football Edit

Grizzlies Survive Advance, 28-22

background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Grizzlies Win Playoff Thriller at Home:
style=> In the most competitive first round playoff
game in the Tidewater area on Friday night, the fourth-seeded Grassfield
Grizzlies came up with a crucial defensive stand in the end to hold off the
fifth-seeded Tallwood Lions from Virginia Beach,

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield, which moved to 9-2 overall in their final
game of the season in front of their home fans, had to rally from ten points
down at 22-12 midway through the third quarter.
Tallwood had scored 22 unanswered points to
erase a 12-point deficit before the Grizzlies stormed back with the game's
final 16 points, converting a pair of two-point conversions after touchdowns.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It was a great High School Football game.
style=> I told the kids don't look at 6-4 and think
class=SpellE>Tallwood's not a good football team.
style=> We watched them on film and they have
unbelievable athletes. We knew some of
their players were very special. Being
young and inexperienced, we just had to settle down and start making plays,"
remarked a relieved Grassfield Head Football Coach
normal'>Martin Asprey.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I'm very proud of my defense.
style=> That's why I probably don't have much hair on
my head. They went 70 yards.
style=> It was a very good defensive stand."

came in riding high on a four-game winning streak that included an upset of
then undefeated Salem in the regular season finale, and presented a potent
offense that was averaging 28.2 points per game.
style=> Tallwood scored 19
of those points on a six-minute burst late in the first half.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>However, the Grassfield defense, littered with
underclassmen starting all over, including a pair of sophomore safeties,
stepped up to the test in the second half by holding the Lions out of the end
zone. The only points for
class=SpellE>Tallwood in the second half came on a field goal from 25
yards out after a Grizzlies turnover.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Grassfield would take the lead on a 13-yard touchdown
run with two minutes remaining in the contest by Old Dominion commit
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Vincent Lowe.
style=> But they still gave Tallwood
time to mount a drive, which they did behind the running of senior running back
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Matthews, the school's single-season
rushing leader with 1327 yards.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>After going out earlier in the game with a calf injury,
Matthews broke off runs of 37 yards and 16 yards down to the Grassfield
nine-yard line. That had the home fans
at Carolyn Bernard Stadium nervous with under a minute to go and the Lions
trying to finish off a comeback win in dramatic fashion.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Lowe and company wouldn't have any of it as he was able
to break up a pass that could've been a touchdown on second-and-goal.
style=> Following a fade that was caught out of
bounds on third down, the Lions saw their star wide receiver
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Will Howard, who dazzled much of the
contest with seven receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns, including one
of the acrobatic variety, was unable to haul in a pass when he cut open on a
drag route in the end zone. As a result,
Grassfield survived and advanced.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Our motto for this game was 'leave no regrets.'
style=> Leave no regrets on this field," said
Lowe. "After that, I huddled them up and
told them, 'what are you going to do?
Are you going to roll over like some punks or are we going to play
Grassfield football and play for the people that we lost?'"

mso-highlight:yellow'>Lowe's Passion, Playmaking Shines Through:
style=> Both Lowe and Harper have had some memorable
games for the Grizzlies in their careers, combining for 30 touchdowns this
season. It was perhaps the finest outing
of Lowe's four-year tenure in a Grizzlies uniform, showing he's more substance
than a finesse speedster.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>On 25 attempts, Lowe racked up a season-high 175 yards
rushing and scored three touchdowns to go with a 13-yard pass reception, plus
made five solo tackles on defense and had two critical pass breakups.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"That's why he's going to Old Dominion.
style=> He's a big-time football player," noted
class=SpellE>Asprey. "I told
Vincent you've got to play hard, that's what the playoffs are all about, and I
told all our kids this is what you remember."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Afterwards, it hit Lowe.
style=> It was the final home game for him at
Grassfield, and he was very emotional after another exciting comeback for the
Grizzlies, similar to their rally from double-digits down earlier in the season
vs. King's Fork.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I'm lost for words.
You talk about heart, dedication, bleeding for this game, waking up
every day at 5 AM, it just shows how bad we want it," Lowe said.
style=> "We want it so bad.
style=> This proves it.
style=> Just like the King's Fork game, we're down,
we show our hearts and we come back and do what we've got to do."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Lowe came in with 13 touchdowns on 90 offensive
touches. In the first half alone, he ran
the ball 17 times for 121 yards with two scores.
style=> With his teammate and fellow ODU commit
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Isaiah Harper dinged up and playing at
less than 100%, he knew his workload would be increased in a win-or-go-home

"Verdana","sans-serif"'> "This wasn't
Vincent Lowe's show. This was not about
Vincent Lowe. This was about Grassfield
High School. This is not about me," the
senior captain insisted. "I put on for
my linemen, my coaches, the cheerleaders, the fans, my mom, my dad, my
sister. I put on for everybody.
style=> And the man above is just too good, that's
why I'm crying. I'm blessed in abundance
and never am going to disrespect the talent God gave me."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Without Lowe, Grassfield wouldn't be moving on to the
second round in the 6A-South East bracket of the playoffs.
style=> That's for sure.

