Published: November 15, 2007 10:56 pm
Giles looks to defend Region C football crown
By JED LOCKETT
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PEARISBURG, Va. — On the last Monday of October, Sheldon Douthat proved that he could be a workhorse. He carried the ball 32 times for 148 yards and scored three touchdowns in Giles’ 35-20 win over Floyd County to all but clinch a playoff berth for the Spartans.
Now Giles is in the Virginia Class A Region C Division 2 playoffs and their opening game will be a rematch with the Buffaloes — and Douthat is looking forward to it.
“I’m definitely pumped for this one,” Douthat said. “As long as I can remember, they’ve always had a tough team. It’s always a big game.”
For Giles head coach Steve Ragsdale, every game is a big game. He kept his team out on the practice field in the face of a frigid wind to make sure every detail was covered. Then he took them to the film room for another hour to make sure every T was crossed and I was dotted.
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily more so than in any other ball game,” Ragsdale said. “I try not to let anything go uncovered ’cause you never know what can happen. You want to be prepared as best you can within reason.”
Ragsdale will have Douthat’s services tonight against Floyd County. He did not know if he would rely on them as much as he did in their earlier contest.
“It just depends on how the game goes,” Ragsdale said. “I never go into the game with any pre-determined idea as to what’s going to happen ’cause you never know what the other team’s going to do defensively.”
But if Ragsdale does turn to Douthat, Douthat will be ready.
“I just run with them and hit the holes,” Douthat said. “The line’s blocking really well this year.
“I get tired, but you just have to stand there and fight.”
Douthat is just one of the weapons Ragsdale will hope to exploit against the Buffaloes’ defense. Ragsdale gained a lot of respect for that unit in their first meeting.
“They have a very good defense,” Ragsdale said. “They’re all strong kids. They are difficult to block. They get to the football well. They’re aggressive. Every inch we got on offense was hard-earned.”
Yet the Spartans will not change much. They will stick with the same single-wing offense that has become their trademark.
“It hasn’t changed too much in 30 years,” Ragsdale said, “so I doubt that it’ll change too much Friday night. We do what we do and we try to execute it well and that’s pretty much it. We don’t normally change.
“There’s some things that we haven’t run this year because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself. But not much. What you see is what you get with us. Their coach probably knows as much about what we’re going to do as we do.”
In their first meeting, Floyd County quarterback Luke Harris went 13-of-14 for 253 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. Many of those completions were quick, short passes to the outside of the formation. It enabled them to gain yards consistently and break a couple of big plays.
Ragsdale knows that the probability of seeing this type of attack again is high.
“They certainly had success with it the first time,” Ragsdale said. “Whether or not they go back to that again, we’ll just have to wait and see. You would expect them to at least say, ‘Hey, we’re at least going to try.’”
But the Spartans have seen the Buffaloes’ passing attack in person. Then again, the Buffaloes have seen the Spartans’ single-wing in person as well.
“Probably so,” Ragsdale said when asked if his team was better prepared to stop the Buffaloes’ outside passing, “if for no other reason than just experiencing something makes you better at it.
“I would say the same is true for them as well. They’ve seen our offense. So they should certainly be better prepared for it the second go-around and hopefully we’ll be better prepared for theirs the second go-around.”
Ragsdale’s players are not focused on a trip to Salem for a state championship game. They are focused on one thing: Floyd County.
“That’s a big goal,” Douthat said. “But that on down the road. Right now we’re just worried about Floyd.”
Ragsdale believes that it will be important to get off to a good start. But he also believes that it will be important to maintain that momentum for 48 minutes.
“I think it’s going to take four good quarters of football and if you fall short anywhere along the line, first quarter or fourth quarter or anywhere in between, you may get beat,” Ragsdale said.
“They’re 7-3. They could real easily be 10-0. So we may play a whale of a football game and still get beat.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.
— Contact Jed Lockett
The Bluefield Daily Telegraph9
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Bluefield, West Virginia