By Sports editor, Brian Hoffman
Only eight Class 3 football teams are still practicing the week of Thanksgiving, and the William
Byrd team is thankful to be one of them. The Terriers will be playing a third post-season game this Friday
for the first time in school history when they travel to Ridgeway to play Magna Vista for the Region 3D
The Terriers, second seeded in Region 3D, punched their ticket to the final with a 41-14 win over
Lord Botetourt at Robert A. Patterson Stadium in Vinton last Friday. Magna Vista, the undefeated top seed,
beat 2022 region champ Christiansburg, 27-20. This will be the sixth all-time meeting between the Warriors
and Terriers with Magna Vista holding a 3-2 edge. However, the Terriers have won the last two with
victories in 2016 and the 2021 spring season. Those games are ancient history as far as Friday night is
concerned as Byrd comes in at 11-1 and Magna Vista is 12-0.
“They’re the best football team we’ve seen on film this season,” said Byrd coach Brad Lutz. “They’re big and fast in all three phases of the game. They have explosive play capabilities and are very
Magna Vista coach Joe Favero might say the same thing when he looks at film of Byrd’s win over
Lord Botetourt. The Terriers were hitting on all cylinders with senior quarterback Israel Hairston driving the
train. Hairston passed for three touchdowns, ran for two and had a big fourth quarter interception to lead the
Terriers to their second win over LB this season.
“This is Israel’s fourth year running the offense, and he continues to get better each week,” said Lutz. “While he has produced a lot of offense this season, he has done a fantastic job of creating opportunities for
his teammates. Our offense takes a lot of pride in incorporating a lot of different players into the production.
It builds a stronger team and huddle. With that said, it has been exciting to watch Israel elevate his game in
the playoffs. Great competitors take advantage of their opportunities in big games, and Israel has done a
tremendous job with that.”
The Byrd offense got out of the gate quickly against the Cavs, as Hairston found Cooper Minnix
behind the defense and hit him with a long pass that Minnix hauled in and took to the house for a 76 yard
score with 8:44 remaining in the first quarter. That lead stood up until LB’s Tristan Overbay ran 87 yards
from his seven to the Byrd six before Jerrett Shepherd caught up with him. Overbay then scored on a fourth
and goal from the one to tie the game at 7-7.
Byrd took control in the second quarter. After stopping LB on downs at midfield the Terriers drove
to paydirt with Hairston scoring from the two. Then a long run by Israel set up a 29 yard TD pass to
Dominic Dulak with 1:25 before the half and Byrd led 21-7 at intermission.
The Terriers added on in the third quarter as Hairston found Shepherd for his third TD pass, this one
covering 52 yards, and it was 27-7 with 12 minutes to go. Botetourt made an attempt to get back in the game
with a TD pass to Ben Gilbert, cutting the lead to 27-14, but on Byrd’s ensuing possession Hairston broke
off a 67 yard run for a back-breaking score and a 34-14 lead. Israel then intercepted a long pass and returned
it 54 yards to the LB 27. That set up a final score by Brayden Andrews, who took it in from the two for the
Hairston finished with 123 yards rushing on 12 carries and 174 yards passing, completing five of
nine attempts. Walter Barrows had 69 yards rushing and Andrews had 32 while Minnix had two catches for
81 yards, Dulak had two for 35 and Shepherd had one 58, and all three had touchdown receptions.
On defense Doniven Davis had nine solo tackles, including two for losses. Ian Vest had six solos and
three quarterback pressures and Maurice Burnette had five solos and three quarterback pressures. John Kiker
also had five solos, Lee Doss had four and Hairston and Braeden Young both had interceptions. Shepherd
was credited with a forced fumble.
The win was Byrd’s ninth in a row, the Terriers longest winning streak since they won 10 in a row in
1973. They also won their last two games in 1972, giving them a dozen in a row over two seasons. Byrd can
tie the single season record this Friday, and if they can beat Magna Vista they would be Region 3D champs
and advance to play the Region 3C champ. That would be either Liberty Christian Academy or Turner
Ashby, and that game would be on Saturday, December 2nd, in the afternoon. It is, indeed, an exciting time
for William Byrd football fans.
“Our players and coaches are extremely grateful for the continued support this season,” said Lutz. “The home crowds this season have been remarkable, and I’m confident that the support from our school, community, and fans has had a direct impact on the success of our season. I encourage all of our fans to make the trip to Magna Vista this week. It is a very historic game for our football program and school.”