By HARRISON HAMLET
(RIDGEWAY, Va.) – Football fans in Ridgeway have become used to explosive offense from Magna Vista under head coach Joe Favero. Those in attendance on Friday night for Homecoming were not left disappointed; as the Warriors bounced back from a slow first half following their bye week to earn a 41-0 win over Patrick County.
“After the bye week, we stepped off the gas mentally a little bit,” Favero said. “We got together at halftime, regrouped and played really well in the second half.”
Louis Taylor and Ty Grant found pay-dirt for Magna Vista in the first half, Taylor on a two-yard rush and Grant on a 30-yard pass from Dryus Hairston, but Patrick County just missed two chances to score themselves, leaving the Warriors with a precarious 14-0 lead at halftime.
The Cougars came within a foot of tying the game at seven, but Magna Vista defensive standout Dekavis Preston forced a fumble on a rush by Patrick County’s Jonny Crowell, and Taylor recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
“That was a big one,” Favero said of Preston’s play. “It would’ve been 7-7 and they fumbled into the end zone and we got a stop there. That was really their only threat to score, but luckily we were physical and got the ball out.”
Patrick County just missed a wide open pass play on their next possession, and the “what-ifs” left Cougars head coach David Morrison wondering what could have been.
“We let some opportunities slip through our fingertips. We fumbled in the end zone, that was a tough one to swallow, then we missed a few open pass plays and have a couple of mental breakdowns on defense,” Morrison said. “We can’t beat ourselves, and that’s what we did. I give all the credit to Magna Vista, they did exactly what they needed to do tonight to win. That is a fantastic program, those guys work hard, play hard and are a well-coached team. We didn’t take advantage of the situation when we needed to in order to stay close.”
After halftime, Magna Vista erupted. Sophomore standout Tyler Johnson scored twice in the third quarter and Taylor put the game out of reach with a score to open the fourth quarter. Hairston found Isaac Ellison for a late score that emphasized the Warriors’ offensive achievement.
“I thought we just played harder in the second half,” Favero said. “We played a lot smarter and quit making mistakes. We had a lot of mistakes in the first half, a lot of drops, we missed some easy reads offensively and missed some tackles defensively. The second half was different.”
Johnson, in particular, impressed on the night, tallying 127 total yards with a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown to his name after a trio of drops in the first half. The sophomore is coming into his own at just the right time, according to Favero.
“I think he has a huge future,” Favero said of Johnson. “He is quick as lightning and seems to make big plays when we need him to. He doesn’t mind putting that pressure on himself to make a big play when we need one. I’m glad he could not play his best in the first half, then find a way to bounce back and play well in the second half.”
Taylor continued his impressive senior campaign on the offensive side of the ball, scoring twice and gaining 133 yards on just 21 carries.
Junior quarterback Hairston also continues to impress, throwing touchdown passes to three different receivers – Johnson, Grant and Ellison – and completing 11 of his 21 passes in the first cold weather game of the season for the Warriors.
“We didn’t throw the ball very well early, we had some drops, and I think Dryus got off track mentally trying to make some throws he didn’t need to,” Favero said of Hairston’s performance. “We got back in sync and calmed down and played well in the second half.”
Not to be overlooked, defensive coordinator Joe Fielder’s unit pitched a shutout, their second in the last three games and their fourth game of the year allowing less than 10 points.
Now, Magna Vista (6-1) must prepare for an explosive Halifax County (5-2) team coming off a loss to G.W.-Danville. The Comets visit the Warriors on Friday night.
“They played G.W.-Danville tough so we’re going to have to be ready no doubt,” Favero said of Halifax County.
MAGNA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL 41, PATRICK COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 0
MVHS – 7 7 14 13 – 41
PCHS – 0 0 0 0 – 0
6:50 – MVHS – Louis Taylor 2 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
3:19 – MVHS – Ty Grant 30 pass from Dryus Hairston (Cory Osborne PAT good)
11:02 – MVHS – Tyler Johnson 30 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
2:50 – MVHS – Tyler Johnson 67 pass from Dryus Hairston (Cory Osborne PAT good)
10:46 – MVHS – Louis Taylor 2 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
4:19 – MVHS – Isaac Ellison 25 pass from Dryus Hairston (PAT fail)
MAGNA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL
Louis Taylor, 21 for 133, 2TD; Tyler Johnson 2 for 38, TD; Dryus Hairston 3 for 21; Kylan Brown 3 for 10; Andrew Santoemma 1 for 5; Isaiah Neal 1 for -1. Total: 31 for 206, 3TD.
Dryus Hairston 11-21 for 185, 3TD.
Tyler Johnson 4 for 89, TD; Isaac Ellison 3 for 52, TD; Ty Grant 2 for 35, TD; Andrew Santoemma 1 for 11; Louis Taylor 1 for -2.
PATRICK COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
Dae’Shawn Penn 18 for 52; Carson Merriman, 6 for 26; Jonny Crowell 6 for 14, fumble; Will Sprowl 7 for 9, 2 fumbles. Total: 37 for 101, 3 fumbles.
Will Sprowl 8-15 for 105; Dae’Shawn Penn 0-1 for 0.
Dae’Shawn Penn 4 for 61; Bryson Fulcher 2 for 21; Wyatt Argo 1 for 16; Jonny Crowell 1 for 7.