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“We’re not just some feel-good story anymore,” said Head Coach Chuck Poston, following his team’s 21-10 win over E.C. Glass.
He’d have gotten no argument from the Hilltoppers. As they loaded their buses for the trip back to Lynchburg, they were feeling anything but good.
That feeling came, in large part, from a stingy Staunton River defense and a man named Meech.
The Eagle defense continues to develop. Against a highly-regarded Glass attack, it yielded but three meager points.
Coles, meanwhile, showed why he was selected as the Blue Ridge District’s offensive Player of the Year.
Is it possible to be both a workhorse and a thoroughbred? Coles’s performance seemed to indicate that it is.
The senior churned out 223 yards on 40 attempts.
“I knew I’d carry a lot,” said Coles. “Coach Poston told me I would.”
With quarterback Cody Jones out with an injury, Poston had little choice but to turn to Coles.
As the entire Staunton River offensive output was 228 yards, Coles accounted for 97.8% of the production, by our math.
More importantly, he accounted for the first two Staunton River touchdowns.
The first came on the opening possession of the game, capping a nine-play drive.
The second was set up by Ja-Rod Alston’s fumble recovery late in the first quarter.
With quarterback Paul Williams and company set up on the Glass 37 yard line, the Eagles made quick work of things.
On consecutive plays, Coles ran 9, 5, 8 and 15 yards. When he was done, the scoreboard read Staunton River 14, Glass 0.
Halfway through the second quarter, Glass came to life as Lamont Hamlette caught fire. Hamlette went on jaunts of 14 and 24 yards to push his team to the Eagle 16 yard line.
Middle linebacker Brian Ellis came up with a pair of big plays, nailing Hamlette for no gain in the 13, and nearly intercepting a pass.
Glass settled for a 25-yard field goal off the foot of Zach Boedeker.
“We gave up a (few points),” said Ellis, “But that was still too much.”
Glass had the points, but River had the moral victory.
That lasted all of 14 ticks on the game clock.
On the next possession, River fumbled out of the single wing. Jimbo Moore picked it up for the Highlanders and scooted 15 yards for the TD.
Big Mo now was Glass’s.
Fortunately for SR, halftime came to neutralize things.
After a calm third quarter, Glass suffered heartbreak in the fourth. Hamlette went on a 60-yard dash to the River six yard line, only to have it called back for a holding penalty.
On Glass’s next possession, Jordan Anderson’s pass was picked off by River backer Solomon McCullough.
“Bobby Hobbs had noticed (a Glass receiver) had been uncovered the previous play,” said McCullough. “He told me to pick him up.”
McCullough did so, got his pick and rambled 37 yards to the Glass 38.
From there, Coles tore off four runs, setting up Williams for the QB sneak touchdown.
By the way, Williams played a nice, crisp game, filling in for Jones.
Sure, Williams is only a sophomore, but he showed remarkable coolness throughout the contest.
The win gave Staunton River its first home playoff win since the 1990s, when many of these players were toddlers.
“I’m thankful to be a part of this,” said McCullough after the win. “I’d like to see this become the start of a new tradition.”