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Bluestone gridders set stage for opener

South Boston News
Bluestone QB Larry Bullock avoids the sack. (Mike Moseley photo) / August 28, 2019

The Bluestone varsity football team is set to kick off regular season play on Friday night when they host John Marshall High School for the first matchup of a 10-game season.

Bluestone and JMHS finished last season with identical records of 4-6. John Marshall is a Class 3 school out of Richmond and is a member of the Colonial District.

In preparation for the season opener, the Barons scrimmaged Franklin County on Monday night in Skipwith.

The first half of the game on Monday was done in traditional-scrimmage style — with the coaches on the field assisting and instructing their teams. The second half was played live and coaches were able to see how their players responded in real-game situations.

Bluestone did a solid job on defense throughout and held Franklin scoreless in the first half. Bluestone’s offense played well enough to challenge the Broncos in the first half, but the Barons were also unable to post any points.

The second half of the game was run with two, 10-minute quarters. Franklin came out a lot more active on offense in the second half and were able to put up two TDs – both touchdowns were aided by some missed assignments and at times, missed tackles by Bluestone.

Much to Bluestone’s credit, the team continued to play hard and in the final quarter their efforts were rewarded. The Barons posted their first TD off a run by Neil Clayton Jr., at running back, who hit a nice opening in the middle of the line and outran the Broncos’ defense for a 70-yard TD.

John Clark came on to kick the PAT.

Franklin had the ball for the final possession of the scrimmage. On third down the Broncos QB broke free for what looked like a huge gain, until he was stripped of the ball.

Mohammed Ghanem scooped the ball up and charged to the endzone for Bluestone’s final score of the night. Baron head coach Harry John said that there is room for improvement, but he was satisfied with the way the team played.

“I felt really good about tonight, finally getting to play someone else,” John said. “The kids let it all hang out. I’m really proud of how they showed up because at the end of the day they didn’t stop playing. I’m happy to see that because there were plenty of times last year where we would have quit as soon as the first sign of trouble comes.”

“I think this year we’ve clearly got a group of fighters. Coach Wilkerson’s defense did look great. Coach Bateman’s offense looked pretty good — as soon as we tighten some things up, we’ll be great.

John was particularly impressed with two of his players, Clayton and Ciantre’ Duncan.

“Ciantre’ Roberts Duncan, number-33 out there tonight, played really good and will be a good linebacker for us,” John stated. “Neil was the same old rock, both on offense and defense. But I’m really excited to see what Ciantre’ does in the next few weeks. He was injured last year and it’s good to see him back this year.”

Game time for Friday is 7 p.m.

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