Tazewell football gets back to regular season action on Friday.
The Bulldogs take on Southwest District opponent, the Virginia High Bearcats. The Bulldogs and the Bearcats kick off at 7 p.m. from Bulldog Stadium. Tickets are $6. The game will air live on the NFHS Network and can be heard on the Bulldog Radio Network with Chase Collins and Jimi Watson on the call. Fans can also listen to the game on Facebook Live.
Head coach J’me Harris will lead the Bulldogs into their 96th season of high school football and his sixth season at the helm of the Bulldog program. The Bulldogs finished the 2021 campaign 5-6 overall, but tied a school record when they qualified for the playoffs for a third straight season. This year’s team returns a core group, plus several newcomers to the roster.
In last year’s contest, Virginia High’s Stevie Thomas rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns and Brody Jones passed for 174 yards and a touchdown. The Virginia High defense recorded five sacks including one for a safety in their 37-14 win.
“Last season, some of our young guys struggled a little bit early to adjust to the game speed of a varsity football game, but I thought as the season progressed they responded well. We were a better football team at the end of last season than we were at the beginning,” said Harris. “Virginia High is a very good program, but I feel like we are better prepared this time. We had several guys seeing their first varsity action in week one last year. I am looking forward to Friday and competing again.”
This year’s Virginia High team is led by QB Brody Jones (6’3”, 205), RB Alijah Burks (6’0”, 200), WR/CB Patrick Poku (5’11”, 155), WR/OLB Conner Davidson (5’8”, 165), WR/S Dante’ Worley (5’11”, 155), and Senior center Eli Edwards. Jones was a 2nd Team All-Southwest District selection last year. The Virginia High signal caller completed 54% of his passes and threw for over 1500 yards and 21 touchdowns. Jones currently holds a FCS-Division 1 offer to play football at VMI. Poku is one of the fastest players in Class 2A. He finished 2nd in the state in the 55m dash at the VHSL Indoor State Championship in March. Poku was a 2nd Team All-Southwest District receiver and defensive back last season. Davidson was a 1st Team All-Region defensive back last season.
Prior to kickoff, Tazewell High School will honor our previous State Champions in the sports of Track and Field and Wrestling.
Record vs. Virginia High: 43-34
Record in Tazewell: 24-12
First Meeting: 1928 (VHigh won 37-0)
Last Meeting: 8/27/21 (VHigh won 37-14)
* This will mark the eighth time in the past nine seasons that Tazewell has opened a season against Virginia High.
Tazewell returns five players who were selected to the official All-SWD team last season: Brock Alley, Carter Creasy, Cassius Harris, Logan McDonald, and Kaizon Taylor.
Brock Alley enters his junior campaign with 81 ½ career tackles, including 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. Brock was an All-SWD Second-Team selection last season.
Sophomore QB Carter Creasy was an All-SWD First-Team selection last season. He led the Southwest District in passing TDs (29), passing yards (2,982), and pass completions (234). Creasy completed 64.5% of his passes last season. He enters his sophomore season with five 300+ yard passing games. Creasy also rushed for 650 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
Senior wide receiver Cassius Harris, a Second-Team All-State pick last spring, led Class 2A in receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,423). He also set the school record for touchdown receptions (11) in a season. He enters the fall campaign with 145 receptions for 2,002 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns. Cassius is a verbal commit to the University of Richmond. Richmond is a Division 1-FCS school that participates in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Sophomore wide receiver Logan McDonald finished last season with 28 receptions for 314 yards and five touchdowns. He had a 100-yard receiving performance and also tied the single-game record with three touchdown receptions against Grundy.
Junior Kaizon Taylor finished last season with 83 tackles in just nine games, including a team leading 11 tackles for loss. Kaizon was an All-SWD First-Team selection last season. Last season he compiled three games with at least 11+ tackles.
Tazewell’s passing offense was one of the best in school history last season. In fact, Tazewell set school records in passing yards (3,013) for a season, passing touchdowns (29) for a season, and pass completions (236) for a season. The Bulldogs also set the school record for passing yards in a game (407 vs Marion) last season.
The Tazewell offense will need to replace two of its top three receivers from last season. Bridgewater commit Jared Mullins had 60 catches last season, rushed for 104 yards, and he also completed 2 passes on 2 attempts. Ethan Mills was an All-Region First-Team selection. This season, Tazewell will look for Senior Carlin Stone, Juniors Brock Alley and Tyler Gillespie, Sophomore Jason Vadola, and Freshman Walker Patterson to pick up that production.
This year’s senior class: Ricky Compton, Braxton Dowdy, Gavin Duty, Cassius Harris, James Huffman, Ethan Pugalee, Nick Sizemore, Carlin Stone, and Dakota Quesinberry. The 2023 class can become the first class in Tazewell High School’s history to qualify for the playoffs all four years they were in school.