It was Homecoming time in Springwood last week and the James River football team made sure there were smiles all around at the dance when they won the Homecoming football game on Friday night. The Knights won 17-14 in overtime against visiting Alleghany.
“The kids stepped up and made plays when we needed them,” said River coach Tim Jennings. “It was a nice win for Homecoming.”
River drew first blood when Levi Rock picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter. The Mountaineers answered with a two-yard run in the first minute of the second period and it was tied at 7-7 at the half as River missed a 26-yard field goal attempt, wide right, with four minutes until intermission.
Alleghany took the lead with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter on a 13-yard run. That held up for just five minutes as Connor Church broke loose for a 35-yard TD run with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter and that was all the scoring in regulation.
The Mountaineers had the ball first in overtime and the River defense kept them out of the end zone. Alleghany’s Brenden Seckner missed a 34-yard field goal attempt and all River needed was a score of any kind to win the game.
The Knights had little success on first and second down, and on third down they ran a boot to the left to make sure kicker Maddox Potter had a good angle for a game-winning kick. Potter’s kick was good from 28 yards out and River had a big Homecoming win.
Statistically, Church had 168 yards rushing in 23 attempts, while Zeal Hammons was three for seven passing for just 13 yards. Alleghany running back Garrett Via rushed for 201 yards on 30 carries and the Mountaineers held a 340-177 edge in total offense, but the Knights were able to come up with the big plays at the most opportune times.
Defensively, John Austin came up big for the Knights with 14 tackles, including seven solos. Gabe Staton had 11 tackles, Jake Benson and Church had 10 each, Colin Cook had nine and George Toliver had eight. Rock and Benson had interceptions.
The win evened River’s record at 3-3 with four games to go in the regular season. The Knights are back home for “Hall of Fame Night” this Friday and Three Rivers District foe Floyd County will provide the opposition.
Floyd is having a good year. After dropping their opener to Class 3 strong boy Christiansburg the Buffaloes have won five in a row, including a three-overtime win over Glenvar last Friday, 33-27. Floyd is the third-ranked team in Region 2C, while River is holding on to eighth, with the top eight teams making the playoffs.
“They’re a good team,” said Jennings. “They’re very physical. We’ll need to play well to beat them.”