Chemistry Cooking: Blue Ridge holds off Hargrave

Photo by Bart Isley

Blue Ridge’s Xavier Kane, Michael Asher and Icesys Lewis all three are tall, fast and rangy athletes who are rocking long hair. Based on how they worked together Saturday against Hargrave — particularly  when the play broke down — they’ve also all three got some serious chemistry. Lewis and Kane in particular have been attached at the hip.


“Ever since we’ve been here everybody calls us brothers — we were roommates for two years and we have that bond since we’ve been here together,” Lewis said.


That chemistry helped the Barons jumped out to a huge halftime lead and then held off Hargrave’s second half charge to snag a 47-33 win. It took a team effort to pull it off with the Barons’ potentially explosive offense finding a rhythm early. It was particularly impressive considering the Barons worked with a short week after playing in sweltering heat at Nansemond Suffolk Academy Monday after that game was pushed from Friday due to lightning. 


“We do have some weapons on the outside, Michael Asher came through for us early in the ballgame and Icesys has really stepped his game up in the past few weeks and made some big plays for us,” said Blue Ridge coach Jimmy Wills. “On our offensive line we had several injuries and the guys who came in really stepped up there.”


Kane exploded for a huge day, going 19-for-35 for 322 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 218 yards and two touchdowns.


Part of what made it a special day is that Kane didn’t just take off when he escaped pressure. Most of his 218 rushing yards came on designed quarterback keeps or option reads. Instead, Kane kept his eyes downfield and twice found Lewis for huge gains, with he and Lewis locking eyes when he wheeled out on one before Kane ripped . He also found Asher in the front corner of the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown after scrambling.


Asher finished with four catches for 98 yards, showcasing his well-established ability to stretch the defense on vertical routes. With Sammy Fort also getting going with 89 yards on four catches and a 13-yard touchdown on the ground, Kane has a lot of weapons to work with. But without extending some plays, he’s not going to be able to capitalize on them, and with a rainy, windy day there was an added degree of difficulty. Kane rose to the occasion.


“I think Xavier is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the state of Virginia and he showed that today,” Wills said. “Xavier is a special kid, just give him a little bit of time he can make some things happen.”


Meanwhile, the Blue Ridge defense had to withstand a rash of injuries to starters that left them plugging holes throughout the game while trying to mark Adam Saliu, who was giving them fits as a wide receiver. The Barons threw a number of different looks at the Tigers and guarded Saliu with at least three different players. But eventually the unit stiffened and got enough stops in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win.


“Coming out for the second half we thought we had the game we weren’t putting in a full effort in the beginning,” Lewis said. “We kind of took it for granted.”


The Barons eventually figured out a way to take time off the clock in the fourth quarter when Prophecy Kisamore got going on the ground. Kisamore rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries while also catching three balls for 31 yards.


The Barons get a huge test next week when they host the defending Division I state champions as Flint Hill comes to town.