It was a workmanlike performance last Friday as the GW Eagles took care of business, going on the road and pounding a winless Martinsville team 49-0.
Combined with a Magna Vista loss to Bassett, the win was enough to give the Eagles their third consecutive Piedmont District title. But it was not enough to move them into a first-round home game in the playoffs.
“We needed a little help,” said GW Head Coach Nick Anderson. “Thanks to (Bassett) Bengal Nation!”
After forcing a Bulldog three-and-out on their first possession, the Eagles offense started a long, methodical drive that featured four first downs. But the Eagles failed to convert a fourth down play. They wouldn’t get the ball back until late in the first quarter. The first frame ended with no score.
GW opened the second quarter with a touchdown. Quarterback Shakobe Hairston found Zavion King wide open in the middle of the end zone to make it 7-0. The Eagles then scored on their next three possessions, including two runs by Hairston. Senior Tailback Wesley Graves was still nursing an ankle injury, but he managed to rumble into the end zone late in the first half for his 30th rushing touchdown of the year. That gave GW a 27-0 lead at the half.
The second half was more of the same. Hairston scored his third touchdown midway through the third to make it 35-0 Eagles. Shawn Watlington took a counter handoff to the end zone from 47 yards out to give the Eagles a 42-0 margin after three quarters. In the fourth, backup quarterback Jeb Byrnes found Sophomore Donovan Howard for a 26-yard touchdown to give the Eagles their 49-0 margin.
The Eagles defense had its first shutout in more than a year. They limited the Bulldogs to 15 yards on the ground and 98 overall. Offensively, the Eagles showed a balanced attack with 227 rushing yards and 215 in the air. It was the most passing yards in a single game for the Eagles since 2017.
The Eagles will open the 2019 playoffs on the road but it won’t be a long trip. They’ll travel to South Boston to take on the Halifax County Blue Comets. Both teams finished 7-3, but the Comets beat the Eagles in the VHSL Points Standings by a single point.
“It’s a five-game tournament,” Anderson said. “We gotta win five games.”
In Week 7, the Eagles beat the Comets in Danville, 62-27.
Game stats from G.W. versus Martinsville:
First Downs 19 7
Rushes-Yds 34-227 29-15
Pass YDs 215 83
C-A-I 14-19-0 6-15-0
Total Yards 442. 98
GW --- King 20 pass from Hairston (Deandrea kick) 11:53
GW --- Hairston 13 run (Deandrea kick) 7:17
GW --- Hairston 5 run (Deandrea kick) 4:14
GW --- Graves 14 run (kick blocked) 1:29
GW --- Hairston 1 run (Sn. Watlington run) 6:08
GW --- Sn. Watlington 47 run (Deandrea kick) 0:49
GW --- Howard 26 pass from Byrnes (Deandrea kick) 4:16
Shawn Watlington 1-47-1;
(GW) Shy Watlington 5-86-0;
Shawn Watlington 1-12-0;