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County Bragging Rights on Line

Knights QB Josh Woodrum faces the Christiansburg rush defense.
Knights QB Josh Woodrum faces the Christiansburg rush defense.

The Hidden Valley Titans and Cave Spring Knights have a lot in common. Both had disappointing, sub .500 records in 2008. Both have bounced back to clinch Region IV playoff berths. And both sit tied for second place in the River Ridge District standings with one game left in the regular season.

In the rivalry’s seventh game since the schools split southwest Roanoke County up in 2002, pride and bragging rights are on the line this Friday night (Nov. 6) when the two surprise teams meet at Bogle Stadium.

“That’s what this game has always been about,” Knights Head Coach Tim Fulton said in reference to the rivalry. “These games have always been close, are always played with a lot of emotion, and it’s always exciting for the players.”

Cave Spring (8-1) certainly would be excited to break a three game losing streak in the series and avenge a 27-6 drubbing at the hands of the Titans last fall. A win would also clinch the #1 seed and a first round bye in the Region IV Division III playoffs.

The Titans on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from an ugly performance at Salem last weekend, which saw Hidden Valley trailing 21-0 after less than seven minutes. Though the Spartans have made plenty of opponents look bad thus far, Hidden Valley head coach Scott Weaver is anxious to see how his team will react.

“We just have to respond,” he said. “It’s a similar situation to the Brookville game, in that we had some turnovers and other costly mistakes and didn’t make them work for their points. We can’t do that against a good team like Cave Spring.”

With a win the Titans (6-3) would clinch the #2 seed in the Region IV Division 4 playoffs and a first round bye. Weaver is hoping the Titans can take advantage of the opportunity for a week off.

“Our goal is to get to 7-3, get the highest seed we can get and then the season starts over with a clean slate,” he said.

Like their counterparts, the Knights also suffered an embarrassing 42-0 loss to the Spartans on October 9th. But rather than implode, the Knights used the defeat as a lesson.

“We realized that we needed to refocus and pull together as a team,” Fulton said. “We revisited the little things – discipline, execution, stuff like that. We have a tight group, and a dedicated group, and it just brought us closer.” The Knights responded with consecutive victories over Pulaski, Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

Titans head coach Scott Weaver is wary of the Knight’s offensive attack.
Titans head coach Scott Weaver is wary of the Knight’s offensive attack.

Friday night’s contest will more than likely be decided by two standouts: Cave Spring quarterback Josh Woodrum and Hidden Valley tailback David Williams. Williams, who leads all running backs in the Roanoke Valley with 2,126 yards on the ground, struggled last week, with only 55 yards rushing and a fumble against the Spartans. Still, Williams is averaging 236 yards per game and it will take a monumental effort by the Knights to contain him.

“Their offensive line is so good, and he’s such a hard running kid,” Fulton said of Williams. “We’re just gonna have to do a good job of getting to him and stopping him before he gets started.”

Cave Spring has its own offensive weapon in Woodrum, their junior quarterback. Currently, Woodrum is second among Roanoke Valley high schools with 1,360 yards passing, to go along with 8 touchdown passes and a completion percentage over 60%.

Woodrum can do more than throw the ball: he has also rushed for seven scores on the season, making it a difficult matchup for the Titans defense.

“He makes them tough to game plan for,” said Weaver. “Cave Spring throws it well, runs it well [with Michael Cole and Sam Wright], so it’ll be a challenge for us.”

Prediction: Cave Spring 24, Hidden Valley 21

By Matt Reeve
[email protected]

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