By HARRISON HAMLET
(RIDGEWAY, Va.) – Revenge wasn’t on the mind of Magna Vista’s football team one week after a regular season finale loss to Bassett. Instead, the focus was on taking the first step towards the season-long goal of a Virginia High School League (VHSL) Group 3 state championship.
The Warriors managed both on Friday night in Ridgeway, beating cross-county rival Bassett 36-7 to advance to the Group 3, Region D semi-finals.
“I thought our coaches did a great job preparing the kids. I thought we made some good adjustments and the kids went out and executed,” Magna Vista head coach Joe Favero said. “In the regular season, we just try to go out and get better and better. In playoff football, you have to put a lot into your gameplan and create matchups. I thought our guys did a great job preparing and executing, as well.”
Dryus Hairston, Freddie Roberts and Ty Grant led the charge for Magna Vista and set the tone early. The Warriors scored three first-half touchdowns and tacked on a field goal while holding the Bengals to just one first down in the opening 24 minutes.
The dominant opening half left the Bengals reeling at the break, and although Bassett played better in the second half, the story of the game was told in the opening two quarters.
“It’s about surviving and advancing, but I feel great about the way we played,” Favero said. “I thought they were a good team, but we played and executed the way we needed to in order to win games.”
Hairston took on more of a dual-threat role than he has through the regular season, as star running back Louis Taylor was dealing with a minor ankle injury suffered just 24 hours before the contest. Hairston ran for 33 yards and a touchdown and threw for 151 yards and a touchdown while limiting his turnovers to just one interception a week after struggling with ball security against Bassett’s defense.
“Last week, we had two touchdowns in the second half and turned the ball over three times. We didn’t punt,” Favero said. “So, we felt like we could move the football, we just had to clean things up and not turn it over. That’s what we did here tonight.”
Roberts, meanwhile, was a jack-of-all-trades for the Warriors. The senior snagged a pair of first-down catches, then closed out the game at quarterback with a 26-yard completion to Grant and a rushing touchdown. Roberts also tallied several tackles, including a message-sending, third-down tackle for loss on the Bengals’ opening drive.
Roberts, Logan George, Dekavis Preston and Taylor limited Bassett’s ability to extend plays into the secondary while the Warriors’ defensive line was dominant at the line of scrimmage. Bassett managed only 53 yards before sacks are considered. If sacks are added to the statistics, the Bengals had a net loss of yardage on the night.
George tallied a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery in the endzone in the third quarter that essentially put the game away.
“When you get the chance to get on the ball or make a big play, the kid has to step up and make it. That’s what you expect with a senior-laden team,” Favero said. “I thought we were really physical at the point of attack. The runs that were going for two, three, four yards last week were no gain or negative this week. That was just a matter of being physical, better pad level, and the defensive staff doing a good job and getting players in the right spot.”
“We played great as a team. We need to continue getting better. We had a great week of practice and need to keep doing that if we want to win four more weeks,” Preston said. “It’s always good momentum when you win, but especially with a showing like this. We just keep getting better and better.”
Magna Vista (8-3) moves on to the VHSL Group 3, Region D semi-finals where they will face Northside (8-3) in Roanoke at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Bassett (6-5) is eliminated from the playoffs. Lord Botetourt (11-0) and Hidden Valley (7-4) will play in the other Region D semi-final on Friday night.
If Magna Vista wants to claim their third state championship under Favero, they will need four more wins on the trot. Favero, though, is taking it one step at a time.
“You have to take these games one at a time. We go to Northside and we’ve had some good games with them in the past,” Favero said on Friday. “I haven’t seen them on film yet, but I’m sure they’re a well-coached, very athletic team and we’re going to have to go up there and play well.”
Magna Vista High School 36, Bassett High School 7
BHS – 0 0 0 7 – 7
MVHS – 14 9 7 6 – 36
3:25 – MVHS – Dryus Hairston 1 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
1:26 – MVHS – Louis Taylor 6 rush (Cory Osborne PAT good)
3:41 – MVHS – Cory Osborne 30 field goal
0:56 – MVHS – Ty Grant 35 pass from Dryus Hairston (PAT blocked)
6:58 – MVHS – Logan George fumble recovery in endzone (Cory Osborne PAT good)
9:23 – BHS – Keshaun Valentine 14 pass from Jaricous Hairston (Freddi Lopez PAT good)
5:10 – MVHS – Freddie Roberts 7 rush (PAT fail)
BASSETT HIGH SCHOOL
Kevon Smith 10 for 20; Simeon Walker-Muse 5 for 0; Jaricous Hairston 4 for -2, fumble; Ty Cline 1 for -4. Total: 20 for 14.
Jaricous Hairston 6-18 for 39, TD, INT.
Demetrius Gill 2 for 17; Keshaun Valentine 3 for 13; Ty Cline 1 for 9.
MAGNA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL
Dryus Hairston 8 for 33, TD; Freddie Roberts 5 for 28, TD; Louis Taylor, 9 for 17, TD; Isaiah Neal 3 for 12; Tyler Johnson 3 for 11; Drew Santoemma 1 for 9; Kylan Brown 5 for 8. Total: 34 for 118, 3TD.
Dryus Hairston 9-20 for 151, TD, INT; Freddie Roberts 1-1 for 26.
Ty Grant 4 for 92, TD; Tyler Johnson 4 for 65; Freddie Roberts 2 for 20.