Cooper: 'Kids will be fine.' Blue Ridge at home in playoff game

By John Clayton, Staff Reporter
Published on Friday, November 2, 2012


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: 

Blue Ridge suffered its first loss of the season, a 35-7 defeat to rival Greer that cost the Tigers the outright Region II-3A title. Blue Ridge shared the championship with Greer and Greenville. The Tigers earned the No. 2 seed. Meanwhile, Lower Richland held onto its No. 3 seed from Region IV with a 14-9 win over Westwood.


“I don't have any doubt in my mind that these kids will bounce back. These kids will be fine. . . . No doubt in my mind whatsoever. These are great kids. We had great effort (against Greer), but we just didn't play well.”

 Blue Ridge Head Coach Wade Cooper


The Tigers are anxious to get back on the field and forget about last week's debacle at Greer. Blue Ridge returns to the playoffs at a No. 2 seed for the second straight year to face the Diamond Hornets. Lower Richland returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 under first-year head coach Darryl Page and is seeking its first playoff victory since 1995.  Blue Ridge will see a lot of N.C. State commit Marcus Edmond, who plays quarterback and cornerback for the Diamond Hornets but is projected as a defensive back in college. 


With the regular season in the books, the Blue Ridge football team must do something new for the start of the Class 3A playoffs:

Rebound from a disappointing loss.

"I don't have any doubt in my mind that these kids will bounce back," said Blue Ridge Head Coach Wade Cooper. "These kids will be fine. . . . No doubt in my mind whatsoever. These are great kids. We had great effort (against Greer), but we just didn't play well."

The Tigers were 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Region 2-3A prior to a 35-7 thumping at the hands of rival Greer. The loss created a three-way tie atop the region standings among Greer, Greenville and Blue Ridge. The three teams share the region championship, but Greer won the top seed by virtue of a tiebreaker. Blue Ridge earned the No. 2 seed due to its 14-7 win at Greenville earlier in the season.

The No. 2 seed earned Blue Ridge an opening-round home game. The Tigers will face Lower Richland (4-6) the No. 3 seed from Region IV-3A as playoffs get under way Friday night. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Here is a game-by-game review of the 2012 Blue Ridge season:

Blue Ridge 27, Wade Hampton 13 

The Tigers opened their season with the first of two consecutive Class 4A opponents in Wade Hampton. The Generals jumped out to a 13-0 lead before Blue Ridge was able to rally behind senior wideout Brennan Griffin with a punt return to set up a score and a key fourth-down carry. The Tigers scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to notch the win.

Blue Ridge 27, J.L. Mann 6

Week 2 of the season featured another Class 4A opponent and a very similar result – a 27-13 victory. Senior Corey Dogan intercepted a pass on the first play from scrimmage to set the tone for the win as the Tigers jumped out to a 27-0 lead before the Patriots scored on the final play of the game. Senior RB Mikal Robinson rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries, including a 70-yard touchdown run.

Blue Ridge 59, Chapman 35 

The Tigers’ home opener featured two explosive offenses with the arrival of old foe Chapman. Blue Ridge scored twice on plays of more than 50 yards, while the Panthers scored three times on such plays. The Tigers built a 35-14 lead by halftime and rolled up 552 yards in total offense by game’s end. Mikal Robinson rushed for 148 yards on 10 carries, while sophomore quarterback Ty Montgomery ran for 104 yards and passed for 258.

Blue Ridge 82, Eastside 20 

The start of Region II-3A competition began with a scoring explosion by the Tigers, who returned to the road at Eastside and set a school record for points scored in a game. Ty Montgomery turned in the first 300-yard passing game of his career, while Brennen Griffin caught eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Mikal Robinson scored four touchdowns on the night. The two teams combined for 49 points in the second quarter.

Blue Ridge 52, Berea 7

Blue Ridge returned home and met Berea with another stellar offensive performance with 478 yards in total offense and the third straight game of at least 50 points for the Tigers. Meanwhile, the Blue Ridge defense held the Bulldogs to just 16 rushing yards and had three takeaways. Ty Montgomery threw for four touchdowns, including three to Brennen Griffin.

Blue Ridge 14, Greenville 7

The Tigers returned to the road for what proved to be their toughest test of the season. Greenville took a 7-0 lead into the half, but Ty Montgomery and Brennen Griffin connected on a 60-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-7. Blue Ridge followed that up with an eight-play, 82-yard drive capped by Mikal Robinson’s game-winning touchdown run from 5 yards out.

Blue Ridge 57, Travelers Rest 0

Blue Ridge scored on each of its first nine possessions en route to a shut out of visiting Travelers Rest. This time, the Tigers scored all but one of their touchdowns on the ground. Five different Blue Ridge players – Ty Montgomery, Brennen Griffin, Tay Jenkins, Mikal Robinson and Melvin Smith – recorded rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Blue Ridge defense recorded its first shutout of the season. The win, coupled with a loss by Pickens, handed the Tigers the outright conference lead for the first time this season.

Blue Ridge 31, Southside 0

The Tigers recorded their second straight shutout by blanking an improved Southside squad.  Mikal Robinson scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 16 and 7 yards. Quarterback Ty Montgomery, who also added a rushing touchdown and threw another, went over 2,000 yards from scrimmage for the season as Blue Ridge rolled up 450 yards of total offense.

Blue Ridge 33, Pickens 20

The Tigers ran their record to 9-0 for the first time in the long history of the football program. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead only to see the Blue Flame answer back with two second-quarter touchdowns to cut the lead to 14-13 in the second. Ty Montgomery directed a five-play, 83-yard drive that set the tone for the rest of the game. Senior wideout Stephen Turner scored on a pair of touchdowns on receptions from Ty Montgomery.

Greer 35, Blue Ridge 7

In the final contest of the regular season, the Tigers' goal of an undefeated season and sole ownership of the Region 2-3A championship blew up in a 35-7 loss to the rival Yellow Jackets. QB Ty Montgomery was under pressure throughout the game as Greer successfully shut down the Tigers' vaunted offense, which was averaging more than 40 points per game.



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