Blues Blanked Again

Blues Blanked Again

AT LEFT, PM quarterback Ty Ruley tries to get rid of the ball before a Fort defender pulls him to the ground. Ruley passed for 41 yards.

Blues Blanked Again

ABOVE, PM fullback Keaton Coleman holds onto the ball while Fort Chiswell players attempt to tackle him. Coleman rushed for 81 yards on 13 carries. AT RIGHT, Fighting Blue running back Nick Reid tries to break free from the grip of a Fort defender. (Ronnie Coffey photos)

Blues Blanked Again

BELOW, PM’s Nick Reid holds the ball in his left hand while trying to avoid a tackle by a diving Fort player. Blocking for Reid is PM offensive lineman Caleb Mason. (Ronnie Coffey photos)

Blues Blanked Again
PM Still Looking For First Score Of Season

The Parry McCluer High School football team failed to score for its fourth consecutive game and fell 19-0 to nondistrict opponent Fort Chiswell in Buena Vista.

Coming off a bye week, the Fighting Blues’ offense showed signs of improvement, but PM (0-4) failed to convert on their red-zone chances.

Fort Chiswell (2-3) took advantage of the Blues’ missed opportunities and relied on a strong defensive and special teams performance to spoil an evening on which PM honored its new Athletic Hall of Fame inductees, as well as members of the 1979 state championship football team.

It seemed imminent that PM would get its first score of the season. Twice, the Blues drove the ball to the Fort 1-yard line. But both times, the Pioneers’ defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs.

“We can’t continue to drive the ball up and down the field for nothing,” PM head coach Mark Wheeler said. “We have to put it in the box.”

On their second drive of the game, the Blues powered their way to the Fort 4-yard line and set up first-and-goal. On fourth down, from the 1-yard line, PM tried to run Nick Reid around the outside, but he was tackled for a loss.

“There is no excuse for not punching it in,” Wheeler said. “It’s a matter of who wants it more when you get that close and we obviously didn’t want it enough. We have got to keep developing our mental toughness.”

Two weeks earlier, the Blues defense allowed only six points to James River in a 6-0 loss. On Friday night, they put in another solid showing and made several key stops.

Following a PM fumble on the opening drive, the Pioneers looked poised to take an early lead. They drove to the PM one-yard-line, but the Blues’ defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.

PM’s offense dominated the first half and ran the ball with ease. The trio of Keaton Coleman, Nick Reid, and Ty Ruley all found success on the ground.

Early in the second quarter, Coleman, who finished the game with 81 yards on 13 carries, broke a long run down the sideline before he was tackled near the Fort 10-yard line. Unfortunately for PM, the play was called back for a holding penalty and the drive ended in a punt.

With under four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Pioneers seized momentum when Dylan Bailey connected with Curtis Coffey on a 5-yard TD pass that put Fort ahead 6-0 at halftime.

The Blues tried to mount a second half comeback, but the Pioneers’ stingy defense kept them off the scoreboard.

Early in the third quarter, the Blues’ offense was pinned deep in their own territory and attempted a punt from the back of the end zone. The coverage on the play broke down and Tyler Crigger blocked the kick, which was recovered for a Fort TD. The two-point conversion attempt failed and the Pioneers led 12-0.

Later that period, the Blues got back to the run game and powered their way to the Fort 1-yard line for the second time of the night. On fourth down, the Blues ran a pitch play to Keaton Coleman, who looked like he might get the edge. But again, the Pioneers’ athletic defense bottled him up and forced another turnover on downs.

After the big stop, Fort regained the momentum and never looked back. The Pioneers killed clock and Ezra Varney capped the scoring with a 19-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.

When asked about takeaways from the game, Wheeler said, “We are starting to come together more as a team. It doesn’t look like it on the scoreboard, but we have made some considerable steps.”

In his home debut after transferring from Rockbridge County High School, Ty Ruley showed his athleticism at times, but he was unable to find much success. Ruley finished the game with 41 yards passing.

“Ty is coming along,” Wheeler said. “It’s hard to teach someone a new system in just four weeks; he should be good to go by district play.”

PM captain Brendon Conley put in another solid performance and led the team with four solo and three assisted tackles.

Dylan Bailey and Jonathan Poole paced the Pioneers with 72 and 65 rushing yards, respectively.

The Blues play their last nondistrict game when they visit Roanoke Catholic (3-1) this Friday at 7 p.m.

FC 0 6 6 7 19

PM0 0 0 0 0

First Quarter

No scoring

Second Quarter FC – Coffey pass from Bailey (kick failed)

Third Quarter FC – Porter 2 blocked punt return (pass failed)

Fourth Quarter FC – Varney 19 run (Dunford kick)

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