In a rivalry game that didn’t disappoint for the near-capacity crowd on-hand Friday night, Travelers Rest defeated Blue Ridge 33-28.
It was the first Peach Blossom AAA Region win for Travelers Rest (4-3) in four games. Blue Ridge fell to 2-5, 1-3.
“It was big,” Travelers Rest coach Ray Gould said of the rivalry game win. “It’s been years. It’s been a long, long time since we won this game, and it’s about time it happened for these guys.”
Blue Ridge took the first lead on a 16-yard Tamaje Green reception from quarterback Jake Smith, putting the Tigers up 7-0.
Travelers Rest gave the ball right back to Blue Ridge after a punt, and Smith passed to Sonny Stevens deep for a 70-yard score, giving Blue Ridge a 14-0 lead. Smith finished 11-for-20 for 196 yards.
But the Devildogs kept battling.
Xavier Terry scored early in the second quarter, and after stopping Blue Ridge on the next possession, Travelers Rest put together a 13-play drive ending with another Terry touchdown run from 5 yards out, making the score 14-14.
A blocked punt and the subsequent recovery in the end zone gave Blue Ridge a 21-14 lead, but Travelers Rest answered with another Terry touchdown, and at the half it was 21-21. Terry finished with 29 carries for 129 yards.
“He’s a weapon to have, that’s for sure,” Gould said of his running back. “He’s a guy you can count on and call his number and he’s going to make something happen.”
On the Devildogs’ second possession of the second half, Chris Gomia connected with Blake Young for the 22-yard score and after a blocked PAT, Travelers Rest had their first lead 27-21. Jason Dilworth boosted the Travelers Rest lead with a 15-yard score early in the fourth, making the game 33-21.
Blue Ridge’s Smith ran in one more score, but the Tigers were stopped on their next possession and Travelers Rest prevailed with the victory.
“This team showed a lot tonight,” Gould said. “Down 14, those kids never quit, never panicked. They battled and came back. This team has a lot of heart.”