Galax ready to make the most of state championship rematch

‘We can’t get caught up in the hoopla. It’s got to be another game and they know the importance of it.’

GALAX, Va. – Playoff football has become the norm for the Galax Maroon Tide, who won their 7th region title in the past 11 seasons. Even better, they have reached the state semifinals for ten consecutive seasons. But the job isn’t done.

“We told them walking off the field that we’d be back and here we are,” said Kolton Keaton, referencing the Maroon Tide’s 2019 championship loss.

With a 9-0 record under first-year head coach Shane Allen, Galax is ready to right its wrongs from that 31-24 loss to Riverheads.

“It’s all about being physical and fundamentally sound and being disciplined and that’s what it comes down to,” Allen said.

And here’s why. Riverheads is no push over. They’ve racked up 35 wins in a row and four consecutive VHSL Class 1 State Championships. Their last loss? In the 2015 State Championship against Galax-- a 7-6 final.

“They have great running backs,” Keatley said. “Zac Smiley, coming off a state offensive player of the year [award], great running back, great guy. His brother is a fullback, just as good.”

“It’s old school physical football and I think that’s why is such a good matchup between the two schools,” Coach Allen said. “Even though they’re 11 people in the box and run it down your throat and we’re spread you out.”

The Maroon Tide held up the State Runner-Up trophy in 2019, but they’re hoping to trade it for State Championship gold after kickoff at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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