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The Knights made a strong push in the second half, but couldn’t turn the tide against the Terriers.
T.J. WITTEN | Special to The Roanoke Times
William Byrd quarterback Zac Hill carries the ball on Friday evening. Hill had 211 rushing yards.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Experience proved to be the deciding factor at Robert A. Patterson Stadium Friday night as William Byrd held off Cave Spring 28-21.
Playing on its home turf, the William Byrd Terriers used a dominating rushing attack to build up a 21-7 halftime lead. But as the Knights settled down in the second half, they made a strong run of their own.
“First of all, give [Cave Spring] credit because they fought until the end,” said Byrd coach Jeff Highfill, starting his 33rd season with the Terriers. “But we shot ourselves in the foot, even when we were rolling.”
Byrd quarterback Zac Hill picked up nearly half (105) of his game-high 211 rushing yards as the Terriers jumped to a 13-0 lead. Cave Spring started with two three-and-out series and then when the Knights got the ball back for the third time fumbled it away.
But the Knights closed the gap to 13-7 when Zac Foutz intercepted Hill on the last play of the opening quarter and ran the ball back for a 45-yard touchdown.
“After I threw that interception, it made me a little mad,” Hill said. “We had a lot of first-game mistakes.”
“In the first half alone, the three times we didn’t score we gave the ball up on an interception, a fumble and we had two holding penalties,” Highfill said.
Highfill attributed some of Byrd’s miscues to missing its second scrimmage of the preseason when Harrisonburg was forced to cancel a week ago because of a wet playing field. “Tonight is really our second scrimmage,” Highfill said.
Byrd’s backfield of Hill, fullback L.J. Williams and tailback Simeon Horstmann combined for 307 yards on 55 carries (an average of 5.6 yards per carry) Friday night, with Hill calling his own number 34 times.
Cave Spring coach Tim Fulton was upbeat in defeat, noting that junior quarterback Alex Emery matured during the game.
“I was proud that our guys didn’t lie down,” Fulton said. “We had to grow up at halftime. With a young quarterback like Alex stepping in he had to gain his confidence.”
Emery completed all eight of his second-half passing attempts, including six throws in the game’s final three minutes as Cave Spring marched 85 yards to cut the lead to a touchdown.
The Knights attempted an onside kick with 1:23 remaining but Byrd recovered it.
Emery finished the game with 11 completions in 16 attempts for 126 yards. Foutz was his leading receiver with three catches for 54 yards.
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