The Glenvar football team got off to an impressive start last week as the Highlanders beat visiting Galax, 34-14, in front of a big crowd at Highlander Stadium.
“It was a very physical game,” said Glenvar coach Kevin Clifford. “Both teams really got after it. I’m really proud of our kids, they gave a great effort.”
Glenvar scored twice in the first half on passes from quarterback Landry Gerbers to wideout Josh Clifford, who looks like he’s ready to have an outstanding season. The Maroon Tide countered with a 41 yard TD run by Dougie Peoples to tie the game after Glenvar’s first score as the Highlanders took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
The second half was all Glenvar, as the Highlanders scored 20 points before Galax put a late TD on the board against the second defense. Jack Leonard scored on a one yard run and Noah Lovelace had a pick six to give Glenvar some breathing room and a 27-7 lead. Leonard’s second TD, a four yard run, put it away at 34-7 before Peoples scored again late in the game.
“We stopped them on their first possession of the game and their first possession of the second half, and that was big,” said Clifford.
The Highlanders looked to be in midseason form for the most part. Coaches never know what to expect from the opening game.
“I thought it was one of the better first games we’ve had,” said Clifford. “We executed well and I was proud of our overall effort. The kids played hard.”
Gerbers had a big game at quarterback, completing 14 of 17 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores went to Clifford, who caught eight passes for 101 yards. Justin Campbell had three catches for 30 yards for the Highlanders.
On the ground Glenvar gained 176 yards on 30 attempts. Leonard led the team with 144 yards on 17 carries for an average of eight and a half yards per attempt. Bradey Loder had six rushes for 26 yards.
On defense Dakota Francisco led the Highlanders with a dozen tackles, including two for losses and a sack. Colby Street had 11 tackles with three for losses, a sack and a forced fumble.
Other defensive standouts for Glenvar included Hunter Phlegar with 11 tackles, Lovelace with nine and Logan Williams, Maxx Philpott and Hunter Stanley with seven each. Lovelace had the “pick six,” and Noah, Maxx and Hunter all had two tackles for losses. Clifford had two interceptions to go with his two TD receptions.
“I thought we played good defense against a good running team,” said coach Clifford. “The Peoples kid didn’t hurt us. He had over 100 yards rushing but 63 of it came on the two touchdowns. We really got after it defensively.”
This week the Highlanders will hit the road for the first time when they play at Covington. The Cougars opened with a 24-20 loss to county rival Alleghany last week in a game that went down to the wire.
“They played Alleghany tough,” said Clifford. “They had the lead late and let it get away. They have some really good athletes and a quarterback who was second in the (Group) 1A state 100 meters. We can’t give them space.”