SWT Sports Writer
Buchanan – On a great night for football the visiting Radford Bobcats defeated the James River Knights 33-24.
It was a back and forth affair, but the Bobcats would prevail by outscoring the Knights 19-8 in the second half. Quarterback Marcus Finley and running backs Heath Grant and Isiah Carter led the Cats in the second half, combining for 183 yards of rushing. Finley also threw for 67 yards in the half. He finished with 115 yards passing, completing 10 of 17 passes and rushing for a team high 89 yards. Carter had 14 carries for 70 yards and Grant had 62 yards on 14 attempts.
The Knights had just 16 yards rushing on 19 carries, but had 199 passing yards. Senior quarterback Sherman Austin was 12 of 27 passing with two touchdowns.
Radford (1-4) squib kicked the opening kickoff and recovered it at the James River 30-yard line. Three plays and 37 seconds later Grant took a pitch out around the left end for an eight yard score. Isiah Carter ran the ball for a 2-point conversion to go up 8-0.
James River (1-4) struck back with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Austin to wide receiver Patrick Schulz, and then Trey Chilcott caught a 2-pt conversion pass to tie the score. They would cross the goal line and go up 14-8 when Caleb Sink caught a 39-yard pass from Austin. Dakota Harlow caught the 2-point pass and it was 16-8 Knights with just nine seconds gone off the clock in the second quarter.
Radford would then score with just 44 seconds remaining before halftime when Heath Grant ran in from 11 yards out. The conversion run failed for a 16-14 James River lead at halftime break.
Grant would but the Bobcats up 20-16 on a one yard run, and R.J. Jordan ran in the 2-point conversion to up the score to 22-16 with 9:37 showing in the third. They would not hold the lead for long, as the Knights tied the game at 22 all on a Sherman Austin 2-yard quarterback sneak at the 7:03 mark. Austin then threw a pass to Dalton Hoppe on the conversion for a 24-22 James River lead.
Radford wasn’t done on this night, as Finley faked a handoff and then rolled out to his right and went down the James River sideline for a 37-yard touchdown jaunt. Jordan then ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion and the score was 30-24 with one minute remaining in the quarter. The only score in the final quarter came on a Bobcat Matt Levison 24-yard field goal with just 2:57 left.
“I’m very proud of the guys tonight,” said Radford head coach Matthew Saunders. “We battled and came back from some adversity. Our defense is getting better and we had a very good week of practice leading up to this game. On offense we ran the rocket play lot’s tonight to set up the belly series, which is opposite of how we do it most of the time. We are still banged up, and hopefully senior linebacker Eric Benitez will be back in two weeks.”
Radford will have a bye week this coming week, before facing the Floyd Buffaloes on October 11.