Glenvar is at James River for a Three Rivers District game. The Virginia Media Newspapers Rocking Chair will be on the line for this game, which is also River’s Homecoming game.
The ladder back rocker is symbolic of the rivalry between River and Glenvar. The two were former Pioneer District rivals, but when Glenvar left the district to join the Three Rivers years ago, Larry Journell, who was principal at River, came up with the idea of the rocking chair. Virginia Media, publishers of the Fincastle Herald and Salem Times-Register, paid for the rocker, the shop class at James River painted it, and the winner gets to keep it for a year until the game is played the following season.
This is Jake Phillips’ third year as coach at James River and he’s yet to take a seat in the chair. The last time River won the rivalry game was in 2013 when they won it for the second year in a row.
This is Kevin Clifford’s 11th year at Glenvar and he’s 6-4 in the rivalry game, including wins in the last three seasons. While the rocking chair originally was to keep the rivalry alive when Glenvar left the Pioneer District, the two teams now find themselves in the same district again, only this time it’s the Three Rivers.
“Don’t let anyone fool you, this is a big game,” said Clifford. “It’s a huge game for us with a lot at stake. This has always been a competitive game. There’s only been a few times when it wasn’t close. We’re very comparable schools. We both have tough kids and we have good rivalries going in just about every sport.”
Glenvar comes into the game at 5-0 and as the top ranked team in Region 2C by the first Virginia High School League ratings, which came out this week. James River, at 2-2, is 10th and only the top eight make the playoffs so this is a big game for the Knights as well. A win over Glenvar would make up a lot of ground in the point standings.
The top eight are currently Glenvar, Gretna, Appomattox, Floyd County, Giles, Fort Chiswell, Dan River and Martinsville. Glenvar has yet to play a team in the region, but the Highlanders boast wins over a 3A team, Cave Spring, and a 4A team, Carroll County. The Highlanders blitzed Carroll in a Homecoming mismatch at Highlander Stadium last Friday.
“They’re a big school, they should be better than that,” said Clifford. “Their coach(Eddie Robinson) is a really good guy but that’s been a tough place to win.”
Glenvar was a tough place for the Cavaliers Friday night. The Highlanders jumped on top early when quarterback Landry Gerbers, back from an injury after missing three games, hit Josh Clifford with an 11 yard TD pass on the first Highlander series.
It got worse from there, much worse. Jack Leonard ran hard behind Glenvar’s big line to score five first half touchdowns on runs of 18, 14, 3, 1 and 5 yards. Sophomore Kaid Fuhrman, who is fast becoming a reliable kicker for the Highlanders, converted on six first half extra points and seven for the game.
The Highlanders scored early in the second half on a Gerbers to Noah Lovelace pass and Clifford started clearing the bench. Carroll avoided a shutout with two fourth quarter touchdowns, one on the return of a muffed punt.
Leonard finished with 161 yards rushing on 23 attempts before taking a seat early in the second half. Bradey Loder had 45 yards on nine rushes and Landry was 11 for 13 passing for 122 yards an two TDs. Josh Clifford had eight catches for 100 yards and Homecoming King Tyler Beckner had two receptions for 18 yards.
Defensively, Colby Street and Dakota Francisco had eight tackles each, and both had a sack. Logan Williams had six tackles and Maxx Philpott and Hunter Phlegar had five each. Phlegar also had an interception.
Glenvar’s jayvees won 32-12 at Carroll County and the middle school lost to Carroll, 22-20. Today the Highlanders host a doubleheader with Central Academy playing the middle school, followed by a Glenvar-James River jayvee game.
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