.“

Coach was asked about the in and out of district schedule and he had this to say, ”Salem is tough and well coached. They kind of like us in that they won’t be the tallest team. (Patrick Henry) are loaded. They have tough kids and Coach Esworthy does a great job of coaching team. (Hidden Valley will have a new coach. Lost five -six seniors from last year. Will play hard. (Cave Spring) Knights will have a pretty good player in the Hicks kid. He’s all-state. Will have a guard that can stroke it. (Carroll Co.’s) Coach Hawks does a fine job of coaching. Lost a couple good players. Kids play hard and hustle. (Christiansburg) lost some good players. Xavier Kane can score and very athletic. Couple other kids that will be good. (Blacksburg), I think they lost four starters. Coach Day does a real good job there. Have some good kids back.”

The Cougars will play four teams out of the so-called district. Franklin Co, Bassett, William Byrd and Galax. Coach Hart remarked, “Franklin Co. will have a new coach. They will be athletic, young and have some guards that are good.“ (Byrd) is a very loaded club. They have 6-5 and 6-7 kids that both can play. They will be gritty, tough and can flat out shot the ball. Great size. Will be a handful for lot of teams.

“ I don’t know lot about (Bassett). They will be athletic and in a rebuilding mode, I believe. (Galax’s) Coach Brown does a great job for them. He has been there for 25 years are more? Lost the Conley kid who could flat out shoot. Lost him and two-three other starters. Will be tough.”

A 22-game schedule that will be demanding and rough for a team that is inexperienced and rebuilding. How these young players respond to adversity and hostile situations will determine how or what their record will be. Coach Hart was asked about some kids not coming-out for basketball and he responded by saying, ”We have the kids that want to play and my staff and I will need to coach them up. The schedule is tough and we are young. Our seniors will have to be the leaders for us. I am expecting a lot from Poe, Garcia, Hickman, Blevins and Smith. We need their leadership. In the two scrimmages we had, I thought we played hard, looked for each other. We are small but we have some versatility. We have to be tough mentally. I don’t know if are record will be better, worse or the same. If we hustle, play hard and compete, that will be a lot to build on for us. Our Conference is tough with Byrd, Fleming, Salem and EC Glass.“

Coach then added, “I still want us to play up tempo and pressure defense. Full court pressure because we’re not that tall and have only four returnees. We are rebuilding with sophomores and we shall see how it goes.”

The Cougar junior varsity will consist of sophomores, Kellen Dalton, Jaylin Nowlin and Cole Duncan. The rest of the 12-man squad will be freshmen. Alex Dalton, Ben Poe, Austin Reinhardt, Justin Roberson, Noah O’Dell, Kohl Hedge, Jarius Miller, Julian Black and Caleb Kirtner. Coach Burgis said, ”We not as athletic as last year. We have some, what I call, go-getters and play with lot of heart. We have scrimmaged and I like how we have played together and played fairly well.”

Varsity coach Andrew Hart said, “We have some very good-looking players on the junior varsity. Hope they, like our varsity, will improve as the season goes along and can help us in the future with basketball program here.”

Maroons big plays defeats Radford

Marcus Finley
Marcus Finley

Wytheville… Three huge plays by George Wythe helped them to beat the Radford Bobcats 35-28 to advance to the statesemifinals. Their main weapon was the Bobcats’ kickoffs. Markell Moss returned two of the kickoffs for touchdowns on 88 and 80 yards. The dagger big play happened with just 10 seconds remaining in the contest as running back Rashad Wells, from his own 32 yard line, took a hand-off and galloped 68 yards to win the game 35-28 right up the middle.

Down 6-0 with 7:27 in the opening quarter, Moss caught the ball at his 12, started up the middle and then went around to his right, down the George Wythe sideline to put the Maroons up 7-6 with 7:13 remaining. Moss’s other return tied the score at 21 in the third quarter as he went 80 yards this time around his right side and down the Maroon sideline. It was like an instant replay of his first return.

George Wythe, who now has won 12 straight, got their revenge for a 55-27 shellacking the Bobcats dealt them on opening night of the season back on August 28. The Maroons (12-1) had just 52 yards passing in the game but had 269 rushing. Their biggest stat was the 237 yards in kickoff-punt return yardage.

Radford (9-4) had 177 yards rushing, 214 passing and 115 on special teams. The Cats have been known for big plays most of the season, but in today’s game the big plays cost them a chance to advance to the state semis.

“Special teams killed us today,” said a very dejected Bobcat head coach Matthew Saunders. “They are a very good team. They were very good back in August. We knew that and give them credit.  They made the big plays today.” Coach then added, ”I thought defensively and offensively we played well enough to win. We just didn’t get it done on special teams. They made some adjustments after halftime and we did also. They made the big plays.” Coach then added, “I feel for the seniors and my ball club. They did everything we asked of them and are a great group.”

Down 7-6, Radford got a 17-yard run from Marcus Finley and a Finley to Dontae Billings two-point conversion to take a 14-7 lead into intermission.

George Wythe came out on their first possession of the second half as the drove the ball 80 yards on 13 plays that took 6:34 of the third quarter. It would be their best drive of the game and only consistent offense of the game to tie it at 14.

