No one expected the second round of the Group 3A West playoffs in the Virginia High School League to be the home of the new record-breaking score total for a contest between two Virginia football teams, but that’s what we got Friday, with Staunton River escaping Western Albemarle, 85-79, with an ironic twist thrown in for good measure; the most important play of the game was a defensive one.
As reported by the Roanoke Times, Charlottesville Daily Progress and Virginia NBC affiliate WDBJ, Staunton River edged past Western Albemarle, 85-79, in an elaborate show of postseason firepower that set a new record for highest scoring game ever contested between two Virginia teams. Yet, at the end, the eighth-seeded Eagles knocked off the tournament’s top seed thanks in large part thanks to an interception in the end zone by Staunton River’s Noah Dellis.
“I know [Western] was going to throw the ball deep,” Dellis told the Daily Progress. “I got my back pedal, know what was coming, and I just executed.”
Dellis’ interception was one of two he recorded in the game, a personal accomplishment made all the more impressive by just how hard it was to stop either offense any other way all night.
“It’s completely beyond anything that I have ever seen, that many points,” Western Albemarle coach Ed Redmond told the Daily Progress. “Kids just didn’t want to lose. The offenses were certainly in control, no question about it.”
The statistics certainly back up Redmond’s assessment. The two teams combined for 1,357 yards, with Staunton River featuring two backs who topped 200 yards and combined for eight touchdowns on the ground. Western Albemarle countered with 569 yards and five touchdowns from quarterback Sam Hearn.
Of course, Hearn was also responsible for the two interceptions by Dellis, one of which proved to be particularly decisive in one of the most remarkable playoff games of the year nationwide.
“[Western played well], we played well, and it was a matter of just making one stop,” Staunton River head coach Chuck Poston told the Daily Progress. “It was just an unbelievable effort from our kids.”