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Fast Start, Big Plays Lead Byrd Past Cave Spring 42-14

William Byrd running back Nick Hale (#35 center) finds running room Friday night in the Terriers 42-14 win over Cave Spring. (Sara Stewart photo).

It was a evening of big plays Friday night at Dwight Bogle Stadium in Southwest Roanoke County.

Unfortunately for the Cave Spring Knights, William Byrd held the upper hand in most of them.

Scoring on plays of 39-yards or more for five of their six touchdowns, William Byrd rolled out to a 28-7 halftime lead, and never looked back on their way to the 42-14 win in the season opener for both teams.

The game also began the farewell tour for Jeff Highfill, the Byrd head coach in his 38th year as the Terrier sideline boss who announced his retirement earlier this year. Highfill and his Terriers made themselves right at home at Bogle, wasting no time getting on the scoreboard. Ironically, Highfill and his squad will return next Friday night to Bogle in his trademark orange and white saddle oxfords to take on Hidden Valley.

After holding Cave Spring to 3-and-out on the Knights’ first possession, Byrd scored on its first play from scrimmage when quarterback Sam Dantzler raced 47 yards into the end zone. The point after made it 7-0 Byrd.

With 1:39 left in the opening quarter senior running back Nick Hale went 39 yards for the second Terrier touchdown, with the aborted PAT leaving the score 13-0.

Cave Spring got untracked early in the second. After converting a fourth-and-five in Byrd territory, two plays later Knights’ quarterback Jacob Knight hooked up with senior Jaquan Rivers on a 21-yard scoring strike that cut the Byrd lead to 13-7 after Timothy Neighbors’ conversion.

Byrd took the ensuing kickoff, and two plays later Dantzler again found the end zone on a 65-yard keeper. The Terrier defense held the Knights on three plays, and after a short punt, Dantzler faked a run, stepped back and found 5-11 tight end Thomas Adams alone in the secondary for a 50-yard scoring pass with 6:51 left, sending the teams to the halftime break with Byrd up 28-7.

Dantzler made it 35-7 Terriers on a 17-yard run nearly midway through the third quarter, and Knight got Cave Spring to within 35-14 with 1:31 left in the third when he masterfully scrambled before connecting on a 43-yard scoring pass to junior Ethan Coates.

Byrd tacked on a final score with 8:05 left in the game when backup junior quarterback Logan Baker got in the long-play act with a 68-yard keeper to finish off the scoring.

Dantzler finished with nearly 270 yards on the ground for the Terriers, which totaled 341 rushing yards. Zach Bowling was the workhorse for Cave Spring, picking up 83 yards on 27 carriers.

Bill Turner

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