Radford’s Finley would put them back up on a 26-yard scamper on just their second play after the Maroons long drive. Then the 80-yard return tied it at 21 with 4:41 in the third, just 10 seconds after Finley’s run had put them up.

The contest was back and forth affair as the two teams had scored three touchdowns in under less than a minute. Ty Hardin ran in from two yards out at the 8:44 mark of the fourth quarter to put them up 28-21.

The Cats would strike right back with a Finley to Billings nine-yard touchdown. The Bobcats would shut George Wythe down on three and out and the Maroons would return the favor on defense. Then Finley would punt the ball down to the Wythe 20. After a first down on third and one, the Maroons had a first down at their 32 with 20 seconds remaining and Wells would get the last big play for the win. The Maroons advance to next weeks semi-finals as they host Riverheads Saturday at 2 pm. Wells had 12 rushes for 146 yards. QB Deacon Beamer had 16 carries for 52 yards. Beamer completed just two passes for 52 yards.

Heth Grant
Heth Grant

Radford Qb Marcus Finley completed 15 of 22 passes for 214 yards and threw one touchdown. He rushed the ball 16 times for 149 yards. Heth Grant, who had his ankle rolled up on early in the game, had just eight carries for 32 and one score. Nathan Dobos caught five passes for 94 yards and DJ Baylor has five receptions for 67 yards.

Photography courtesy Tina Quesenberry





Radford     6   8   7   7-28

GW           7   0   14 14-35

Rushing- R- Grant- 8-32, Finley- 16-149, Baylor- 2- (-4)

-GW- Wells- 12-146, Owens- 4- 27, Hardin- 12-44, Moss- 1-(-2), Tolley- 1-2, Beamer- 16-52,

Passing- R- Finley- 15-22-0- 1-214, Baylor-0-1-0-0- 0

GW- Beamer- 2-7-1-0-52

Receptions- R- Grant- 2-9, Billings- 3-44, Baylor- 5-67, Dobos- 5-94

GW- Wells- 1-12, Nowers- 1-40


Cougars – Bobcats claw it out

Dublin, VA…The Pulaski Co. Cougars boy’s basketball squad played their second and final scrimmage Wednesday morning against the Radford Bobcats. The two teams tied two quarters, and Radford won the other two. The original scrimmage called for Abingdon to be at the Cougar Den, but their football team is still playing and didn’t have enough players for the scrimmage. Radford and head coach Rick Cormany nicely accepted the invitation to play in their absence.

Cougar head coach Andrew Hart remarked, “I thought we played very hard and scrapped. Radford is a good team, and when you can stay close to them, you have to be pleased.” Coach then added, “We played a good team neck and neck today. We looked for each other and were very competitive. ”

Radford played with eight players as their football team is still in the state football playoffs. Three of their kids were freshmen and they were missing four or five players in the scrimmage.

The Cougars regular season will start Monday night at the Cougar Den. They will host Franklin Co. Eagles with the junior varsity tipping at 5:30 and the varsity contest starting around 7 pm.


Middle Schools battle in basketball match-up

The Dublin Middle School boys basketball team defeated their cross-county rivals, Pulaski Middle, 42-38. It was a hotly contested game, close throughout. With the game tied at 35, the Dukes James Jackson took over. He hit five of six free throws and a bucket as he scored the last seven points for victorious Dublin Middle. Jackson finished with 11 points.  He got help from Luke Russell and Peyton Blackburn, both chipped in with nine points apiece. Chris Hay had six, David Hunley 3 and Jakari Finley two.

The Pulaski Orioles were paced by center Chauncey Spencer with 14 points to take game high honors. Hayden Gray had 10, Dre Grubb finished with nine. Will Huff had three and AJ McCloud chipped with a bucket.


PMS     4    14   9   11-38

DMS    10  4    14  14-42

Bobcats, Maroons to square off in State Quarterfinals

Radford… The Bobcats will travel to Wytheville Saturday afternoon to take on the Group 1A number one seed – Western Division – George Wythe Maroons. They have won 11 consecutive victories, with their only loss coming at the hands of Radford back on August 28, 55-27.

Brandon Harner, who’s in his second season, coaches the Maroons. He has a record of 20-5 at the helm of the Maroons. Quarterback Deacon Beamer leads them offensively. Rashad Wells, Tyler Hardin and Holden Tolley are the running backs that see the most action. Stephen Fox and Dylan Anderson anchor their offensive line. On defense linebackers Robert Watson, Hardin and Wells lead the Maroons. Beamer, Tolley and Markell Moss will lead the secondary.

Radford head coach Matthew Saunders said, “Both teams are zero and zero. They have improved and have a lot of weapons. They are much better than back in August. We know that. Offensively, they like to run the jet, rocket and fullback trap. They will flare the ball out to their running backs and use unbalanced line.”  Coach then added, “Defensively, they like the 4-2-5 scheme. They will play man to man but will use some zone in the secondary. They will bring more people on the line of scrimmage and from different positions. Their QB Beamer is more comfortable in what they want to do and both their lines have improved.”

