This will be the seventh straight season Glenvar has opened with Galax, and the two teams are 3-3 in the first six, with both going 2-1 at home. Glenvar lost in overtime to Galax, at home, in 2011 and again in Galax in 2012. The Highlanders won the next three, but last year the Maroon Tide opened with a 31-18 win over Glenvar in Galax.
Both teams have won state championships over the past three years. Glenvar won the Group 2A title in 2014, and Galax won the Group 1A title in 2015.
The Tide is well-coached with Mark Dixon at the helm. Dixon, a former player for the University of Virginia and the Miami Dolphins of the NFL, resigned during the off-season to become a college coach. A month later he decided to return to Galax after reconsidering his goals in life.
This is always a “big game early” for both teams, and Glenvar is looking forward to another good season. The Highlanders are 35-3 over the past three years and this team is capable of carrying on the tradition.
Galax is coming off an 11-3 season in 2016. The Maroon Tide lost to eventual state champion Riverheads in the Group 1A state semifinal.
“They’re always tough, very physical,” said Glenvar coach Kevin Clifford of the Tide. “They always have a good tailback. I bet they have more rushing TDs than anyone in the state since he’s(Dixon) been coach.”
The Highlanders warmed up for the opener with a benefit game at Blacksburg last Friday. The Bruins, who won the Group 3A state championship last year, outscored Glenvar 24-7. Josh Clifford scored Glenvar’s only TD.
“I thought we did well containing their two best players,” said Clifford. “Our kids played tough. It was just a scrimmage, we were very generic on both sides of the ball. I’m excited about where we’re at. Friday will be a good game.”
The Glenvar jayvees will host Galax tonight while the Glenvar eighth grade team will be in Vinton to take on the William Byrd Middle School Terriers.
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