By HARRISON HAMLET
(Ridgeway, Va.) – After rocketing through the first three weeks of the season, scoring early and often to earn three wins, Magna Vista’s football team came back down to earth on Friday night in a 40-26 home loss to Franklin County.
The Warriors gave up two early big-play touchdowns on a kick-return and a long run, putting them in a hole they could not climb out of despite three touchdowns from running back Louis Taylor.
“We knew Franklin County is big and physical and a good team. They lost to Salem and E.C. Glass, two very good teams,” Magna Vista head coach Joe Favero said. “I don’t think we played our best either. Our special teams had been very good up to that point in the season, but we gave up a kickoff, then a big run early in the game. We settled in and played pretty well after that, we just never fully regrouped.”
Despite falling behind 14-7 after the first quarter, and 21-14 at halftime, Magna Vista did battle back within striking distance with two scores in the third quarter. The first play of the fourth quarter, however, would prove decisive, according to Favero.
“We had a backward pass that they scooped up and ran in for a score,” Favero recalled. “I thought we played hard the whole game, we battled back and had the ball down two at midfield. That backward pass was the first play of the fourth quarter and just killed our momentum.”
Turnovers were not the crux of the problem for the Warriors in the loss, as junior quarterback Dryus Hairston maintained the ball-protection that has been a calling card of his through the first four games, despite the aggressive offense the Warriors utilize.
“Dryus didn’t throw any touchdowns, but he didn’t have any interceptions either,” Favero said. “He took care of the ball and made good decisions in the passing game.”
Star running back Taylor punched the ball into the endzone on three occasions, but only tallied 67 yards, as Favero noted the Warriors struggled with Franklin County’s size.
“We struggled to run the ball right at them,” Favero said. “They are a big, physical team and they made it tough for us to sustain success on the ground.”
Next up for Magna Vista (3-1) is a Martinsville (0-4) team that is struggling with injuries at the moment. Those struggles for the next opponent in recent weeks do not translate into a lack of focus for Magna Vista this week as they prepare to host the Bulldogs.
“I think coming off a loss, we’ll have a focused group intent on improving what we did wrong,” Favero said. “Martinsville has some good athletes and we’ll have to tackle well. Offensively we’ll have to play cleaner to have success. Ultimately, we have to do our job, play fast, and play hard to win.”
FCHS – 14 7 7 12 – 40
MVHS – 7 7 12 0 – 26