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End of an era

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Posted: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 8:03 am | Updated: 8:09 am, Wed Dec 6, 2017.

“You don’t realize it now but you have made history,” Staunton River coach Chuck Poston told his players, many seniors, after falling to Heritage 49-35 Saturday afternoon in the Class 3 VHSL football semi-finals. “You’re going to look back at this twenty years from now and realize what you have done. “Most people get to read about history. A select few get to make it.”

It was billed as the “Battle of the Backs” and it lived up to the hype. Heritage’s fate was to be determined by whether it could stop Staunton River backs Grayson Overstreet, Kalip Jones and TJ Tester; workhorse Overstreet tallying nearly 2,800 yards rushing and 45 touchdowns this season. However, no team has been able to slow down Heritage running back Elijah Davis with a remarkable 2,966 yards and 55 touchdowns this season.

In the end it was Davis. The Heritage senior running back reached the end zone five times before one of the largest crowds in SRHS football history, breaking two VHSL records in the process. Davis finished the day with 392 yards on 36 carries, scoring on runs of 9, 46, 75, 1 and 2 yards.

Davis has now rushed for 3,358 yards, breaking the former mark of 3,319 set by Powell Valley’s Thomas Jones in 1994. Jones was an All-American running back at the University of Virginia and played twelve seasons in the NFL. Davis also upped his season scoring total to 364 points, a VHSL record, and added to his own state single-season TD mark, which now stands at 60.

Davis did most of his damage in the first half rushing for 287 yards and three TDs as Heritage (13-1) opened a 28-12 lead early in the second quarter. The early scores forced Staunton River to play catch up most of the game, a position they had not experienced this year.

However, the Golden Eagles (13-1) rallied with two touchdowns by wingback T.J. Tester and a 25-yard TD run by Overstreet for a 32-28 lead early in the third quarter. Heritage answered two minutes later with a 43-yard pass from Jabari Blake to Chris Megginson for a 35-32 lead.

Staunton River responded with a 28-yard field goal by Adam Johns that tied the game with 9:18 to play. The Golden Eagles came up short on their last two possessions allowing Davis to put the game away with two more scores.

Senior T.J. Tester finished with a three-TD performance that included a 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. Kalip Jones carried the ball18 times for 99 yards and passed for 79. Overstreet added 162 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.

Overstreet, who will play defense at the University of Richmond in the fall, finished his illustrious career with state records for rushing yards (9,044), touchdowns (142) and points (950).

The Golden Eagles end an era with a record of 26-3 over the last two seasons including a trip to the VHSL 3A State Championship in 2016, the first in school history.

Heritage will face Hopewell in the Class 3 football championship this Saturday at noon at a neutral site.

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Other Womack Publishing Company websites include: wpcva.com, aconews.com, vancnews.com, and montgomeryherald.com