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Barons strike fast, pummel Prince Edward

South Boston News
Chris Gregory breaks free from the PE defender to gain the first down in early action. (Mike Moseley photo)
SoVaNow.com / September 19, 2018
Bluestone scored 28 first quarter points and the defense stood strong the rest of the way, stunning Prince Edward 28-14 and moved to 2-0 in the James River District.

The game was played Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to avoid Hurricane Florence. Coach Harry John said he was pleased with the way the players responded on the short week.

“They came out fresh and everybody understood the game plan. And everything went smoothly,” John said. “We’ll have another test this week, coming off of another short week and going away to Amelia. So hopefully, it will work out again. It wasn’t the plan but our team continues to respond to adversity everyday, not just with the ball but everything around us.”

Prince Edward won the coin toss and decided to receive the kickoff. As the return man went to gather the ball, he fumbled and Bluestone covered to begin deep in PE territory.

A throw to wide receiver Chris Gregory moved Bluestone deep into the red-zone. A failed first down run was followed by a pass to Michael Harris for an apparent TD, but the play was called back due to Harris lining up incorrectly at the line of scrimmage.

Not to be deterred, Dale Sturdifen Jr. found Jordan Hill with a nice pass in the end zone for Bluestone’s first TD with 10:51 on the clock. John Clark’s PAT was good and the Barons led 7-0.

On the Eagles’ next possession, Bluestone forced the punt. From there, the Barons’ special teams did a great job of pressuring the punter and causing a short kick.

With 7:38 on the clock Sturdifen threw to Gregory, who this time made another catch for the TD and a 14-0 Bluestone lead.

Speaking about the play of the Barons’ special teams over the past three games, John said that aspect of Bluestone’s game is very much improved.

“We’re continuing with an aggressive attitude in that regard,” he said. “Just trying to stay one step ahead of our opponent. At the end of the day special teams is a whole, third of the game.

“It was clear at the beginning of the season the lack of our special teams installment was somewhat detrimental as far as wins and losses. And then as well as moving forward it’s been a big help. So that’s something we’ve got to continue to focus on and begin to take more pride in and we will.”

On PE’s next possession, facing fourth and four near the 50, the Barons forced the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs. With Bluestone facing second and 10, Sturdifen found Gregory for the TD pass with 5:19 on the clock. Clark, who was good on all PATs on the night, lifted the Barons to a 21-0 lead.

Prince Edward was visibly rattled by the Barons’ quick scoring and their strong presence on defense and special teams, and on the Eagles next series it was just more Bluestone. The special teams set up the Baron offense on the five-yard line for a first and goal after almost blocking an Eagle punt.

Bluestone made quick work of the opportunity, with RB Trey Small running the ball past the pylons for Bluestone’s fourth TD of the first quarter and a 28-0 lead with 3:30 left to play. John said even he was taken aback by the Barons’ fast start, though he wished it had continued for a full four quarters.

“It surprised me,” John said. “I think a lot of things clicked. We’ve been definitely working towards that. It’s something that we’ve seen potential of with the offense all through the off-season and through the beginning of the season. Little things happened and we lived up to our potential.

“One thing I was kinda disappointed with was is that it happened so fast everybody was just like — Okay, it’s done now, we’re good. Kind of like we held off the gas some when we got up a little bit.

“Another thing is too, I don’t know how often these kids have come out and put that many points up on the board like that against a team. [We] came out to a dominating start and they’re just not use to playing with a lead like that. That’s just something we need to work on — staying confident.”

After a series by each team, Sturdifen pooch-kicked to end the first quarter 28-0 Bluestone. Entering the second quarter Bluestone made progress on their offensive series but not enough to score again.

With 3:06 left in the second PE got its first TD when a blown coverage in the Barons’ secondary allowed the Eagles to score. PE’s two-point conversion was good and the score was 28-8 going into halftime.

PE came out fired-up at the beginning of the third quarter and after a Barons’ possession ended on downs, the Eagles put together a nice drive to score their second and final TD of the game, trailing 28-14.

Though the Barons wouldn’t score again, Bluestone’s defense sealed the win for the home team. John said the defense continues to shore up the Barons’ learning curve.

“Our defense continues to stay strong,” John said. “We’ve got an amazing group back there and a good system run by Coach Bateman. We continue to move forward with that and their dominating presence.”







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