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Generals fighting to end playoff drought

November 1st, 2013 4:22 pm by George Thwaites

Generals fighting to end playoff drought

Lee High’s football program hasn’t made a post-season appearance since 1998.

If the Generals (4-4, 1-2) can find a way to upend John Battle (6-2, 1-1) at Five Star Stadium Friday night,  they’ll finally  be living in the  21st century.

“I sort of feel like we can control our destiny,” said Lee Coach Terry Martin, whose squad posted a 34-27 comeback victory at Wise Central last week.

The post-season picture comes increasingly into focus this week and will be nailed down for good the next.   There are two games left on most Southwest Virginia schedules. 

Lee High  is currently in a tie with Lebanon for the 16th spot in the West Regional standings.  Lee finishes with Virginia High next week.

“If we lose one of the two, especially this one, I don’t know what scenario will fall out. I’d just as soon we win out,” said Martin, whose squad’s key skill trio is  quarterback Houston Sage and running backs Ray Avery and Cody Haynes.

The Generals have been solid up front. They are sure to borrow a page from Gate City’s playbook. The Blue Devils (5-4, 2-1) crammed the ball down the Trojans’ throats in a ball-control 32-20  victory last week. 

A cautionary note for Lee High’s defense: an ailing Carter Harlow managed to explode for scoring runs of 60 and 31 yards against Gate City. Containment will be critical.

“My goodness, that kid can fly. If he gets a step on us, we don’t have anyone who can catch him,” Martin said. 

The Blue Devils are currently the eighth-ranked 2A team in the West Region after last week’s win. Quarterback Hunter Collier and RBs Robbie Hicks and Evan Baker have stepped up to fill the void since Caleb Herron was sidelined with an ankle injury.  Overall, the old swagger and confidence is returning to the program. 

The Blue Devils wrap up regular season play in a Mountain District finale with Wise Central (1-7, 0-3). The game will mark Warriors coach Darren Reed’s first appearance at Legion Field since last serving as Gate City offensive coordinator two years ago.

“It really shouldn’t be about me,” said Reed, who was recently inducted into the Emory & Henry athletic hall of fame. “For me, it’s another game.  It’s really about the kids. It’s more important that they get another  chance to play for a  win, another chance to enjoy it.”

Belying the Warriors’ bruised record is the fact that Central has had some success moving the football. Running back Logan Collins has rushed for 966 yards and eight touchdowns.

The last-ranked Warriors would probably have to beat both Gate City this week and Clintwood the next to entertain the faintest hopes of making the playoffs. 

In contrast,  17th-rated Eastside (4-4. 2-2) could vastly improve its chances  in the 1A rankings with a Cumberland District upset of the Greenwave (6-2, 5-0) at Ralph Cummins Stadium. The odds are long, but QB Caleb Riner is one of the best signal callers in the region formerly known as ‘D.’ 

 J.I. Burton (4-4, 3-1),  ranked 12th and a probable first-round traveler, has been through enough adversity this season not to write off Rye Cove (2-6, 1-3). Twin Springs (2-6, 2-2) travels to Thomas Walker (1-7, 1-3) for a Cumberland tilt that ought to be a hoot, but won’t likely lift either into playoff contention.

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