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Encouraging show by Bluestone after slow start

South Boston News
Bluestone quarterback Dale Sturdifen Jr. proved to be very difficult to tackle. / September 05, 2018
After opening the season at 0-2 against non-conference opponents Park View and Fluvanna County, Bluestone will begin James River District play Friday when the team travels to Randolph-Henry for a 7 p.m. match-up.

Both teams will be looking for their first wins of the season. R-H is 0-2, 0-0 JRD.

Despite losing the King of the County game to Park View on Friday, Bluestone looked good in their second game of the season.

It was just a little over two weeks ago when the Barons fell 21-0 to Fluvanna. The 32-20 loss to Park View was like night and day, with Bluestone shining even in the shadow of the team’s 16th straight season defeat in the King of the County game.

The Barons had 13 first downs in the game and posted 163 yards rushing. Bluestone’s Traveion Small had a good chunck of the ground yards and did an excellent job holding onto the ball and making good slot decisions. Bluestone has struggled to have an effective running game in previous seasons.

The passing game was on-point as wideouts Keith Gregory and Michael Harris combined for several huge gains and touchdowns on some phenomenal catches on the night. Senior QB Dale Sturdifen Jr. was 10-of-23 for 196 yards and two interceptions, and was responsible for several of the big ground gains the team had.

Bluestone had three fumbles, only losing one to PV. If there was one area that hurt Bluestone on the night it was penalty calls. The Barons racked up 13 penalties for 105 yards. In contrast PV had six penalties for 65 yards.

The catalyst for this team still resides squarely with the defense. Bluestone’s “D” gave the offense ample opportunities to deflate the Dragons — providing the team with first-and-goal opportunities three times, twice in the final 3:38 of the game.

Still, the defense stood strong causing an interception and holding PV to 143 yards on the ground and 230 yards in the air. The defense also caused two safety calls.

Bluestone will have to work harder on containing runners to avert huge gains. Much of Park View’s ground and air yardage came off of big runs or receptions of 30 yards-plus.

Neil Clayton Jr., Chris Hilliard, D’andre Alexander, Noah Forbes, Chad Hayes, Shawn Jones and Alex Hardy had strong nights at their defensive positions. Desean Hargrove, Mohamed Ghanem and several other Barons also contributed to a great defensive night.

Coach Harry John has said in recent days, once the players lock into the new system he felt they would perform well.

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