Photo: BROTHERLY LOVE: Independence’s Cyrus Goodson pats older brother Atticus Goodson on the head during a break during a preseason scrimmage against Meadow Bridge Aug. 28. Atticus Goodson rushed for 267 to lead an efficient offense in Friday’s 71-0 season-opening victory against PikeView.
By Dave Morrison
There is efficient, and then there was Independence’s offense Friday in a 71-0 victory against PikeView.
In a game like that you typically get one of two things, either superior statistical numbers from starters or a spread-the-wealth approach that gives everyone a chance.
The Patriots did more with less than we have seen in sometime, however
Atticus Goodson got right back to doing Atticus Goodson things with 267 yards on just nine carries. He scored on four of those carries.
It was that kind of night for Independence.
The Patriots only ran 24 offensive plays – 22 rushes for 439 yards and eight touchdowns and 2-for-2 passing for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
That’s 564 yards or 23.5 yards per play. Indy averaged nearly 20 yards (19.95) per carry.
Quarterback Isaiah Duncan completed touchdown passes of 65 yards to Trey Bowers and 60 yards to Judah Price. Price had two carries for 61 yards rushing and a touchdown. Also scoring touchdowns were Logan Phalin (3-12) Cohen Miller (1-11) and Tyler Linkswiler (4-51).
Then there is the other side of the equation.
Bluefield, which in the recent past had such a high-powered, efficient offense it would have taken three games to run 74 plays, did just that in its opener against Princeton.
Many people were surprised by the 15-13 victory against Princeton, which I think points to the improvement made by the Tigers.
Princeton led 13-0 after the first quarter and at the half it was 13-12. A Jackson Willis 19-yard field goal for Bluefield midway through the third quarter was the only scoring of the second half.
Bluefield had 39 rushes for 201 yards (5.2 ypc) and Carson Deeb was 23 for 35 for 181 yards.
Deeb did not throw a touchdown pass, after throwing for at least one touchdown in all 14 games last season.
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There was no shortage of offensive standouts in Westside’s 38-6 victory against Mount View Friday.
Daniel Reed caught three passes for 103 yards and a touchdown and had four carries for 67 yards and a touchdown, Blake Goode rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns and threw another and quarterback Jaxon Cogar threw for 202 yards (11 of 17) and two touchdowns and ran for 35 more yards and a touchdown.
The most notable improvement was on defense.
“Coach (Brandon) Fleenor and I sat down during the offseason and discussed changing up our defense,” Westside coach Herbie Halsey said “I’m a diehard 5 man (5-2 defense, which employees five down linemen). I guess the older you get the harder it is to get away from things. He gave a little bit and I gave a little bit and we went to a 3 (3-4) where I still have my nose guard.”
The Renegades pressured Jesse Rose all night and had five sacks, two from lineman Tommy Milam.
Mount View had just 20 yards of total offense and had had 16 carries for minus-11 yards rushing on the night.
Westside controlled the line of scrimmage like those stats would suggest, and Mount View had just one run of 10 yards (16 in the first quarter) or more.
“After we shut them down two or three times I think we knew we could probably control them the rest of the night,” Milam said
Along with those sacks was a Reed fumble recovery set up, fittingly, by a Blake Goode sack and Ethan Blackburn had an interception.
“These boys got after the ball tonight,” Halsey said after the game. “They tackled well, they hit hard. I was pleased with the defensive performance we saw.”
The lone Mount View came on a 91-yard fumble recovery by Tony Bailey with 3:33 remaining in the game.
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Greenbrier East coach Ray Lee was excited to get Colby Piner back from a grades-induced hiatus from the game last fall.
And with good reason. Lee has been saying all along that Piner was one of the most versatile athletes in the region, if not the state. As a freshman he scored in several different ways and followed it up with a nice sophomore season.
He wasted little time flashing his versatility on Friday night in a 39-12 victory against Woodrow Wilson.
He started the season off by returning the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. By the end of the first quarter Piner added a 49-yard touchdown pass from Monquelle Davis and a six-yard touchdown.
Piner finished the game with phenomenal numbers, nine carries for 95 yards, two receptions for 62 yards and two kickoff returns for 132 yards.
Quarterback Davis was 9 of 19 passing, for 159 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown.
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Nicholas County quarterback Jordan McKinney had a memorable first start, rushing for 128 yards and two scores and also throwing for 116 yards.
He was the first Grizzlies quarterback to top 100 yards since Tate Mayes did it on Oct. 7, 2016 against Fayetteville. Many recall that game being 44-42 win for Fayetteville in what would be an undefeated regular season for the Pirates. It was Nicholas County’s only loss that season.
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Liberty’s Braden Howell had 10 interceptions last season, which was second in the state. The ball-hawking senior was up to his old tricks in the Raiders’ 52-8 victory with another interception.
Liberty, which showed tremendous improvement last fall, looks like a team to keep an eye on this season. Quartreback Isaac Adkins threw for 179 yards, completing all five of his attempts and two TD, one two Howell, apparently as adept at catching passes from his own QB as well as the opposition signal caller.
Ryan Simms rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns.