RADFORD — Two high school football teams play, only one earns the opportunity to practice on Thanksgiving morning.
That will be Gretna, which throttled host Radford 48-20 on Friday night in a Region 2C semifinal that was a rematch of a game the Bobcats won by one point in overtime during the regular season.
With that, the Hawks (9-3) gained another rematch next week, this one with rival Appomattox, which dispatched Glenvar in the other semifinal.
Daelyn Miller was sensational for Gretna on both sides of the line of scrimmage, scoring six touchdowns on one long reception from quarterback Tabron Mabins and five runs.
Miller had 20 carries for 222 yards, the most electrifying of which was a 95-yard first half touchdown that was almost a backbreaker all by itself. His 54-yard scoring reception on a pass from Wing-T quarterback Mabins started the Hawks steady parade to the end zone.
“No, I do not believe I have ever had a better game,” said Miller, who added 10 tackles on the defensive side. “At least, not against a good team.”
Radford (9-3) has been plenty good despite a series of injuries to key players that seemed to continue throughout the season.
“That we could make it to 9-3 is pretty good,” Bobcats coach Matthew Saunders said.
Most of Radford’s load was borne by quarterback Zane Rupe, who played defensively as well.
Rupe had 190 yards total offense, including 98 rushing, and scored both of his team’s TDs.
The rest of the point total came off the instep of talented kicker Connor Lytton, who knocked in field goals of 48 and 37 yards.
The one field goal he could have kicked, had he had the chance, may have been a difference maker. Radford already trailed 14-0 in the second quarter before advancing to the Hawks 6-yard line, where it had a first-and-goal.
Gretna’s defense was stout, and on fourth down, Radford was still at the 6. Saunders opted to let Rupe run it, but the Hawks’ defense rose to the occasion.
Saunders second guessed himself, to a point.
“But I thought we needed to score the touchdown and pick up some momentum,” he said.
Two plays later, Miller took the handoff, broke straight up the middle and disappeared downfield with the 95-yarder. En route, he broke some tackles, which happened a lot for all four of Gretna’s ballcarriers.
The Hawks rushed for 359 yards and accumulated 20 first downs. Mabins had 134 yards total offense, 66 of which came on five carries.
“He played great,” Gretna coach Cole Simpson said of Mabins.
The last of the Gretna touchdowns came off a fumbled flea-flicker play by Radford in which Miller’s brother, Taelyn, scooped up the loose football in full stride and raced 25 yards into the Bobcats end zone.
Nobody played better than Taelyn’s brother, Daelyn, who had all six of the Hawks’ offensive touchdowns.
“I’d say he had a pretty good game,” Simpson said.