The Virginia Media Rocking Chair was on the line, and under a tent, at Glenvar’s Highlander Stadium last Friday night. For the eighth straight year the Highlanders celebrated with the rocker after taking a 19-0 win over James River in a game played mostly in a driving rain.
“I think the weather bothered them more than it did us,” said River coach Tim Jennings. “They had some trouble with ball handling, and they would have thrown the ball more often than they did on a nice night. We tried to throw it but our passing game is struggling regardless of the conditions.”
Only 17 total passes were thrown in the nasty weather, as River was two for 12 and Glenvar passed just five times, completing two. There were 71 rushing attempts and Glenvar outgained the Knights on the ground, 124-76.
The Highlanders drove the length of the field on their first possession but turned the ball over on downs when River’s Colin Cook and a host of teammates stopped Nate Johnson on the one foot line on fourth down. River couldn’t manage much offense with their backs to the goal post and, after punting the ball away, the Highlanders concluded a drive with a one yard run by Jack Camper with 2:10 remaining in the first period.
Glenvar made it 13-0 on a 13-yard run by Jackson Swanson with eight and a half minutes remaining in the second quarter. That’s how it stood at the half as the Highlanders stopped a late scoring opportunity for the Knights.
The third period was scoreless as the rain picked up, and in the fourth quarter Swanson put an insurance score on the board with a 31-yard sprint with 5:35 to go and that was the ballgame.
Connor Church led the Knights with 60 yards rushing on 20 attempts. River had just 83 offensive yards on 45 plays and five first downs, including one by penalty.
The River defense had a decent night, holding Glenvar to 155 total yards and seven first downs. John Austin had 12 tackles, Jake Benson had eight and Cook, George Toliver and Church had seven each.
Now 2-3, the Knights will entertain Alleghany this Friday for Homecoming. The Mountaineers are 4-2 with wins over Roanoke Catholic, Bath County, Covington and Staunton River and losses to Cave Spring and Radford. The Knights have won the last four meetings in this series and shut out the Mountaineers twice in 2021, 26-0 in the rescheduled spring season and 29-0 in the fall.
“They’re much improved,” said Jennings. “They’re physical and they have a good running game.”
Tim hopes the Homecoming festivities won’t hurt the Knights’ chances.
“It’s a ton of distractions,” he said. “We ride in the parade and then when we get off the bus it’s a mad dash to get ready, but it’s good for the community so we’re glad to do it.”