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Knights Stun #1 Christiansburg With 26-21 Emotion-filled Win

Cave Spring running back Sam Wright heads to the goal line in the Knight's stunning 26-21 win over Christiansburg last Friday night.

by Bill Turner

 Don’t underestimate emotion.

Playing without their injured starting quarterback and only two days after sending fellow-student Kendall Bayne off to Duke Medical Center, amid cheers and balloons, in her fight against adrenal cortical carcinoma, Cave Spring played a game for the ages Friday night at Dwight Bogle Stadium.

With temperatures in the 30s and a steady downpour throughout, the Knights drove 85 yards in the fourth quarter to secure the come-from-behind 26-21 win over the state’s AA #1 ranked, and previously unbeaten, Christiansburg Blue Demons.

Senior Knight quarterback Reece Kingery was out with an upper leg injury sustained in the prior week’s win over Blacksburg that had him restricted to the sideline wearing a leg brace. Cave Spring went to heretofore untested Tony Simmons to run the Knight offense against the potent Blue Demon defense that had led Christiansburg to an 8-0 start. Simmons responded in championship fashion, rushing for 108 yards on 23 keepers.

Simmons performance kept the Christiansburg defense off-balance all night, and paved the way for Cave Spring standout running back Sam Wright to riddle the Blue Demon defense for 208 yards on 36 carries.

The game saw both teams score twice in the first half. Christiansburg’s Zach Snell set the tone with an 84-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game. Wright answered with a 20-yard burst to the end zone, and 2-point conversion, to put Cave Spring up 8-7.

Joey Augustin gave the Blue Demons the lead with a 39-yard run in the second quarter, before Wright dove in from one-yard out to send the teams to the halftime break tied at 14.

Cave Spring went up 20-14 on Wright’s third touchdown of the game from 17 yards out early in the fourth. The Knights, who employed trick plays and 2-point formations after all four TDs, left the door open and Christiansburg took the lead, 21-20, with just under eight minutes left in the final frame on an Augustin 21-yard run and Jake Hamley PAT.

That set the stage for the winning Knight drive. Simmons and Wright shouldered the load, as Cave Spring reached the Blue Demon 2-yard line. With everyone in the stadium expecting the ball in Wright’s hands, Simmons rolled out and scored with 1:48 remaining.

Cave Spring, which used 4 onside kicks in the game, held off a final Christiansburg drive on downs as the Cave Spring student section swarmed the field.

Knights head coach Tim Fulton gathered his squad at midfield afterward in the steady downpour. Pointing to a fan wearing a ‘Team Kendall’ purple shirt, Fulton, overcome by emotion, told his team, “This is what this win is all about. I am so proud of you.”

On a miserable night, a team, driven by the thoughts of their 15-year-old classmate facing the fight of her life, refused to be denied.

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