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Friday night football: Tunstall, Bassett set for showdown
Also: Magna Vista opens PD with Patrick County, Martinsville to get tough test from Heritage
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In this Aug. 31 photo, Bassett running back Tra Ross slips past a diving defender while fighting for yardage in Bassett’s 35-7 loss to Patrick Henry in Bassett. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Friday, October 5, 2012


The Piedmont District football title can’t be won tonight, but with only four games on each team’s district schedule, it can be lost.

No coaches know that better than Bassett’s Jay Gilbert and Tunstall’s Buddy Brown, whose two teams will grind it out tonight in their PD opener in Bassett.

“It’s kind of like the first game of your season, it’s good to get off on the winning foot,” Gilbert said. “If you lose one, you’re already behind the 8-ball. I think it’s imperative for everybody to get their first district win.”

The Trojans fared a little better in non-district play so far, posting a 2-2 record while Bassett has stumbled to a 1-5 mark.

But while the Bengals’ overall record isn’t imposing, what Brown and his coaching staff have see of BHS on film so far has certainly gotten their attention.

“They’re much better than they’re record, that’s no secret,” Brown said. “They played a very difficult schedule, and on film they look good.”

Bassett won this game 19-14 last year on a 64-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. The TD run completed a 14-point rally by the Bengals and helped BHS finish a game ahead of Tunstall in the final district standings.

But Tunstall’s a different team this season, and that starts with the Trojans quarterback. Chris Buckner passed for 181 yards and three touchdowns against Staunton River last week, and he added another 59 yards on the ground.

“The quarterback they’ve got really throws the ball well. Stats wise, he’s got as many yards as the team’s got rushing,” Gilbert said. “It’s a different beast a little bit, as far as what we’re playing, but hopefully our guys will step up to the challenge.”

Bassett, meanwhile, with be without its starting signal caller, QB McKenzie Lawson. Lawson will be in street clothes after a spleen injury last week against Hidden Valley, and last year’s starter, Dashaun Valentine, will be behind center for the Bengals.

Valentine is battling a nagging ankle injury of his own but will play, and Gilbert said running back Chris Martin will be a game-time decision. Other than some bumps and bruises, Brown said the Trojans are healthy.

Tunstall has plenty of players who remember last year’s defeat, and Brown said the defeat still stings.

“They kind of broke our heart,” Brown said. “I thought there was a questionable roughing the passer call that helped them out there, but I’m not taking away from what they did. They made the play they had to make. But we felt like that was one we let get away.”

The Trojans also need to get off to a good start tonight or risk the chance of beginning the PD season with an 0-2 record. Tunstall will host reigning PD champion Magna Vista on Oct. 12.

Tonight’s game will be Bassett’s homecoming game, and the school will host a “Tackle Breast Cancer” event before the game.

One dollar from each of the first 1,000 tickets sold will be donated to the Ladies First of Martinsville and Henry County.

There will also be a Passionately Pink Walk prior to kick-off, where cancer survivors are encouraged to take part and will lead the way around the BHS Track for a victory lap against cancer. The victory lap will be at 6:50 p.m.


Magna Vista opens district season against Cougars

Magna Vista, who has won the past three Piedmont District football titles, opens up its quest for a fourth with a matchup against Patrick County (0-5), which is still looking for its first win in three seasons.

The Warriors (4-2) have been on a tear offensively the past three weeks, rolling up at least 30 points against Franklin County, Pulaski County and Halifax County.

But as far as Magna Vista coach Joe Favero is concerned, the Warriors’ success in non-district play doesn’t matter anymore. As of right now, Magna Vista is 0-0, Favero said.

“I told them it’s a new season basically,” Favero said. “You can’t afford to slip up and make mistakes, and our kids have done a good job of staying focused, and I think we’re ready to play.”

Patrick County comes in trying to spoil the Warriors’ homecoming after suffering a disappointing loss in their own homecoming game last week. The Cougars fell to previously winless Radford 44-0, and PCHS head coach Kenneth Perry Jr. said after that defeat he was disappointed in the team’s effort and execution.

The Cougars will bring a no-huddle and spread offense to Ridgeway that the Magna Vista defense is very familiar with. After all, in practice, they go against the same.

Favero said despite that advantage, the Warriors will need to tackle well to keep Patrick County off the scoreboard.

“They’re in the spread, but they get out of it once in awhile in get into a tight-end set, but spread is their main set,” Favero said. “They’ve scored some points in some ballgames, so I think offensively they’re dangerous. We’re going to have to do a good job defensively and play fast.”

Magna Vista goes into the game healthy. Patrick County quarterback Tre Penn missed last week’s game with a concussion.


Dalton: ‘Dogs to face big challenge in Parrish

Martinsville head coach Bobby Dalton said the Bulldogs will face the toughest single challenge in a football player that they’ll face all year in Heritage (Lynchburg) quarterback Jevontae Parrish.

“He’s just an outstanding high school football player,” Dalton said. “How their offense goes is based on how he plays, and he’s played outstanding this year throwing the football and running the ball.”

To help defend against Parrish and Heritage’s offense, Dalton said Martinsville has shifted a few players around on defense and will try a few new schemes to attack Heritage’s offense.

Dalton said the key to disrupt what Parrish tries to do offensively will be aggressiveness.

Speaking of quarterbacks, the Bulldogs (0-5) will once again be without Brandon Carter after the signal caller injured his back against Halifax County.

Martinsville will also be without RB Isaiah Schoolfield and Shaq Tinsley — two players that factor into the Bulldogs’ offense.

“It’s going to be tough (without them), I think our kids are ready,” Dalton said. “What we have to do, we have to play better football in all aspects of the game.”

Heritage (5-0) beat Magna Vista earlier this season 44-30 and defeated Halifax County 44-12 — the same team that beat Martinsville 38-12.

But after a few good weeks of practice, Dalton wonders if the Bulldogs might surprise Heritage a little.

“I don’t think they’ll respect us too much based on our record,” Dalton said. “They’re probably looking past us at their next opponent. Sometimes when you’re 0-5 and the other team is 5-0, that can be to your advantage. We’re going up there, and I hope that our kids are going to play four quarters of hard football. And whatever happens, happens.”

DaShaun Price will once again take the reins at quarterback for the Bulldogs as Martinsville travels to Lynchburg.

Dalton said Heritage is riding a lot of momentum as an undefeated team, but his squad can’t worry about that.

“The only thing we can control is how we can play, and I believe our guys are going to do that, they’re going to play better,” Dalton said.


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