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Clintwood rolls over Thomas Walker in playoff opener

George Thwaites • Nov 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

CLINTWOOD — Some might think there was little doubt what was in store for the Thomas Walker football team in Saturday’s Region D, Division 1 first-round playoff game at Clintwood’s Ralph Cummins Stadium. But the Greenwave weren’t as straightforward as that. Actually, they were a lot more cunning. Clintwood’s wheeling and dealing defensive scheme dismantled the Pioneers’ offense from the outset en route to a 60-0 victory. The Greenwave (10-1) advance to face J.I. Burton in next week’s regional championship game at Virginia-Wi s e . “You usually get a feel for what somebody is going to do by watching tapes about their defense,” said Thomas Walker coach Brian Lee. “You can’t get a read on this bunch. They ran two different stunts at us we hadn’t seen,” Lee added. The Pioneers (6-5) managed to convert two first downs on their second series of the first quarter. One was off a 10-yard scramble by running back Zach Hensley. The other was off quarterback Travis Hall’s 15-yard completion to Cody Williams. Other than that, the first quarter was pretty much a world of hurt for the mudcaked Hensley, Hall, Corey Yeary and Steven Escobar, who col- lectively got taken down behind the line of scrimmage seven times that period alone for minus-28 yards. Clintwood defensive lineman Russell Hull and linebacker Alec Osborne were among the notable troublemakers. Most of the tackles for loss were basically a gang affair. Like hyenas on a wounded wildebeest, basically. “Hensley is a good football player. We knew we had to play well and contain him,” said Greenwave coach Rick Mullins. “They’re a big strong team and they run the ball hard. We were just able to make some plays early and take them out of what they do best. And we kind of took control from there.” Clintwood scored on every first-quarter possession. On the first series, Thomas Walker’s defense found an ally in the wet and windy conditions. The Greenwave were on the verge of bogging down on fourth-and-1 near midfield before mud-proof Chris Robinson bounced outside for a 27-yard gain. Derek Robbins, who went 4-for-6 on PAT kicks due to the erratic, gusty winds, capped the first drive with his 8-yard scoring run off the fullback trap with 8:08 remaining in the quarter. “Coach just told us to come out aggressive ... to not let up on them,” said Robinson, who rushed for 91 yards, including both of Clintwood’s second-quarter TDs, on runs of 27 and 5 yards. Osborne got only two offensive touches, both in the first quarter, but he scored on both. He collected a 20-yard scoring run for Clintwood’s second TD, set up by Robinson’s 48-yard catch-and-run. Osborne blasted off for a 41-yard scoring run with 21.1 seconds remaining in the quarter. “Usually I touch the ball maybe five times a game. I don’t really expect to run it a lot. I’m mostly about defense, really,” said Osborne, who in the second quarter tackled Hall for a loss of 14 yards after a muffed snap on a punt attempt. Cameron Vanover had an interception for Clintwood early in the second quarter. Mancel Powers — who scored on a 15-yard run in the ’Wave’s opening possession of the third quarter — added another touchdown on a 92-yard intercep-In between, Clintwood’s Trey Meade scored on a 19-yard run. ’Wave quarterback Heath Counts passed for 117 yards, with tight end Nick Robinson hauling in four catches for 44 yards. Jamie Twigg led Thomas Walker on the ground, gaining most of his 79 yards in the second half.

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