CLINTWOOD — One day, Clintwood and Haysi football fans will be sitting on the same side of the field clothed in the same team colors, enthusiastically cheering Dickenson County toward a common goal.
Saturday was not that day.
Gavan Meade rushed for 156 yards and four touchdowns, passing the 2,000-yard season mark, as the Greenwave caged the Tigers 45-0 at Ralph Cummins Field in the second round of the VHSL Group A, Division 1 playoffs.
“Gavan is a heck of a running back and he’s had some great guys in front of him leading the way for the last four years,” said Clintwood coach Rick Mullins.
Meade’s achievement managed to outshine an acrimonious cloud that at times hovered over the postseason rematch.
Last year, Haysi (8-4) had its season end with a 46-28 loss to J.I. Burton. The team from Sandlick walked away with pride intact by virtue of a memorable offensive effort.
On Saturday, Clintwood’s punishing defense never let James Colley’s high-flying offense get off the ground. Then the Greenwave offense took its turn trampling the Tigers into the turf.
Meade initiated scoring with a 12-yard TD run with 6:41 to play in the first quarter. Robbie Mullins shrugged off two Tigers tacklers on his way to a 58-yard scoring run with 4:03 showing. The Greenwave added another two-snap scoring series when Meade’s 67-yard catch-and-run off a Dylan Dahley pass set up a 4-yard scoring crash by Mullins for the 21-0 lead.
Clintwood spooning out the bitter medicine made humiliation all the harder for Haysi to take. As unpleasantries were exchanged, the atmosphere wasn’t much more fun for the victors than it was for the vanquished.
“I walked into the end zone and I was 3 yards deep and I was still getting hit. I didn’t know what was going on. I don’t know if (Haysi) thought I was in or not,” said Meade, who thenceforth simply crashed headlong into any opponents encountered anywhere.
“At the end of the game, it got kind of rough. I saw some punches thrown and people getting their legs stomped on. I never thought anything like that would happen,” said Meade, who added a 3-yard TD plunge in the second quarter and scoring runs of 2 and 9 yards in the third.
The Greenwave (11-1) were not immune to emotional outbursts. A personal foul on Jacob York early in the second quarter sent the Clintwood staff into sideline anger management mode for the rest of the ballgame.
“You play (a rival) twice in a year and you beat them the first time and then you get up on them the second time, that’s a tough thing,” said Mullins, the coach. “Our guys are as much at fault as anybody else. We’ve just got to keep our heads and play football. In the heat of the battle, that’s hard to do.”
While the Clintwood offense was cranking out 444 yards of total offense, the Greenwave defense was confining Haysi to 83. The defense collected two points in the third quarter when Robbie Mullins tackled Tanner O’Quinn in the end zone.
Mullins never lost his cool but continually served up wordless commentary between the whistles. You could close your eyes and call who was tackling Haysi running back Jeffrey Bowen simply by the sound of the impact.
Clintwood’s control of the line of scrimmage allowed plays to be made on both sides of the ball.
“We were just dominated on the line. You’ve got to hand it to them. They did a really good job,” Colley said. “We have to get back on the drawing board and work toward next year.”
Clintwood travels to George Wythe for next round of the Western Sectional playoffs.