Magna Vista’s defense made a statement in Week 1 of the season, holding Liberty Christian Academy to just one rushing hard in a 49-14 win.
The Warriors ‘Blue Funk’ defense proved Friday night that that performance in Week 1 was no fluke, holding Dan River, a team that put up 35 points in Week 1, to just six in a 20-6 win over the Wildcats.
For a second straight week, Magna Vista benefited from a “pick-6,” this time courtesy of Freddie Roberts, who returned an INT 41 yards in the first quarter to help the Warriors jump out to a 13-0 lead.
Roberts had another interception in the first quarter, and defensive back Rion Martin stripped Dan River quarterback Tracy Glass of the ball in the redzone. It was the second straight week the Warriors had three defensive turnovers.
These aren’t slouch offenses the Warriors are shutting down either. Dan River put up 284 total yards of offense in their Week 1 win over Tunstall. Liberty Christian, too, responded to the loss to Magna Vista with a 42-12 win over Brunswick Friday night.
“They made the plays that they needed to make,” Warriors head coach Joe Favero told reporters after the game. “I thought they did a great job assisting all night. We did a great job with their passing game. Their quarterback (Glass) is really good and their wide receivers are good too. I thought our secondary played great. They put pressure on them a lot which made it tougher.”
Dan River’s only touchdown came on a 40-yard pass late in the third quarter while already trailing 20-0.
Magna Vista’s offense was where everyone expected the Warriors to shine in 2019, but so far this season it’s the defense that has become the stars of the gridiron.
Other notes from Friday night:
Running backs keep running
The top two running backs in the Piedmont District Week 1, Magna Vista’s Louis Taylor and Patrick County’s Dae’Shawn Penn, were again on full display Friday night. While Penn failed to reached the endzone, he added to his area leading yards total by rushing for 157 yards on 23 carries, an average of 6.8 yards per touch.
Louis, too, was the centerpiece of the Warriors offense, rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown, one of two offensive scores for Magna Vista.
The Warriors passed nearly twice as much as they did a week ago, with Dryus Hairston throwing 13 times Friday night, completing six for 125 yards and a score.
Expect both teams to keep relying on the run game as the season rolls on.
Bulldogs find late life in offense
Martinsville’s defense struggled mightily against Galax in a 51-25 loss Friday night, but the Bulldogs were able to find more offense than their 49 total yards from Week 1.
Freshman quarterback Rashaun Dickerson was 7-16 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown to Trey Wilson. Dickerson also ran 10 times for 41 yards.
The Bulldogs were able to spread the love among four different receivers. Javontae Manns had two catches for 23 yards, Jahil Martin had two for 28, and Wilson had two for 13.
Junior running back Delvin Roberts had six carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. Roberts averaged 12 yards per carry.
Martinsville’s other touchdowns came on special teams. Clarence Plunkett ran back a blocked field goal 29 yards for a score, and Martin recovered a fumbled punt and ran it into the endzone.
Martinsville still has much work to be done, especially on the defensive end where they’ve allowed 91 points in two games, but figuring out the offense, especially with a young quarterback, is a positive step.
Bassett’s run defense struggles
Bassett allowed five rushing touchdowns to Pulaski in Friday night’s 42-6 road loss to the Cougars.
Pulaski had 195 yards rushing on the ground in all, to just 40 in the air on four complete passes. In a run heavy Piedmont District, the Bengals will need to do better before getting into district play.
Bassett’s two quarterbacks each had decent nights under center. Junior Drew Fisher was 3-6 passing for 69 yards. Fisher had a touchdown on a pass was deflected into the arms of offensive lineman Will Belongia on the last play of the game to avoid the shutout.
Freshman quarterback Jaricous Hairston was 4-11 passing for 27 yards.
The Bengals had 176 yards of total offense. Kevon Smith had 34 rushing yards on 10 carries, Jaylen Turner had 26 yards on four carries, Ardonit Mehmeti had 14 yards on two carries, and Simeon Walker-Muse had 13 yards on three carries. Those were the only Bassett runners to reach double-digits.
Keshaun Valentine led the Bengals with three catches for 74 yards.
All three local teams that were on the road Friday will be at home for Week 3. Magna Vista (2-0) will take on William Fleming (2-0). Bassett (0-2) will take on William Byrd (1-1), and Martinsville (0-2) will take on Dan River (1-1). All games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Cara Cooper is the sports editor of the Martinsville Bulletin. You can reach her at (276)638-8801 ext. 241.