The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

November 16, 2013

Stewart, Edwards lift Bluefield over Ravenswood

BLUEFIELD — Saturday night was a good night for D.J.s, at least at Mitchell Stadium.

D.J. Stewart ran for 171 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns, and D.J. Edwards caught nine passes for 154 yards as the Bluefield Beavers ran by the Ravenswood Red Devils 31-14 in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.

Bluefield junior quarterback R.J. Bourne passed for 199 yards and Ravenswood senior Heath Burgess amassed 185 passing yards in an offensive shootout. The Beavers earned 437 yards on offense and the Red Devils racked up 346 yards.

The Beavers (9-2) scored on three of their first four possessions. Edwards scored from four yards out on the sixth play of the game and added a 40-yard dash to the goal line with 5 seconds left in the opening period.

Also in the first quarter, Brandon Lilly caught a 13-yard toss from Bourne in the middle of the end zone.

Bluefield made it 28-0 in the second quarter when Edwards snagged a 13-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone.

“That’s exactly how we wanted to start it,” said Bluefield coach Fred Simon. “Then we tried to work on a few things offensively, and that took us out of our rhythm a little bit. But it’s things we thought we might need down the road.”

Ravenswood (6-5) leaned on its passing game for scoring drives of 69 and 80 yards to cut Bluefield’s lead to 28-14 at halftime.

Burgess completed scoring passes of 17 yards to Rhys Jelich and 64 yards to Thomas Sturm, who had 166 receiving yards in the first half — and none thereafter.

Ravenswood coach Mick Price said, “Their speed really affected us early. ... They got after us early and kind of got us behind the 8-ball, but I was really proud of our kids. They just kept playing.”

“We knew it was a tough situation, but we hung in there. Bluefield’s got a really good football team, and they’re going to make a lot of noise in Class Double-A, but I’m really proud of my kids.”

Bluefield defensive back Justin Carter said that at halftime, “I knew things would change. I knew Coach would fix things.”

The Red Devils took the second half kickoff and ran 18 plays, using up more than six minutes, but came up empty, turning the ball over on downs on an incomplete pass at the Bluefield 12 yard line.

Francesco Desiderio capped a 12-play drive with a 24-yard field goal with 8:45 remaining — the only points of the second half. The Italian exchange student was 4 for 4 in extra-point kicks.

Price said, “I thought the second half we played pretty well.”

Carter picked off two passes in the second half for the third-ranked Beavers.

He said, “I just did what my coach told me to. I read my keys and everything else fell into place.”

Stewart said, “I just wanted to focus mentally. I’ve got it physically, just got to have it mentally, too. My line did a good job blocking.”

“A couple of (the tackles) hurt,” he said, “but I’m not going to complain. Being a running back, you’re going to take poundings. You’ve just got to get up show ’em that it’s nothing. Just shake it off.”

The visitors were only able to get five carries from its leading rusher, Devon Crews, who was hampered by an injury, and Jelich “tweaked his ankle,” Price said. Burgess ran for 59 yards in the second half and wound up the Red Devils’ leading rusher.

Price said about Burgess, “He has improved so much. ... He’s taken so many hits. He’s such a competitor, and I thought he played his guts out tonight.”

“If there’s a kid that gets everything out of his ability, it’s Heath Burgess. I’m proud of him.”

Simon said, “We found a way to win.”

“We’ve just got to keep getting better on D (defense). We know we’re going to have to have our defense down the road to win it all, or to have a shot at it, and that’s what we’re going to keep working on.”

Carter said Friday’s win “gives us confidence, but we’ve still got to work. It’s game by game, one game at a time. We’re 1-0 right now.”

The third-ranked Beavers will host Nicholas County, which upset Wyoming East, next weekend at Mitchell Stadium. The date and time will be set this morning.

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