By Brian Hoffman
The first meeting went three overtimes, and that’s all you need to know about Glenvar’s first round opponent in the Region 2C football tournament.
The regional starts tonight and third seeded Glenvar is at home to host sixth seeded Floyd County. The two played in Floyd on October 7th and the host Buffaloes snapped an 11 game losing streak to Glenvar with a 33-27 win that took three overtimes to decide. It’s the marquee matchup of a first round that also has number eight Gretna at top-seeded Radford, number seven Dan River at second seeded Martinsville and fifth seeded Alleghany at fourth seeded Appomattox County.
“I don’t really care about who we’re playing, we’re in the playoffs,” said Glenvar coach Kevin Clifford. “There’s a lot of familiarity between our programs and I’m glad we’re playing at home this time.”
This week’s game was moved from Friday to tonight in anticipation of a big storm headed this way. Highlander Stadium has an artificial turf field and, regardless of the weather, it’s a better field to play on than natural grass under rainy conditions.
Glenvar comes in with a 7-3 record after beating Giles, 49-14, in a non-district regular season finale last week. The Highlanders come into the playoffs as Three Rivers District champs after tying Radford with one loss each in the district, but getting the nod with a head-to-head win over the Bobcats.
Last week’s game with Giles was the last in the series, as Giles dropped Glenvar after playing the Highlanders every year since 1996. The writing was on the wall when the Spartans dropped to Class 1 and left the Three Rivers District, but this has been a great rivalry. At one point Giles held a 20-0 edge in the series but, beginning in 2014, the Highlanders have won nine of the past 10 games.
“We had some trouble with them in the first half, it always takes a series or two to get used to that (single wing) offense,” said Clifford. “But once we settled in we were okay.”
Glenvar led 28-14 at the half and shut out the Spartans after intermission while putting three touchdowns on the board. Freshman quarterback Brody Dawyot had another big night, completing 12 of 15 passes for 272 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. He also ran for 71 yards on eight carries and scored twice on runs.
Senior Gabe Ford had five catches for 171 yards and three TDs. The Dawyot to Ford combination is fast becoming a dangerous weapon as they’ve hit on six TD hookups in the past two games alone.
Jackson Swanson caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the kickoff back 90 yards for a score after Giles had tied the game at 14-14, and the Highlanders never trailed after that point.
On defense Jack Camper and Shane Gibson had 10 tackles each to lead the Highlanders. Ben Holiday had nine tackles while Nate Johnson and Avone Noel had eight each and Noel also had an interception.
If Glenvar can win tonight the Highlanders would most likely head to Martinsville next week for the region semifinal, and that would give them a chance to avenge a prior loss for the second time in two playoff games. If Dan River can upset the Bulldogs and Glenvar beats Floyd then the Highlanders could have a home game for the semifinal, but no one is looking past the Buffaloes, who have a 7-3 record just like Glenvar.
“At this point of the year it’s about surviving and advancing,” said Clifford.