Fort Chiswell…The Fort Chiswell Pioneer football team coming off a loss to Graham will once again hit the road this Friday going to Bastian to take on the Bland Co. Bears. The Bears (4-5) are coming off of a thumping by Galax last Friday. The Bears are coached by Harris Hart, who is in his 12th year and has a 48-75 record at Bland.
Offensively, sophomore quarterback Jake Watters leads the Bears. Brian Arnold is the featured running back as is Dylan Jackson. Arnold and Jackson are both seniors. Garrett Steffey and Tyler O’Dell are the mainstays on the offensive line.
On defense both Steffey and O’Dell will anchor the line. Jackson is the middle linebacker, with Watters and Ethan Cook leading the Bland secondary.
“I’ll run out of the wing- T,” said Pioneer head man Todd Tiller. “They are probably 80-20 run to pass or perhaps more toward the run than that. The Watters kid is a very good athlete and is quick. Arnold and Jackson both are real good runners and they have a veteran offensive line.” Bland is averaging right at 27 points a game offensively and is also giving 27 a game on defense. They have wins over Craig Co., Northwood, Montcalm, WV and Eastern Montgomery. The losses are to not only Galax but to Graham, Narrows, Rural Retreat and Grayson Co.
Coach Tiller said, ”On defense Bland runs a 52 scheme. They really like to slant their line and will go man to man in the secondary. We look for them to send some pressure with their linebackers. We definitely need to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball Friday night.”
The Pioneers had three players to get nicked against the speedy Graham G-Men. Looks as though two of those will play this Friday. “Sean Morgan and Andrew Stoots we believe will play Friday,” said Coach Tiller. He then remarked, “We probably will hold lineman Patrick Crawford out. He turned his ankle and its been bothering him the last couple weeks.”
The Pioneers will go on offense with Logan Smith, Alex Brooks, Grant Milgrim, Billy Shrewsberry and Jacob Coake on the line. Warren Moore will get the start at quarterback. Tyler Jakubiak, along with Morgan will see action as the tailback. H-back will be Stoots. Tanner Bailey, Hunter Parrott are the wide receivers and Colby Rider starts at tight end. T J James, Ethan Woods, Anthony Morris will get in some time on offense, also.
Defensively Fort Chiswell (6-3) will go with Brooks, Devin Newman and Coake will start on the line. Milgrim, Rider and Shrewsberry with be the inside linebackers as James and Stoots the outside backers. The secondary will be Logan Newman, and Morris at cornerbacks. Bailey will go as the safety. Parrott, Jon Gregory, Smith, “Loopie” Turpin and Woods will also see action.
The Pioneers are seeded fifth coming into this game in Group 1A West and Bland is 16th. Fort Chiswell will be at home in the opening round of the playoffs that starts next week. Their opponent at this writing is unsettled. Twin Valley, Rural Retreat, Covington and Castlewood are the four teams that are in the hunt for that playoff spot. If Fort Chiswell wins they will end up more than likely as the fourth seed and would play the 13th seed. Kickoff for the game this Friday is at 7 pm at the Sports Complex located in Bastian.