By RODNEY YOUNG
Coming off a very impressive win over a talented and fast Thomasville Bulldog squad, the Pioneers will travel to Galax Friday night to play the Maroon Tide.
Galax will enter the contest will a 2-3 overall record, having lost their last two contests, a loss to Giles 25-20 and to Altavista 43-21. The Maroon Tide also lost at Glenvar 42-41. Their two victories were a 35-15 thumping of Floyd County and a a 55-27 thrashing of Eastern Montgomery.
The Tide is under the direction of Mark Dixon, who’s in his fourth year. He has an overall record of 32-13 .
Four starters are back on defense for Galax, and they return five starters on offense.
Offensively the leaders will be runnning backs senior Steven Peoples (5’11″, 200) and junior Joseph Dixon (5’10″, 175). Another one to watch will be wide out Darian Brown (6’2″, 185, sr). Bryant Cox (5’10″, 245, sr) anchors their line at center. Ben Sanchez and Cody Sharpe also will on the line. The quarterback is freshman Carson Orton. His backup is junior Keyshawn Brown.
The Maroon Tide will have Sharpe, Cox, and Sanchez anchoring the defensive line. The main linebackers are sophomore Caleb Spurlin and junior Brett Isom. Peoples, Dixon, and senior Daniel Larrowe are in the secondary.
Last season the Maroon Tide went 7-5 and lost in the Division 1 West Section second round to eventual state runner-up Honaker .
Galax is averaging 34.4 points a game and giving up 30.4 points per game.
Fort Chiswell (5-0) will come into the game scoring 40 points per game and is giving just 11.2 points per game.
“Offensively Galax will be the best team we will have faced so far.” said Pioneer Head Coach Stephen James. “Peoples and Dixon are very good athletes. Coach Dixon does a great job of coaching. They like to run out of the I- formation and will do some play action. On defense they will show a 40 look with lots of man-to-man coverage. They don’t blitz too much, they like to read and react on defense.”
The Pioneers will come into the contest in good shape physically.
On offense Brett Mabry is the quarterback. Running backs will be Patrick “lightning” Beidleman and Dallas ” thunder” Ward. Jared Hovencamp and Lane Edmonds will man the tight-end position. Coleman Thomas is the center, Jordan Crockett and Brandon Freeman are the starting guards., and the tackles will be Austin Widelo and Austin Mullins.
On defense Fort Chiswell will go with Crockett, Cory Ratcliffe, and Jacob Sharpe up front. The ends are Thomas and Garrison Byus. Joe Stoneman and Lane Edmonds are the linebackers. The secondary will have Taylor Gilman and Chase Rathbone at the corners, with Jared Hovencamp and Ethan Warden at the safeties.
This is the opening game of the Mountain Empire District for both squads. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. Friday at Galax High School.