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Blue Devils bag Bears in late surge

November 23rd, 2013 9:02 pm by George Thwaites

Blue Devils bag Bears in late surge

Gate City's Caleb Herron (7) got behind the Union coverage for a 33-yard catch-and-run for a score that put the Blue Devils ahead for good.

View the photo gallery from the game

BIG STONE GAP —  Big Blue is back.

Gate City scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s VHSL 2A West playoff game  at Bullitt Park, toppling second-seeded Union 24-14.

The Blue Devils (8-4) will travel to face Buckingham County (9-3) in a Class 2A quarterfinal game that will be played either Friday or Saturday.

Next week’s game will mark the first time Gate City has played football during Thanksgiving week since coach Bill Houseright led the Blue Devils to the Group A, Division 2 state crown in 2010.

Running back Evan Baker, who led Gate City with 89 yards rushing, capped a bruising 13-play drive with his 5-yard touchdown run on the first snap of  the fourth frame. Placekicker Wes Byrd’s extra-point attempt went wide right, leaving Union  up 14-13.

Led by Lex Reed, Rusty Vaughn, Hunter Grizzle, Brandon Minton and Logan Rasnic, the Blue Devils' defense caged the Bears' offense from that point onward.

Gate City got the final go-ahead on Hunter Collier’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Herron  with 8:28 remaining in the game. Collier hit Rasnic with a 2-point conversion pass for the 21-14 lead.

Michael Collier ended Union’s next possession with a diving interception of a Tanner Hall pass attempt deflected off the hands of Bears receiver Austin Jessee.

With 4:02 remaining on the clock, Byrd put the dagger in Union with a 38-yard field goal —  his first of the year.

The Blue Devils have won seven straight since getting off to a 1-4 start.

Hunter Collier passed for 84 yards and rushed for 71, including a 1-yard TD sneak that initiated scoring with 6:28 remaining in the second quarter.

Union (9-3) tied the game at 7 on Hall’s 79-yard TD pass to Jay Gavin with 3:02 remaining in the first half.

The Bears went up 14-7 with 5:47 left in the third period after Mekyah Davis capped a 12-play ground drive with his 14-yard scoring scramble around the left edge.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our electronic edition.

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