Blazers Blast Wildcats, 55-10

Blazers Blast Wildcats, 55-10

RUNNING BACK Bret McClung scores the Wildcats’ lone touchdown on a 5-yard run at the end of the third quarter. McClung rushed for 24 yards on six carries. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photo)

Blazers Blast Wildcats, 55-10

ABOVE, Wildcat Jailik Lynch runs with the ball as teammate Luke Mayr (10) blocks for him and Spotswood’s Ethan Barhnhart chasesLynch.

Blazers Blast Wildcats, 55-10

AT LEFT, RC’s Elijah Poindexter carries the ball as Spotswood’s John Van Huss
(14) tries to catch him. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photos)

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The Rockbridge County High School football team suffered a 55-10 loss to Spotswood in the Valley District opener on Friday night in Lexington. The loss, the biggest setback of the Wildcats’ season so far, snapped RC’s three-game winning streak.

The Blazers (6-0 overall, 1-0 district) consistently ran the ball well to avoid tackles, amassing 312 rushing yards. With sacks and tackles for losses, the Wildcats (4-2, 0-1) were held to nine rushing yards. Both teams were coming off bye weeks.

“They beat us in all facets of the game,” RC head coach Mark Poston said. “They’re a very good football team. … They’re physical, well coached. They’ve got great defense.”

Running back Ethan Barnhart had a monster night for Spotswood, rushing for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries, helped by strong blocking from his offensive line. Spotswood quarterback Ryan High threw two TD passes in the first quarter, a 37-yarder to Colton Good and a 32-yarder to Robert Smith.

The game started well for the Wildcats, as Miller Jay connected with his receivers to get the ball into Spotswood territory. Gage Shafer made a couple of short runs before the Wildcats faced fourth-and-8 at the Spotswood 13-yard line. The Wildcats decided to go to their kicker, and Daniel Cunningham made a 30-yard field goal to give RC a 3-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter.

Spotswood responded with an offensive surge, scoring four TDs in the first quarter to take a 28-3 lead. In addition to High’s two TD passes, Spotswood scored on a 4-yard run by Cole Myers and on a 7-yard run by Barnhart. The Blazers’ defense was on top of RC, intercepting Jay twice. John Van Huss made a pick late in the first quarter, leading to Myers’s TD. On RC’s next drive, Anthony Dooms intercepted Jay, and Barnhart ran for a TD several plays later.

On the night, Jay completed 9-of-16 passes for 109 yards with two interceptions, and he was sacked five times. Jailik Lynch led RC’s receivers, making six catches for 92 yards, but he was the only Wildcat receiver with double-digit yards. For Spotswood, High completed 7-of-14 passes for 133 yards, and Good led the Blazers with three catches for 74 yards.

In the second quarter, Benjamin Conahan ran for a 3-yard TD, and Fernando Rivas Martinez kicked in the extra point to extend Spotswood’s lead to 35-3 with 5:10 left in the half. Martinez converted 7-of-8 PATs, only missing his last one. Spotswood got within scoring range at the end of the half before missing a 36-yard field goal attempt.

The Blazers scored just over two minutes into the third quarter when Barnhart ran for a 3-yard TD, with Martinez’s PAT putting the visitors up 42-3. Bret McClung got the Wildcats back on the scoreboard with a 5-yard TD run, followed by Cunningham’s extra point kick at the end of the quarter. Otherwise, the Blazers contained McClung well, considering what he’s capable of. McClung had just six carries for 24 yards and a TD, after rushing for more than 100 yards in each of the Wildcats’ last two games.

Spotswood added its final two TDs in the fourth quarter. Myers made an 18-yard TD run with 9:51 left, and Barnhart ran 16 yards into the end zone with 2:39 left.

The Wildcats had to deal with some injuries and found themselves physically overmatched by the Blazers.

Summing up the night, Poston said, “Sometimes you get the bear. Sometimes it gets you.”

Spotswood is the early favorite to win the Valley District title, and the Wildcats hope to face them again in the playoffs.

The Wildcats will continue district action this Friday at 7 p.m. when they play host to Waynesboro (0-6, 0-1) for their homecoming game.

The News-Gazette

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