By ELIZABETH KANIPE
Radford (4-0) hosted Christiansburg (3-0) Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams. Last year Christiansburg rolled over the Bobcats 63-0. Radford came to this game looking to avenge that lopsided loss and prove they belong in the top tier of teams in Virginia.
The Blue Demons took the first possession and were forced to punt after gaining one first down. Radford gained no yards in their first possession and returned the ball to Christiansburg at their own 44 yard line. Christiansburg rotated running backs and attacked the Radford defense. Kendric Long got the majority of the carries and scored on a 1 yard run with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Radford answered quickly. Landen Clark completed passes to Parker Prioleau, Marcell Baylor and TJ Aursby to get the ball to the Blue Demon 11 yard line. After a Prioleau run for no gain, Clark hit RB David Woodward out of the backfield for the score tying the game at 7 all with 3:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Christiansburg failed to gain a first down with Radford’s Charlie Davis having two tackles for losses and Christiansburg was forced to punt. Radford took over at their own 34. Clark hit Prioleau for a 15 yard gain and a 15-yard sideline penalty on Christiansburg moved the ball to the Blue Demon 34. Clark then hit Baylor for an acrobatic catch in the endzone to give Radford a 14-7 lead with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.
Both teams exchanged punts after failing to gain first downs and Christiansburg took over at their 31 yard line. The Blue Demons took to the ground and alternated between four running backs and eventually scored from 5 yards out on a run from Jayron Thompson. The score was now tied at 14 with 7:29 left in the 2nd quarter.
Radford quickly responded. Clark hit Max Kanipe for a 21 yard completion and then ran for another 15 yards. After a pair of incomplete passes, Clark hit Baylor again for a 28 yard score with 4:08 left in the first half. Vance Steele hit the extra point which became the deciding point. Radford led 21-14.
The Blue Demons then drove to midfield where the drive stalled when Radford’s Woodward tackled Long for a loss on 4th and 1. Radford’s Clark hit Prioleau for a 17 yard gain and then ran for another 17 yard gain. Radford got to the 16 yard line before trying a fake field goal attempt. Clark rolled to his right and the pass fell just short of Owen Dunn, ending the half.
Radford received the halftime kickoff but fumbled the return where the Blue Demons recovered at the Radford 34 yard line. Christiansburg took to the ground again and Thaxton Henley carried it 8 times for 27 yards in the series. QB Tanner Evans scored from 4 yards out to bring the Blue Demons with 1 point. Spencer Conner attempted the PAT but Radford’s Charlie Davis broke through the line and blocked the kick to preserve the Radford lead.
After that scoring drive both teams moved the ball but neither was able to finish for a score. Radford drove to the Blue Demon 14 yard line and after a penalty, Radford missed a field goal attempt on 4th and 15 with under 5 minutes left in the game. Christiansburg started moving the ball again but Davis made a huge tackle for loss again on fourth down to end the Blue Demon drive.
Christiansburg took possession with 59 seconds left with one last chance to score to win the game. QB Evans had yet to complete a pass and his first attempt was broken up by Prioleau. His next attempt was intercepted by Clark giving him his 3rd interception of the year and sealed the Bobcat victory.
Clark completed 20 passes on 35 attempts for 274 yards and 3 TDs. He also rushed for 106 yards on 19 carries. Baylor had 109 yards on 8 catches and 2 TDs. Prioleau had 9 receptions for 102 yards. Christiansburg finished with 243 yards rushing but was held to zero yards passing on 7 attempts.
Radford will travel to Alleghany (4-1) on the 30th looking to remain undefeated against another run oriented offense. Alleghany’s only loss came two weeks ago against Cave Spring.