Radford came through the Honaker game last week in good health. They will start Shawn Reed at center. Wes Parcell and Brett Armentrout get the nod at guards. The tackle will be Nick Ridpath and Hunter O’Brien. Marcus Finley is the starting quarterback and Heth Grant the running back. The slots and wide receivers will be DJ Baylor, Dontae Billings, Mitch White and Nathan Dobos.

Markell Thompson, Michael Vick and Elijah Duncan will see some time on offense as well.

Defensively the Bobcats will go with Ridpath, Thompson and Bradley Davis on the line. The linebackers will be Grant, Vick, Parcell, Armentrout and White. Their secondary will consist of Dobos, Finley and Baylor. Roman Benet, Dale Stanley, Reed, Billings and O’Brien will get action on the defense as well.

These two teams always seem to bring the best out in each other. It’s a been a good rivalry as they’ve gone at each other over the years.

In another paper after last Friday night’s win over Bland Co., the Wythe players and coaches said, “This is what they have been wanting, to play Radford again.”  Saturday afternoon that chance will come. Coach Harner was quoted as saying, ”We wanted Radford to win every one of their games, and we wanted to get back at them again. Our kids are ready. We saw how the playoffs were going to be aligned. All of us – the coaches and players – wanted that.”

Radford is averaging just less than 41 points a game, and the Maroons are averaging 40. The Bobcats are giving up just under 15 a game, while the Maroons are giving up just under 19.

Revenge, retribution and wanting a return to Wytheville are what the Maroons are wanting after that 55-27 loss to Radford in August. The Bobcats will show up for this Saturday’s state quarterfinal game. Will the Maroons get their revenge? Will Radford march on to the state semi-finals? It should be a good game and a very large crowd is expected.

The game at George Wythe is slated to kickoff at 2 pm.

Pulaski Co boys basketball prepare for season

The Pulaski Co. Cougars entertained the Lord Botetourt Cavaliers Saturday morning. The Cougars-Cavaliers split four quarters of action, two quarters each. The Cougars won a fifth quarter 13-8.

Lord Botetourt had only seven players as their football team is still competing in the playoffs. They are expecting four or five more kids after the football season is over.

Pulaski Co. head coach Andrew Hart said, “I saw some good things this morning, and I also saw lot of things we need to work on.”  He then added, “I thought we played hard and hustled. We looked for each other.”  Cougar guard CC Grubb hit five three-pointers to help lead the Cougar scrimmage.

The Cougars will be back in action Wednesday morning as the host the Abingdon Falcons. The Falcons also will be short handed as their football team is still competing in the football playoffs as well.

Bobcats fifth try the best

Radford and Auburn girls volleyball teams had met four times this season. Auburn, the defending state champs, had won all four matches. The Bobcats got one more chance Saturday and for the first time in five tries, they had a state championship on the line.The Bobcat ladies fell behind  0-2 in games but fought back to win the title 14-25, 11-25, 25-2, 25-2,15-9.

Not only was it the title game, but it was also the first time the Lady Eagles had lost a match. The (28-1) Lady Eagles were shooting for their fourth consecutive title.

Radford (22-6) with the victory, wins their first state ladies volleyball title since 1984 when they won the State AA title. After the match the Bobcats head coach, Robert Morris, announced he’s stepping down after three years at the helm. It was the first time his team had defeated Auburn. Morris said, “Time for me to go home and play with my dog.”


Radford humbles Honaker

Radford… On a chilly night in Radford, the Bobcats got some revenge from last year’s bitter loss at Honaker by dominating the Tigers 38-3.

Radford (9-3) jumped on them right from the start scoring twice in the opening quarter and three more times in the second. The “City Kitties” got three touchdowns from Heth Grant, as the senior playing his last home game carried the pigskin 17 times for 128 yards. Senior quarterback Marcus Finley rushed for 72 yards and he completed 11 of 13 passes for 151 yards .The Bobcats had 318 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 487 yards and 23 first downs. The Radford “D” also had a good game plan as they held the Tigers (8-4) to just eight first downs and 183 yards.

“I thought we had good game plans on both sides of the ball tonight,” said a pleased Radford head coach Matthew Saunders. “We have some weapons, with Grant, Finley, DJ Baylor, Dontae Billings and Nathan Dobos and they came throughout tonight,” said Saunders. He then added, “Honaker is a good ball club, but I thought our athletes’ quickness hurt them.”

Radford’s first touchdown was a telling of things to come as Mitch White took a handoff around the end from the Honaker 42 down to their 17. He was hit, and the ball went up into the air. The Cats’ Nathan Dobos caught the fumble in mid-air and rumbled in for six. Dontae Billings had five receptions for 88 yards, DJ Baylor had two receptions for 35, and Dobos caught two passes for 28 yards.

Avin Parrott, who had 20 rushes for 56 yards, led Honaker, and quarterback Hartley Hilton had 57 yards on 12 carries. The Tigers only points of the night came on a Jordan Stout 48-yard field goal which would have been good from beyond 50.

The Radford victory means they will play again next week as they will travel to Wytheville to take on the Maroons of George Wythe. Radford is the only team to beat the Maroons this season. Next week’s game will be on Saturday at 2 pm.