2017-11-13 / Sports

Wildcats’ magical ride ends against dominant Cheraw defense

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Ledger Sports Writer

Blacksburg could not overcome special teams mistakes and relentless pressure from Cheraw’s defensive front Friday in a 40-6 loss that ended the Wildcats playoff run.

Cheraw scored in the game’s first two minutes on an 18-yard touchdown run by Quan Pittman to finish their opening drive. After Blacksburg went three and out, Pittman burst through a hole in the middle for an 80-yard scoring run for a 14-0 Cheraw lead.

Blacksburg defense shut down Cheraw’s running game after giving up 154 yards on the first two drives. Cheraw was held to 102 yards for the remainder of the first half, including a 51-yard pass.

“We knew we were good on defense. We gave up two home runs out of the game that set us back,” Blacksburg head coach Drew Chisholm said. “We ran into a buzz-saw tonight against a tough Cheraw team. They have one of the best defensive fronts we’ve faced all year.”

Blacksburg was held to 33 yards in the first half and only managed 147 yards for the game.

Blacksburg had several scoring opportunities as the Wildcats defense forced four turnovers.

A fumble recovery by Malichi Tate gave Blacksburg possession at Cheraw’s 38-yard line. The Wildcats lost a yard on the drive before punting.

After driving to the 3 on their next drive, quarterback Elijah Rodgers fumbled after a sack.

Blacksburg got another short field when a Christian Nix punt hit a Cheraw player and was recovered by Jeremiah Foster at the 30-yard line.

“We had our chances - three drives inside the 30, two inside the red zone, one inside the 5. We couldn’t scratch,” Chisholm said. “We knew it would be tough to score. We saw on film that Cheraw’s defense played their best ball in the red zone. They were able to beat our blocking schemes and put tremendous pressure on our offense all night.”

Cheraw defense forced Blacksburg to punt after only three plays on the second half ’s opening drive. Cheraw scored two touchdowns off short field position to end Blacksburg’s chances to make a comeback.

Pittman scored his third touchdown on a 10-yard run on Cheraw’s first drive in the second half.

While he attempted to field a bad snap, Nix’s knee hit the ground to give the Braves possession at the 2-yard line. Quarterback Bradley Holliman scored on the next play.

Rodgers blocked the extra point as Cheraw led 27-0 with 6:50 left in the third quarter. Kristian McClary scored on an 18-yard run and KD Duncan added a 5-yard run for the Braves final points.

Blacksburg running back Michael Hull scored on an 11- yard run with 2:51 left to avoid the shutout.

Blacksburg finished the season 6-6 overall and advanced to the second round of the Class 2A playoffs for a second straight year. Blacksburg was back to back region champions in 2016 and 2017, a feat which has been accomplished four times in school history.

“I’m very proud of what our kids accomplished this season,” Chisholm said. “Our kids battled all year and overcame a 0-5 start to be a region champions. It was a great ride. This was a special season that I will always remember.”

Blacksburg Game Stats

Cheraw 40, Blacksburg 6

First Quarter
CHE - Pittman 18-yard run (Rayfield kick.)
CHE - Pittman 80-yard run (Rayfield kick.)
Third Quarter
CHE - Pittman 10-yard run (Rayfield kick.)
CHE - Hollimon 2-yard run (Kick blocked.)
Fourth quarter
CHE - McCray 18-yard run (Rayfield kick.)
CHE - Duncan 5-yard run (Rayfield kick.)
BLK - Hull 11-yard run (Nix kick.)

First Downs79
Passing Yards45106
Total Offense147347
Fumbles Lost3-23-2

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Blacksburg - Hull 10-13, Dewberry 1-0, Rodgers 12-27, Rawlison 6-46, Watts 3-16. Cheraw - Pittman 14- 153, Hollimon 11-26, McCray 7-37, Mumford 3-9, Duncan 2-8, Ellerbe 4-8.

Passing - Blacksburg - Rodgers 5-25-0 45 yards. Cheraw - Hollimon 6-8-1 104 yards, McCray 0-1-0, Rayfield 0-1-1, McLeod 1-2-0 2 yards.

Receiving - Blacksburg - Kilgore 3-23, Peeler 1-13, Gunnin 1-9. Cheraw - Griggs 3-22, Pittman 1-9, Coit 1-51, Bowen 1-22, Sowell 1-2.

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