By HARRISON HAMLET
(BASSETT, Va.) – Bassett head football coach Brandon Johnson described him as a horse. A fan walking through the parking lot described him as a locomotive. Against a Dan River team that had given local schools Magna Vista and Martinsville fits in the opening weeks of the season, Kevon Smith was simply brilliant.
The senior running back toted the ball 34 times for 208 yards and three second-half touchdowns in Ed Bassett Stadium on Friday night, leading the Bengals to a 28-19 Homecoming win and lifting their record to .500 for the first time in Johnson’s tenure at the helm of the Bassett program.
After a sloppy first half that saw both Bassett and Dan River turn the ball over multiple times, Johnson knew Smith and the offensive line in front of him were the key to victory.
“We gave it to Kevon and I told the O-line ‘we’re going to do it over and over and get the win,’” Johnson said. “He’s a senior and has been through a lot. He has had pretty much a season and half’s worth of injuries and hasn’t been able to play at full strength. If number nine gets rolling, he is a football player. I think we saw that tonight.”
Freshman quarterback Jaricous Hairston got the Bengals on the board early with a pass to Keshaun Valentine, but the second half saw Bassett move away from traditional shotgun passing formations and towards a power-Wildcat with Smith behind the wheel of an offense that ate clock and ate yards after the break.
“At halftime, I’ve never seen my O-line coach get fired up. He’s a real calm guy. He’s the yin to my yang because I’m always fired up. But, he got fired up at halftime and challenged those guys,” Johnson said. “We came out of halftime and put the game on their back and on that horse number nine’s (Smith’s) back and said ‘let’s go win this football game.’”
Dan River’s passing game was limited by a Bassett secondary that was vocal on the field, and the Wildcats gained only 123 yards of total offense on the night. They did take advantage of some holes in Bassett’s kick coverage when Jorden Price scored on an 82-yard return to open the second half, but Smith took over from there.
“Conditioning had a lot to do with that win. We worked out a lot and ran a lot over the summer, sometimes both in one day. It played a big role,” Smith said. “The coaches didn’t tell me I was going to be the workhorse in the second half, but, being a senior, I expect that. When the opportunities were there we took it.”
Smith was the tip of the spear on scoring drives of 45, 70 and 36 yards, taking advantage of field position created by a Bassett defense that sacked Dan River quarterbacks a dozen times on the night, forced a pair of fumbles, and created multiple turnovers on downs throughout the game.
“We’ve worked our tails off in coverage because we knew they would come out and sling the ball,” Johnson said of his defense’s impressive statistical effort. “We just said ‘let’s put some pressure on them and cover and keep them behind the chains.’ If we can do that, our defense stacks up against the best in the district.”
With Patrick County (2-2) next on the horizon, Bassett (2-2) will have to “stick to their guns” to continue their success, according to Johnson.
“We were pressing some things in the first half, not sticking to our guns. We made some mental mistakes,” Johnson said. “But, the players keep proving to everybody what I already know they can do. When they get their backs against the wall, they play and they keep playing.”
GAME NOTE: After the final Bassett touchdown on Friday night, Lacey Flanagan converted the point-after, earning her first point of the season. According to Bassett Athletic Director Jay Gilbert, it was the first point in school history scored by a female player. After the play, Johnson lifted Flanagan into the air in celebration as her teammates jumped for joy around them.
Bassett High School 28, Dan River High School 19
BHS – 0 7 14 7 – 28
DRHS – 7 0 6 6 – 19
10:48 – DRHS – Robert Carter 12 pass from Tracy Glass (Ethan Lewis PAT good)
7:00 – BHS – Keshaun Valentine 15 pass from Jaricous Hairston (Freddi Lopez PAT good)
11:52 – DRHS – Jorden Price 82 kick return (Ethan Lewis PAT miss)
9:12 – BHS – Kevon Smith 4 run (Kevon Smith 2 pt. run)
0:00 – BHS – Kevon Smith 1 run (Freddi Lopez PAT miss)
0:30 – BHS – Kevon Smith 3 run (Lacey Flanagan PAT good)
BASSETT HIGH SCHOOL
Kevon Smith 34 for 208, 3TD, 2pt.; Demetrius Gill 1 for 34; Simeon Walker-Muse 3 for 11; Dylan Hairfield 3 for 8, fum.; Jaricous Hairston 5 for 3, fum. TOTAL: 46 for 264, 3TD, 2pt., 2fum.
Jaricous Hairston 9-for-12 for 87, TD
Elijah Stokes 5 for 44; Keshaun Valentine 1 for 15, TD; Demetrius Gill 1 for 12; Colby Hairfield 1 for 9, fum.; Kevon Smith 1 for 7.
DAN RIVER HIGH SCHOOL
Jordan Richardson 3 for 12; Isaac Farmer 4 for 8; Nasir Coles 3 for 0; Tracy Glass 5 for 0, 2fum.; Jonathan Hairston 5 for -4; Ethan Lewis 1 for -7. TOTAL: 21 for 9, 2fum.
Tracy Glass 5-for-8 for 61, TD; Jonathan Hairston 5-for-6 for 41, TD. TOTAL: 10-for-14 for 102, 2TD.
Robert Carter 4 for 61, TD; Jorden Price 3 for 26; Isaac Farmer 1 for 19, TD; Brian Averett 2 for -4.