RINGGOLD — Dan River entered Friday’s meeting at home against Chatham with 12 consecutive victories in the series, and five total touchdowns from junior quarterback Tracy Glass ensured the streak reached a lucky 13.
Glass found receiver Robert Carter for scores of 15, 6 and 64 yards in a 34-20 Wildcats victory that moved them to 3-2 and handed the Cavaliers their first loss of the year (4-1).
“I’m so proud of Tracy because he’s been battling confidence in himself,” Dan River head coach Brian Womack said. “He’s gotten down on himself, but he picked himself back up today. He had a couple bad plays, but he never quit.”
Chatham’s 4-0 start to the year matched their best since doing the same in 2013. The Cavaliers were looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2007, but they ran into a team they have historically struggled against.
Dan River’s winning streak dates back to the 2008 season when the teams played twice and the Wildcats won both meetings.
Chatham’s last wins in the rivalry came in 2007, when the teams also played a home-and-home series and the Cavaliers won both.
The Wildcats’ run of dominance continued Friday despite a spirited fourth-quarter comeback attempt by Chatham.
The visitors looked in control early, as senior quarterback Ethan Reynolds scored on a 1-yard keeper on the first drive of the game.
After being shut out in the first quarter, Glass and Carter did their damage in the middle quarters to take a 21-7 lead.
“It’s great throwing the ball to that kid,” Glass said of Carter, “but I owe everything to my line. They did great tonight. They’re my MVPs of the night.”
Carter scored his first touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to tie the game. He almost had a touchdown on the final play of the quarter as well, as he returned a missed Chatham field goal 98 yards as time expired, but that play was negated due to an illegal block.
“[Carter] is just a playmaker,” Womack said. “All we have to do is get the ball in his hands, and he’s gonna create some stuff.”
After his long score was called back, Carter found the end zone twice in the third quarter to make up for it.
Glass added a 4-yard rushing touchdown in the closing seconds of the third, creating a 27-7 edge going to the fourth.
Reynolds and running back Michael Gunnell each had short touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to create a one-score game. The Cavaliers successfully recovered an onside kick following Reynolds’ touchdown to set their offense up with a shorter field that led to Gunnell’s end zone trip.
Glass, though, tossed his final touchdown of the evening to Jorden Price with 2:26 left to salt the game away.
Glass was visibly frustrated with himself in the first half after fumbling during a long run, but he said support from his teammates helped him put the miscue behind him.
“I knew I had my guys behind me and that I was gonna deliver the ball great tonight,” Glass said. “I knew they would have my back.”
Dan River’s defensive unit forced three fumbles in the game, including one by Reynolds on the drive immediately following Price’s touchdown to secure the win. The Wildcats also forced two turnovers on downs in the contest.
“The defense does what it does. Defense is our backbone,” Womack said. “Offense is always part of a football game that takes a while to get going, but our defense is always going to be ready.”
Parker Cotton is a sports reporter at the Martinsville Bulletin and Danville Register & Bee. You can reach him at (276) 638-8801 ext. 215. Follow @ByParkerCotton.