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Legion Field to welcome home Jeff Herron

Kevin Mays • Oct 30, 2019 at 12:30 PM

The regular season comes to an end Friday for Gate City football.

However, for the first time in three years, the Blue Devils’ season will continue into the postseason, led by first-year head coach Jeremy Houseright.

First things first, however.

Friday night’s game at Legion Field will be Senior Night. Not only will the current crop of seniors be recognized, but past Gate City football players also will take part in the festivities.

The alumni will have a tent to gather under and reflect on some of the Blue Devils’ glory days, and among those anticipated to be in attendance is one of the best high school coaches ver.

Gate City and Emory & Henry alum Jeff Herron retired after 37 years of coaching football, the majority of the time in Georgia. Herron coached in 2017 and 2018 at Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina, before announcing his retirement in June.

“Jeff Herron retiring is like Nick Saban retiring. He has that kind of resume,” Hanna athletic director John Cann told the Independent Mail newspaper in Anderson.

In his 37 years — during which he never had a losing season — Herron amassed a record of 312-54 that included winning five state titles at three separate schools in Georgia. He is the only coach in Georgia high school football history to win state championships at three schools: one at Oconee County, three at Camden County and one in 2016 at Class 7A Grayson.

In his last two years at Hanna, Herron’s teams had a combined record of 25-2 and won two Region AAAAA championships and a South Carolina Upstate title in 2018.

Herron played football at Gate City in the mid-1970s for the legendary Harry Fry before going to Emory & Henry as a defensive back.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

5-star — Trenton Adkins, RB, Ridgeview

The NCAA Division I prospect had another banner night. The junior amassed 284 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 31 carries and recorded an interception on defense in the 41-0 throttling of Abingdon.

4-star — C.J. Crabtree, RB, Wise Central

The junior averaged close to 36 yards per carry, finishing with 215 yards and four touchdowns on just six rushes in the Warriors’ 55-11 win over Lee High.

3-star — Mikey Culbertson, RB, J.I. Burton

The senior offensive and defensive leader rushed for 133 yards and all four Burton touchdowns in a 28-7 Cumberland District win over Castlewood. While playing on the other side of the ball, Culbertson piled up 15 tackles.

2-star — Grayson Whited, RB, Eastside

The senior had a big night in a big 37-12 Cumberland District win over Thomas Walker. Whited finished with 193 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

1-star — Mason Hardin, RB, Rye Cove

The junior picked up 221 yards and three touchdowns on 18 rushes and completed a pass for a 10-yard touchdown in the Eagles' 38-8 win over Twin Valley.

KEY GAMES

Union at Abingdon

After a week off, Union climbs back in the saddle for its chase for a share of the Mountain 7 District championship, but first the Bears (6-2, 3-1) must get past Class 3 district-mate Abingdon. The Falcons (4-4, 3-1) fell from the top

of the district standings with last Friday night’s 41-0 loss to Ridgeview.

The winner between Union and Abingdon will have the inside track to a share of the district title. The loser will be left looking up at the top of the district standings.

Wise Central at Gate City

Both teams are in the Region 2D playoffs, which begin Nov. 16.

Gate City (4-5, 2-3) is most likely the seventh seed, regardless of whether it wins its regular- season finale.

Central (6-2, 3-2) is trying to earn the first home playoff game in school history and needs to beat the Blue Devils, plus get some help, for that to happen.

Football Top 10

The top tier remained unchanged, but Abingdon dropped from No. 4 to No. 7 after its big loss to Ridgeview. Tazewell entered the poll at No. 10 and Thomas Walker dropped out after falling at Eastside.

Here’s a look at the top 10 after Week 8 with record, how they fared and previous ranking:

1. Graham (6-2) def. Richlands 37-10  –– 1

2. Union (6-2) did not play –– 2

3. Ridgeview (7-1) def. Abingdon 41-0 –– 3

4. Patrick Henry (8-0) def. Honaker 49-21 –– 5

5. Wise Central (6-2) def. Lee High 55-11 –– 6

6. Richlands (4-4) lost 37-10 to Graham –– 7

7. Abingdon (4-4) lost 41-0 to Ridgeview –– 4

8. Chilhowie (7-1) def. Grundy 42-6 –– 8

9. J.I. Burton (6-2) def. Castlewood 28-7 –– 9

10. Tazewell (5-3) def. Marion 61-21 –– NR

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