NORTON — Battles are won when someone is willing to step into the breach.
J.I. Burton’s Kelly Thompson was just that someone in Saturday’s VHSL Group A, Division 1 playoff game against Holston at Lawson-Fitchko Stadium.
When Malik Miles, the Raiders’ standout running back, re-injured his ankle early in the game, Thompson stepped to the forefront.
The junior more than picked up the slack.
Running the counter to perfection, Thompson gained 180 yards on just 10 carries and scored on runs of 15 and 74 yards to lead the Raiders to a 42-21 win over the Cavaliers.
“With Malik out it was up to me to step up,” Thompson said. “I just did what was needed.”
Burton (8-3) will travel to take on Eastside (8-3) next Friday in the second round of the playoffs.
“Each time I step on the field, I realize it could be my last game,” said Burton senior quarterback Tanner Crowder. “It’s been a real honor to play for this program. That’s what I stress with the younger guys. Play like it’s your last game. You just never know.”
Dakota Barlow led Holston (5-6) with 97 rushing yards on 21 carries.
For the complete story, pick up a copy of the Nov. 11 edition of the Times-News.