Glass too slick for Byrd in season-ending defeat

Byrd’s Trevor Hill makes a shoestring tackle against E.C. Glass
Sam Dantzler looks for running room as Logan Taylor(#33) clears some space. PHOTOS BY JIM DEVINNEY
Larry Basham takes a handoff from Sam Dantzler.

The William Byrd football season came to an end Friday night when the Terriers lost to E.C. Glass High in Lynchburg. Byrd dropped a 31-7 decision at Lynchburg City Stadium in the first round of the Class 4, Region D playoffs.

Unlike the week before, when Byrd got off to a disastrous start at Northside only to rally for the win, the Terriers got out of the gate strong in Lynchburg. Trevor Hill forced a fumble on a big hit and the Terriers took it right in for a 7-0 lead as Larry Basham scored on a nine yard run.

Unfortunately for the visitors, that was about the end of the highlight reel on this night. Glass answered with a 55 yard TD pass to tie the score by the end of the first quarter, then took a 17-7 lead into halftime after another TD pass, from 28 yards out, and a short field goal.

“We got off to a great start, but they hit that long pass and that was the turning point,” said Byrd coach Jeff Highfill. “Glass was a bad matchup for us. They run the spread and they had some guys we just couldn’t cover. It was our worst matchup against the best team we played all year.”

Glass added two third quarter touchdowns, one on a short pass and one on a 61 yard run. The fourth quarter was scoreless as the Glass fans started checking their cellphones for next week’s opponents and the Byrd fans got a jump on the long ride back to Vinton.

Byrd finished with just 126 yards of total offense, which for many games was an average first half for Larry Basham alone. Basham, a senior, finished as Byrd’s all-time scoring leader but he gained just 86 yards on 22 carries Friday and was not able to catch O.J. Thomason as the Terrier’s all-time rushing leader.

Quarterback Sam Dantzler was two-for-six passing and was running for his life for most of the game. Nick Hale had one catch for 22 yards and Thomas Adams had one for 16. Nathan Patrick was good one his extra point attempt and finished 39-for-47 on the season and two-for-two on field goal attempts.

On defense Adams led the team with 10 tackles, followed by Logan Taylor with seven and Dantzler with five. Aaron Stanley and TJ Johnson had four each and Johnson had a sack. Trevor Hill, Terrell Smith and Josh Moore had three tackles each and Hill forced a fumble and recovered it himself, leading to Byrd’s only score.

The Terriers finished 9-2 on the season, losing only to Staunton River and Glass, who are both still alive in their respective playoffs. The Terriers will graduate six seniors, and in the past three years they’ve played on teams that have won 25 games and lost just eight.

“We lose some good players, but we’ll have a good nucleus coming back,” said Highfill. “We’ll have nine spots back on offense and seven on defense. It’s certainly a nucleus to work with.”

That’s more than Byrd had coming back this year.

“I thought we had a great year,” said Highfill. “With all the losses from last year, particularly up front, no one was picking us to do much. But we finished 9-2 with a close loss to Staunton River and a loss to a very good E.C. Glass team. At the beginning of the season no one was picking us to do that well.”

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