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Abingdon tops Bassett on strength of running game

Abingdon tops Bassett on strength of running game

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ABINGDON — 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 its 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 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 beat 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.

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 an 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 a 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.

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.”

Walker-Muse didn’t show any effects from his recent surgery, using his shiftiness to get loose for several explosive plays 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.”

Bassett quarterback Ja’Ricous Hairston 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 two minutes left.

Hairston finished with 144 yards through the air and 51 yards on the ground. The elusive Stokes had five receptions for 72 yards.

“It was a tough one. We continued to battle back when we got down two scores,” Bassett 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.”

Cole Lambert threw for 161 yards for Abingdon, with six completions 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.

“It feels great, I am proud of the guys, they battled,” Amburgey said. “We got there in the spring and back there again. They wanted it.”

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