mso-highlight:yellow'>Key Third Downs:
style=> Third down was mighty kind to the Grizzlies.
style=> Grassfield converted 7-of-11 third down
opportunities, including 4-of-5 out of the gate.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Grizz mixed it up with
their play-calling, using mostly counters and isos on
run plays with some bootlegs sprinkled in.
They found success hitting passes in the flat with the fullback and
tight end as well.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Junior quarterback Brett
Smith put up adequate numbers - - 83 yards passing on 8 of 15 - - and most
importantly didn't throw an interception after being picked off three times in
the regular season finale vs. Lakeland.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"That's basically Brett's first varsity playoff
game. He just won a playoff game,
finished 8-2 and he grew," Asprey point out.
style=> "He's young, growing, learning to play within
himself. I think he's taken some hits
and now he's seeing he can take a hit, get up and keep playing.
style=> I thought he made some great plays at the
end, definitely coming of age and I'm very excited for him."

yellow'> Turnaround Season Ends in Heartbreak:
style=> Gut-wrenching.
style=> For the fourth time this year, the
class=SpellE>Tallwood Lions lost by six points or less.
style=> This one was by far the toughest to swallow.

was one play away from notching their first postseason win in 15 years.
style=> The Lions had a 100-yard rusher in Matthews,
100-yard receiver in Matthews, quarterback Reggie
Rudolph passed for more yards than Smith while completing over 50% of his
passes without an interception, and they won the turnover battle +1.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>And with four cracks inside the 10-yard line for a
chance to tie it and possibly win at the end, the Lions were unable to finish
the deal. But being in that situation, a
playoff game for the first time since 2006 for a program that was just 2-8 a
year ago, made for a meaningful November.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We just have to build from here for our young
guys. For our older guys, I'm proud of
them because they've done everything I've asked them, worked so hard and can't
explain how thankful I am for them for what they've done for our program,"
commented a dejected Tallwood Head Football Coach
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>John Kepple afterwards.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"This is a game that we could've won, but the thing I'm
really happy is we played right down to the end even though we got down two
touchdowns early, lost both our running backs to injury at one point and had to
put in a freshman that'll be good for us.
It changed our playbook."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Even in defeat, the Lions gained respect of many,
including their opponent.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"My cap is off to them," said Lowe, praising his
counterpart for their effort and improvement.
style=> "That's a [heck] of a team we just
played. I told them they've got to keep
their heads high, they can't hang low, especially #2 (Howard).
style=> There's life after this for him, and it's
supposed to hurt because if it don't care hurt you don't care."

mso-highlight:yellow'>Up Next, A Familiar Foe:
style=> With their win, Grassfield moves on to
the second round against familiar foe Oscar Smith, the top seed in 6A-South and
a perennial powerhouse from the Southeastern District that has won two state
titles since 2008. The Grizzlies have
run into the Tigers twice before in the semifinals, losing in 2009 and 2011.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Generally the case has been in recent years that even
if Oscar Smith doesn't win a State Championship, it's probably going to take
someone going through them to get there and be in position to win it all.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"They're a pinnacle of what people in the state are
trying to get to," Asprey said.
style=> "I just told them we've got to minimize our
mistakes and get better. We've got to
get healthy. That's a very good football
team and you can't make certain mistakes against them because they just have
too many athletes, phenomenal athletes.
We have to play good football."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In the regular season meeting between the two schools,
Oscar Smith cruised to a 42-0 shutout.
Grassfield has lost by double-figures only four times since 2011, three
of those coming at the hands of the Tigers.
Having the opportunity and challenge is better than not having it at
all, believes Lowe.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I love competition," stated Lowe.
style=> "I like to play people who are just as good
as me because it brings out my true heart, who I
really am."

style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Postgame Audio with Grassfield
Coach Martin Asprey
style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Postgame Audio with Grassfield
RB/DB Vincent Lowe
style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Photo Gallery with Kim Black
on Facebook

Final Stats:

Grizzlies 28:
style=> (9-2 Overall)
Vincent Lowe - - 25Car. 175Yds. 3TD's; 1Rec. 13Yds; 5 Tackles (all Solo), 2PBU
Isaiah Harper - - 10Car. 70Yds; 4 Tackles
Brett Smith - - 8-15 for 83Yds. 0-0TD/Int. ratio
Trevor Endres - - 3Car. 17Yds;
2Rec. 16Yds.
Grant Holloway - - 4Rec. 45Yds; 7 Tackles (all Solo)
Jory Wallace - - 7 Tackles (5 Solo), TFL, Fumble
Chris Newell - - 5 Tackles (4 Solo), PBU

115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'> Lions 22:
(6-5 Overall)
Reggie Rudolph - - 12-23 for 141Yds. 1-0TD/Int. ratio; 3Car.
Kentory Matthews - - 19Car. 131Yds. TD (11Car. 96Yds.
2nd Half)
Will Howard - - 7Rec. 107Yds. 2TD's (6Rec. 107Yds. 1st Half)
Christian Byrum - - 1Rec. 6Yds; 6 Tackles (3 Solo)
Darien Williams - - 8 Tackles (2 Solo), 0.5 Sack
Nicolas-Jakim Driver - - 6 Tackles (3 Solo), 0.5 Sack



115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
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style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
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To contact Matthew, please e-mail
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