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Beavers beat Mavs to keep playoff hopes alive

Bluefield (23) vs. James Monroe (13)
Written: Oct 29, 2011
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By JONATHAN GREENE

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — The Bluefield Beavers were in a must-win situation to keep their playoff hopes alive.

In their first home game since Sept. 16, the Beavers (4-4) kept those hopes alive with a 23-13 victory over James Monroe (2-7) on a cold, rainy Friday night at Mitchell Stadium.

“I’m proud of our kids for overcoming some early fumbles and a turnover returned for a touchdown,” Bluefield head coach Fred Simon said. “Just kept battling. They did a nice job of beating a well-coached, hard-nosed football team.

“Their kids played hard over there. And we had to overcome them playing a real good game.”

Bluefield turned the ball over twice in the first half — once on an interception in the red zone and another on a fumble which went 68 yards for a Maverick score. However, James Monroe fumbled three times including one in their own end which set up the Beavers first touchdown.

“We fumbled two or three there,” James Monroe head coach Donnie Jackson said after the game. “I guess that was the turning point in the game when we fumbled and gave them a short field. You hate to cry-baby around.

“There was a whistle on the first one, but the ref didn’t give it to us. It was nasty in the first half, but the second half wasn’t to bad.”

The first half featured a heavy rain in near freezing temperatures. Both of Bluefield’s turnovers came then as did two of the three by the Mavericks.

“The conditions, but we have to overcome that kind of stuff,” Simon said of the early turnovers. “When things are bad weather-wise, we have to overcome it and be better mentally.”

The Beavers used a ground attack to pound out 313 yards and three touchdowns. Their defense limited James Monroe to only 153 total yards of offense with 160 coming on the ground.

“We’re locked down pretty much to a running game,” Jackson said. “When we throw it, bad things happen. Our gameplan was to come up here and take it right at them.

“It almost worked. I thought we did well.”

The game started out sloppy with James Monroe fumbling on their opening series and Bluefield’s Cody Gore pounced on the ball. The Beavers’ drive stalled though and they were forced to punt.

After a Mavericks’ punt, Bluefield began to put together a solid drive. However, D.J. Edwards bobbled the ball and James Monroe’s Zach Payne picked it up and ran 68 yards for the game’s first score.

The Mavericks would repay the Beavers in the second quarter with a fumble of their own when John Mustain fumbled the snap and Tanner Williams fell on the ball.

Bluefield would keep the ball on the ground and get a five-yard score from Montel Leggett after Brad Fox converted on a crucial third and long to keep the driving going.

“When you have bad weather, you have to take advantage of those mistakes,” Simon said. “Fortunately, we did.”

The game would stay tied at 7-7 until the third quarter when Edwards trotted in from one-yard out. James Monroe would block the extra point though to make it 13-7.

Both teams traded punts before the Mavericks answered on a one-yard touchdown by Trevor Fullen which was set up by a Ryan Payne 21-yard rumble. With the chance to go up one, Ryan Wickline’s extra point attempt was blocked by Fox to keep the game tied at 13.

Bluefield had an answer though as they marched 65-yards on their next possession to take the lead on Edwards’ second one-yard rushing touchdown.

The Beavers would add a 20-yard field goal by Justin Mariotti late before sealing the victory when James Monroe fumbled on their final series.

“We played a really good football team,” Jackson said. “Bluefield played well. It was a good clean game.

“It was high school football is all about. I’m really proud of our guys and they played well. They played about as good as they could play.”

C.J. Manns led Bluefield’s rushing attack with 142 yards. Leggett added 74 while Fox finished with 43. Edwards ran for 66 while throwing for 33 more.

“It was nice to have three of them helping us out,” Simon said.” I thought Fox’s run down there when we were tied when he hit up inside their and dragged a few bodies and got a crucial first down really helped. We went on to score after that.

“All of them complemented each other real well. I was real proud of them.”

Matt Romanello rushed for 87 yards on 23 carries for the Mavericks.

James Monroe closes out its season next Friday at Greenbrier East while Bluefield will keep it’s playoff push going at home against Wayne.

“If we didn’t win tonight, we were out,” Simon said. “If we don’t win next week, we’re out. The pressure is on us. We have to play our best and we have to win.”

— Contact Jonathan Greene at

jgreene@bdtonline.com



At Mitchell Stadium

James Monroe..............................7 0 6 0 — 13

Bluefield......................................0 7 6 10 — 23

First quarter

JM — Zach Payne 68 fumble recovery (Ryan Wickline kick good), 1:57

Second quarter

BLF — Montel Leggett 5 rush (Justin Mariotti kick good), 3:21

Third quarter

BLF — D.J. Edwards 1 rush (Mariotti kick blocked), 7:49

JM — Trevor Fullen 1 rush (Wickline kick blocked), :20

Fourth quarter

BLF — Edwards 1 rush (Mariotti kick good), 8:18

BLF — Mariotti FG 20, 2:21

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — James Monroe, Matt Romanello 23-87; Trevor Fullen 12-38; Ryan Payne 5-39; John Mustain 1-0, TEAM 10(–4). Bluefield, C.J. Manns 14-142; Montel Leggett 14-74-1td, D.J. Edwards 13-66-2td, Brad Fox 10-43, TEAM 2-( –12).

PASSING — JM, Romanello 0-3-0-0-0; John Mustain 1-2-0-(–7)-0. BLF, Edwards 4-10-1-33-0.

RECEIVING — JM, Romanello 1-(–7). BLF, Brad Fox 3-26; C.J. Manns 1-7.
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GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Bluefield 0 7 6 10 0 23
James Monroe 7 0 6 0 0 13
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