ABINGDON, Va. - It was a good night to be a running back.
Malique Hounshell ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns, leading Abingdon to a 42-34 Region 3D semifinal victory over Bassett on a cold Friday night at Falcon Stadium.
Abingdon (11-1) needed all those yards, with Bassett (9-3) having their own talented back in Simeon Walker-Muse - who bounced back from an emergency appendectomy just 12 days ago - to run for 200 yards and a score for the Bengals.
“ You talk about some great running back play tonight,” Abingdon head coach Garrett Amburgey said. “Both teams, running the ball, great cuts, finishing runs, it was beautiful to watch. It is going to be a fun film to go back and review.”
Abingdon will host Lord Botetourt next Friday for the Region 3D championship. The Cavaliers, who defeated Christiansburg in the semifinals, defeated the Falcons at the same point in the spring.
“ We don’t want the season to end, we really don’t,” Hounshell said. “I guess we are going to play until we can’t no more.”
Bishop Cook, who had a 33-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to put the win on ice, also had a blocked extra point to keep it at 14-13 in the second quarter, and later recovered onside kick to open the second half.
Haynes Carter, who recovered a blocked punt by Timmy Jessee on the opening possession in the end zone for a touchdown, ran around right end on the first play after the Cook recovery and ran 41 yards for the touchdown and the 28-13 lead.
“ We always talk about who is going to get the party started for us and we got a blocked kick right out of the gate and that is a huge play, got us going,” Amburgey said. “When you look and it ends up a one-score game, how big is that.”
Hounshell, who scored on an 8-yard run to put the Falcons ahead for good at 14-7, also had a 2-yard run to lift Abingdon to a 21-13 at the break. He had a 19-yard scoring run in a fourth quarter to expand the margin to 35-19 in the fourth quarter.
“ I am pretty tired,” said Hounshell, who ran the ball 30 times. “I help the team out so that is all I really care about is helping them out. They are not a bad team. They played physical and they had heart, but the line was pushing them and I was just running.”
Muse didn’t show any effects from his recent surgery, using his shiftiness to get lose for several explosive yards for the Falcons.
“ He broke my ankle one time,” Hounshell said, with a smile. “It was bad, I got mad after that, but he is a really good player.”
“ He is a special football player. He ran the ball really well. He is a great player,” added Amburgey. “I can’t say enough about Malique and Bishop and the runs that they had.”
Bassett quarterback Ja’Ricous Harriston ran for touchdowns from 2 and 4 yards, and added a 29-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Stokes and a 33-yard scoring pass to Jacob Gilbert in the fourth quarter to pull the Bengals within 42-34 with 2:00 left in the game.
Hairston finished with 144 yards through the air and 51 yards on the ground. The elusive Stoke had five receptions for 72 yards.
“ It was a tough one. We continued to battle back when we got down two scores,” Bassett head coach Brandon Johnson said. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way tonight and Abingdon is a well coached team. They kept pounding on us and I feel like we did a good job of answering. We lost to a good football team tonight, that is just the way it goes sometimes.”
An outside kick followed, with the Bengals sliding over the ball before Abingdon’s Charlie Sturgill fell on it for the Falcons. By the time Bassett got the ball after a 47-yard punt by Jessee, there was only time for one play.
Cole Lambert threw for 161 yards for Abingdon, with six of those going to Peyton McClanahan for 89 yards.
Abingdon will play for the Region 3D title next week in a rematch with the Cavaliers at Falcon Stadium. Lord Botetourt is coached by former Falcons’ standout and Emory & Henry Hall of Fame member Jamie Harless.
“ This was a great football game with two really good high school teams, that is what is high school football is about right there,” Amburgey said. “It feels great, I am proud of the guys, they battled. We got there in the spring and back there again. They wanted it.”
Bassett 7 6 6 15 - 34
Abingdon 7 14 7 14 - 42
A-Carter recovers blocked punt in end zone (Reid kick)
B-Walker-Muse 16 run (Lopez kick)
A-Houshell 8 run (Reid kick)
B-Hairston 2 run (kick blocked)
A-Hounshell 2 run (Reid kick)
A-Carter 41 run (Reid kick)
B-Hairston 4 run (pass failed)
A-Hounshell 19 run (Reid kick)
B-Gilbert 29 pass from Hairston (Hairston run)
A-Cook 33 run (Reid kick)
B-Stokes 33 pass from Hairston (Lopez kick)
First downs: B 18; A 21. Rush-yards: B 43-267 A 43-276. Pass yards: B 144; A 161. Comp-Att-Int: B 9-16-0; A 8-14-0. Fumbles-lost: B 1-0; A 2-1. Penalty-yards: B 8-56; A 5-42. Punts-Avg: B 1-36.0; A 1-47.0.