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Bluestone grinds out tough win over PE

South Boston News
Taveion Small picks up yardage in second half of Bluestone's game against Prince Edward. / September 20, 2017
Bluestone traveled to Farmville on Friday night to take on the Prince Edward Eagles and earned a hard-fought 14-13 win.

The 17-point total was a far cry from what each team had posted in their James River District openers — with Bluestone scoring 46 points in its victory over Randolph-Henry and PE posting 48 points on Cumberland.

Bluestone is now 2-2, 2-0 JRD.

Each team had a slew of turnovers on the night — six for Bluestone and eight for PE — but converting others’ mistakes into points was a challenge for both teams.

Bluestone kicked off to the Eagles to open the game. PE put together a nice drive after starting at their 33 and eventually worked their way down to the Barons’ nine. Facing a forth and seven situation, however, Prince Edward went for the FG and missed.

Bluestone took the kickoff and on their first play from scrimmage fumbled and PE recovered. But thanks to some great defense by Barons, the Eagles were again held scoreless.

The next series of plays for each team resulted in punts and then two fumbles apiece, which were recovered by the opposing teams’ defenses. At the end of the first quarter the Eagles were facing a third and one at their 41.

Prince Edward picked up the first down at the top of the second quarter to keep the drive alive. With a third and 10, the Eagles took to the air with a pass out in the flat.

Bluestone’s defense read the play well and as the Barons’ “D” laid a solid hit to the runner the ball was jarred loose, picked up and run back for a TD by Walter Evans for a 6-0 Bluestone lead.

The Barons held PE to three and punt on the Eagles’ next set of downs. Bluestone began its drive, first and 10 at the 25, with 8:50 remaining in the second.

Bluestone took a sack on first down for second and 15. A substantial gain by Baron QB Dale Sturdifen Jr. resulted in a third and four situation.

On the next play Sturdifen found a wide-open Cedric Taylor on a pass route. But the ball bounced off Taylor’s chest and a very astute PE left cornerback picked off the ball in mid-air and returned it for an Eagles’ TD. With the PAT, the Eagles jumped ahead 7-6.

Bluestone wasted no time in responding to the Prince Edward TD. The Barons’ Dailey Roger Jr. returned the kickoff to the 40-yard line to give Bluestone good field position.

On first down, Sturdifen was sacked for a seven-yard loss. On second and 17 Sturdifen went to his go-to receiver, Chris Gregory.

Gregory caught a pass for a seeming two or three yard gain, then broke a tackle and ran to the Eagles’ 28 for a first down. After a nice run by Taveion Small to the 20, Sturdifen took the snap and blazed a trail to the corner of the end zone for the TD.

The two-point conversion was good, putting the Barons ahead 14-7 with 5:29 remaining in the first half.

PE fumbled on its next series, Bluestone recovered and went three and out. The Barons’ defense kept the Eagles from scoring before halftime after PE worked the ball down to the Barons’ 19-yard line.

Bluestone received the kickoff to open the third quarter but punted after facing a third and 13 at the 34.

PE had an excellent opening drive until Bluestone’s Dailey intercepted an Eagle pass for first and 10 at the Barons’ nine. Bluestone was unable to gain any ground but had a great punt to push PE back to the 27.

Though the Barons were having a better time on the ground than in the first half, the second half wasn’t producing any points for Bluestone.

The game remained scoreless until with 4:43 remaining in the game, when Prince Edward mounted its final drive. Starting from their 20, the Eagles picked up three yards.

Looking at fourth and eight, the Eagles kept the drive going with a gain to the 43. After some decent defense by Bluestone, PE was staring at a fourth and 16.

The Eagles ran a pass play down the middle, made the completion and got a facemask call on a Bluestone defender to pick up the first down.

With 1:53 left in the game, it was first and 10 for Prince Edward at the Bluestone 30. The Barons jumped offside on first down and on the next play PE got a procedure call.

With 1:33 left to go, the Eagles broke the pylons for the TD and the 14-13 score. Riding the momentum of the touchdown and a vocal surge by the home crowd, Prince Edward decided to go for two points.

As the ball was snapped, the handoff was botched and the ball fell to the ground — as did the PE running back who secured the fumble. Bluestone remained ahead, 14-13.

An onside kick was thwarted by Bluestone and the Barons held on for the one-point victory.

Bluestone returns to their home field on Friday to take on the Amelia Raiders. Amelia is 2-1 in the JRD with wins over Buckingham and Cumberland.

Bluestone currently sits third in the JRD, behind No. 1 Amelia and Goochland. Game time Friday with the Raiders is 7 p.m.

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