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Bluestone caps big week with 20-8 victory over Randolph-Henry Statesmen

South Boston News
Jalen Pettus gets outside for a gain against Randolph-Henry. (Mike Moseley photo) / October 16, 2019
Playing in front of a near-packed stadium on Friday night in Skipwith, Bluestone defeated Randolph-Henry 20-8 to win their Homecoming Game and get their second district win of the season.

Baron students who enjoyed a week full of events leading up to the game joined longtime Bluestone football fans — some of whom took advantage of a pregame tailgate party — in bringing a raucous atmosphere to the stadium, with the crowd seeming to grow in size as the game progressed.

Baron head coach Harry John, now in his second season, was happily surprised with the crowd and pleased the team could bring home the win on a special night. Last season the Barons suffered a heartbreaking 21-20 loss in OT for homecoming.

“This is a huge program win,” John said. “This is big for Chase City, Boydton, Clarksville and just everybody.

“It was a great atmosphere with the tailgate,” John continued. “I’m glad they got all the classes back together. It was good to see bonds from high school just lasting a long, long time.

“I expect the same kind of stuff from these kids in the next 20 years. And I can’t wait to see it.”

Though the Barons got the win, the game wasn’t without its “shaking-my-head” moments. Bluestone had two TDs negated on penalty calls that had some in the stands chanting for instant replay — the norm at higher level sporting events.

And then there was the TD that Randolph-Henry scored late in the fourth quarter with Bluestone defenders clearly in reach of a tackle before the Statesman running back reached the pylons — but didn’t. R-H attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. After the first attempt failed, Bluestone recovered the kick over to seal the win.

Bluestone received the opening kickoff to start the game. The initial drive soon died out and the Barons punted.

With 8:25 left in the first quarter, the Statesmen began their drive at the 20-yard line. After getting a first down, a face mask call would lead to another first for the visitors.

R-H eventually worked its way near the red zone. Bluestone’s defense tightened, caused the fumble and recovered the ball.

Facing second and 10 at the 35, Michael Harris ran for the first down. This drive also fizzled out due to penalties and incomplete passes.

Bluestone punted with 1:28 left in the first. A solid kick put R-H on the 16-yard line.

R-H was soon at the 46, looking at fourth and four. The Statemen went for it, and Bluestone caused the fumble. Neil Clayton Jr. recovered the ball and ran it to the eight yard line for first and goal.

Harris ran to the six, but on the next play a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 11. Mohamed Ghanem ran for the TD on the next play, and John Clark was good on the PAT. Bluestone led 7-0 with 9:46 remaining before halftime.

The Statesmen had a good drive going on their next possession. They started at their 24 and several plays later were looking at a first and 10 situation at Bluestone’s 12.

A holding call on second down moved the ball back to the 23. Another nice run was negated by another penalty. Bluestone forced the fumble on the next down; the Statesmen retained possession but soon relinquished control.

Bluestone got the ball back with minimal time left on the clock before the half. A great pass to Jacob Walker would get the Barons back in the red zone. But an apparent TD by Jalen Pettus was called back and Bluestone went to halftime up 7-0.

At halftime the homecoming court took to the field. Ashlyn Knott was named Homecoming Queen, and Da’Trione Shearin was selected as the King. Both are Baron student-athletes.

The third quarter was a back-and-forth tussle by the district rivals. Bluestone got some nice defensive plays involving Clayton, Chad Hayes Jr., Kwamel Mayo and a host of other Barons. The Bluestone offense also had some decent moments, but not being able to consistently convert third-down series held the “O” back.

With 5:59 left in the fourth quarter Clayton had a 44-yard TD run. The PAT was blocked for the 13-0 score.

The Statesman were determined they weren’t going to go home scoreless. R-H’s Christopher Reed caught a pass for a touchdown, and the two-point conversion was good. That made the score 13-8 with 2:11 left in the game.

R-H attempted the onside kick, but the ball didn’t travel far enough, and a re-kick was ordered. Clayton recovered the second onside kick attempt and ran the ball down to the eight.

Clayton went on to punch the ball in for TD. Clark nailed the PAT and Bluestone went on to win, 20-8.

For the second consecutive week Bluestone had a good night running the football with 166 yards rushing and 237 total yards of offense. Clayton gained 112 yards on 11 carries and two TDs.

Walker led all receivers with three receptions for 57 yards and he added 30 yards rushing of his own. Turnovers and penalties hurt the Bluestone offense in the first half; Harris also had big TD run called back. Bluestone’s defense held R-H under 200 total yards and forced two turnovers.

Bluestone plays Amelia County at home on Friday night. Amelia lost to Central-Lunenburg last week 56-50 in triple overtime. Game time is 7 p.m.

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