APPALACHIA VS. BATH COUNTY
REVENGE IS SWEET
We are on fire!!
Story from Coalfield.
Bulldogs charge past Bath for ticket to state title game
|WISE - Quarterback Josh Mabe threw for 111 yards, ran for 76 more and scored with three short touchdown runs in Appalachia's 42-14 state semifinal victory over defending Group A Division 1 champion Bath County Saturday afternoon.|
Halfback William Huneycutt carried 18 times for 67 yards and punched in
three scores of his own against the defending state champions on the
artificial turf of UVa-Wise's Carl Smith Stadium. Fullback Stephen Grimes
led all rushers with 94 yards, caught an 8-yard pass and scored a two-point
conversion in helping the Bulldogs into next Saturday's Group A Division 1
state championship game against Region B champion William Campbell.
The Bulldogs (11-2) will meet unbeaten William Campbell at 4 p.m. Saturday at James Madison University's Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg.
None of the three backs could have helped punch Appalachia's ticket to the title game if it hadn't been for their blue-collar Bulldog teammates up front.
"They were awesome," Grimes said, heaping praise on linemen Anthony Leonard, Cody Wilson, Keith Williams, Brad Reynolds, Anthony Bailey, Donovan Mabe, Jeremy Price and Michael Fugate. "The holes got bigger as the game went on. They dominated!"
Mabe simply smiled and nodded his head. "They played great! What else can you say?"
Huneycutt didn't even try to conceal his grin. "We couldn't have done it without them."
"I couldn't ask for much more," Appalachia coach Tom Turner said. "We didn't look too bad. The line play was super. They did a great job blocking."
kids just rose to the occasion. They've been waiting a long time for this,"
Bath County, the three-time Region C champion, dispatched Appalachia in
the 2001 playoffs when the Chargers rolled to a 34-14 win before blowing out
Sussex Central in the championship game.
Regrettably for the Bulldogs, the winners have little time to savor the
sweet taste of revenge. Appalachia must now prepare to meet undefeated
William Campbell (13-0). The Generals crushed Region A champ Mathews 55-7 in
the other Division 1 semifinal Saturday afternoon.
As they prepare for their first state title appearance of the new
millennium, the Bulldogs can reflect on a game in which they won the
old-fashioned way. They gutted it out up front and took control of both
sides of the line of scrimmage. The end result was more than impressive.
"They're a fantastic team, what else can I say?" he remarked. "We didn't
play real well early and it snowballed on us. They got after us pretty good
and we didn't have an answer for it."
Pioneer District champ Bath County (12-1) pulled out all the stops. Fields, sensing the game was getting away in the second quarter, even threw junior quarterback Jacob Phillips into the fray. Phillips, who suffered rib, lung and heart injuries in Bath County's first-round playoff win over Auburn, stepped under center 22 minutes into the game. The 6-3, 180-pounder displayed Herculean heart from that point, but neither he, nor his teammates, was any match for the determined Bulldogs.
"He's a gutsy kid," Fields said. "We couldn't get it done with him or
The Bulldogs took it from there. Running behind their big guys up front,
Huneycutt and Grimes peeled off yardage at will. Leonard covered most of the
middle of the field when he adjusted in double coverage to haul in a 36-yard
Mabe toss on the final play of the first period. Six snaps later Appalachia
was on top 14-0. Mabe burrowed behind Reynolds into the end zone for the
first of his three touchdowns.
The Chargers found some life in the third quarter, getting to Appalachia's 21 before fumbling and then scoring behind Phillips' 7-yard run that capped a 60-yard, eight-play drive. Hicks was the most productive on the scoring series, ripping off runs of 18 and 21 yards.
But that was as close as the defending state champs would get to next
Saturday's Division 1 final at James Madison University. Appalachia took
complete control up front during the fourth quarter and plowed ahead for
three more scores. Huneycutt made it a 28-6 game with a 3-yard toss off the
left side on the fourth play of the final frame. Mabe followed Huneycutt
around right end at the 8:13 mark for a 6-yard TD run.
Appalachia polished off its dominant effort following a reverse punt
return between brothers Anthony Leonard and Andrew Leonard. Andrew Leonard
took the ball from his older brother and followed a wall deep inside Charger
territory with 6:15 to play. Huneycutt cashed in, scoring on a 13-yard
Story from Kingsport Times News.