The William Byrd football team will look to get back on the winning track this Friday when the Terriers host Northside. The Blue Ridge District matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Highfill Field at Patterson Stadium in Vinton.
The Vikings have had a tough season, still looking for their first win after eight losses. They’ve been shutout in five of their eight losses and have been outscored 173-7 in their last four games. However, the Terriers could use a victory as well and they won’t be taking anything for granted.
“They are a very talented, fast, and explosive team,” said Byrd coach Brad Lutz of the Vikings. “Like ours, their schedule has been challenging, but they have had success in all three phases of the game against those opponents. They are getting healthy and getting players back, so they will be another tough challenge again this week.”
Byrd comes in at 2-6 and the Terriers are hoping to snap a three game losing streak, all against Blue Ridge District opponents. Last week the Terriers dropped a hard fought 19-7 decision to Staunton River in Moneta after suffering through a tough week of practice.
“It was a difficult week for our team,” said Lutz. “The flu prevented numerous players from attending school and practice. On Friday, we weren’t the best version of ourselves, but our players pushed through and gave as much as they could. As a coaching staff, that is all we can ask for.”
Byrd took an early lead when Israel Hairston rushed for a 45 yard score and Bricen Lancaster added the extra point. The Eagles answered with two scores in the second period and held a 13-7 lead at the half.
The third quarter was scoreless as the Terriers hung tough in a one-score game. However, the Eagles were able to tack on an insurance touchdown in the fourth period and held on for the win.
John Kiker and Lane Shoemaker led Byrd in tackles with 12 each while Dustin Richards had 11 tackles, including two for losses. Ethan Haston had nine.
Lancaster continues to do a great job on special teams. He drilled his only extra point attempt and put two kickoffs into the end zone.
“He has been a huge success for us this year,” said Lutz.
With the loss Byrd is now ninth in the VHSL Region 3D rankings, with the top eight qualifying for the playoffs. The Terriers have a 16.87 rating compared to 17.33 for Hidden Valley, who currently occupies the eighth spot.
Byrd lost a close game to Hidden Valley on the second week of the season and that’s been the difference in the playoff race. However, the Titans wrap up their season tonight with a game against Salem, and Hidden Valley will be decided underdogs in that one. Meanwhile, the Terriers finish up with Northside and William Fleming, a Class 5 school with a 3-5 record. If the Terriers can win their last two games they should be able to leap frog Hidden Valley into the last playoff spot.
Also, this Friday the Terriers will be recognizing former coach Jeff Highfill at halftime. The field at Patterson Stadium has been officially named for Highfill after his many years as head coach of the football and soccer teams at Byrd.