TOM BEAN — Sophomore Garrett Mathers rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns — and also nabbed two touchdown passes — to boost the Blue Ridge Tigers past Tom Bean, 39-19, in District 6-2A (I) action on Friday.
For Blue Ridge head coach Kevin Wiggins, the win showed his team’s progress in a critical area.
“Being in every ball game this year and not being able to close out games and finish strong, that’s one thing we’ve really been working on — finishing,” he said. “And anytime you can win on the road in district play it’s a great momentum boost.”
Mathers’ two catches for 48 yards led the way for Blue Ridge (2-4, 1-1) with teammate Brody Wiggins collecting two as well — including a 29-yarder to the Tomcats’ 1 that set up the Tigers’ second touchdown. Blue Ridge quarterback Tyson Walters completed 6-of-11 throws for 102 yards.
Kaden Walker’s fumble recovery and an interception by Joel Linn, both near midfield, ended Tomcat possessions in the second half.
Blakeston Jones led Tom Bean (1-5, 1-1) with 41 yards on 10 carries while Dillon Curd collected five catches for 65 yards. Bryce Grier threw for 103 yards and two touchdowns and scored a rushing TD.
“I think Blue Ridge really came out fired up and wanted to go get their first district win, which they did,” Tom Bean head coach Tim McFadden said. “We let some opportunities kind of get by us. Our kids didn’t rise up to the challenge. They tried, but we just had too many mistakes. Blue Ridge, my hat’s off to them.”
In the second quarter, Mathers hauled in touchdown strikes of 35 and 13 yards from Walters to put the Tigers up, 26-6, at halftime. Then his 56- and 17-yard scoring runs after the break kept the Tomcats at bay.
“He’s been special all year,” Wiggins said. “Being a sophomore running back on a varsity football team, he kind of has the ‘it’ factor. He’s a workhorse and we call him ‘The Hammer.’”
Tom Bean cut the lead to 26-12 in the third quarter on Grier’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Zach Lusk before Mathers’ two touchdown runs. Grier’s 6-yard scamper to the end zone ended the night’s scoring with 2:27 left in the third.
The Tomcats struck first with a five-play, 63-yard drive in the opening quarter, a march capped by Grier’s 6-yard touchdown toss to Curd. After the ensuing pooch kickoff was smothered by Wiggins at the Blue Ridge 43, the Tigers scored three plays later on a 2-yard Jacob Stroup run.