Radford High School is the 2023 Class 2 state football champs. Yes, let that set in.
Radford caps off a 15-0 season, by bringing home a trophy that had eluded them since back-to-titles in 1971 and 1972. Riverheads saw its streak of 32-straight playoff wins come to an end after moving up this season to Class 2. They had won seven straight championships in Class 1.
Radford rolled in s 39-21 win over Riverheads in front of a capacity crowd Saturday at Salem Municipal Stadium
Riverheads’ running back Cayden Cook-Cash had 196 yards with three touchdowns on 33 carries in the loss. He will finish the season with over 1,500 yards in just 11 games and finish his career with over 3,000 yards and 105 touchdowns.
But it was the Landon Clark and Max Kanipe show on Saturday as Radford dominated on the offensive side of the ball, while Charlie Davis led a defense that stayed in Riverheads’ face the entire game.
Clark completed 15 of 22 passes for 254 yards with four touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 114 yards. Kanipe was Clark’s main target as he has been for most of the season. Kanipe had 218 yards with 179 coming in the first half. He also scored twice. J.D. Grubb also caught a pass for a touchdown.
Coach Michael Crist, who is in his third season at Radford, follows in the footsteps of his father, Dave Crist who ironically won a state title in his third season at Blacksburg.
Riverheads came in with a very potent offense, but the Radford defense said “not on this Saturday.” Charlie Davis and Ricky Bailey had 20 total tackles apiece in the contest, while Dawson Martin had 11 that included 2.5 tackles for a loss. Defensive tackle Dawson Martin put the cherry on top with an interception in the end zone for Radford late in the Fourth Quarter.
The victory comes a day after the Three Rivers District released its all-star team for this past year. Clark was named the offensive player of year and Davis was name the defensive player of year. Crist took coach of the year honors.
First team offense players included center Nolan Dalton, running back J.D. Grubb and receivers Sincere Taylor and Max Kanipe. On defense, lineman Ricky Bailey was named first team along with Davis at linebacker and Clark at defensive back.
Second team honors were given to offensive lineman Dawson Martin, receiver Luke Woodward, tight end Brandon Thompson, offensive all-purpose Sincere Taylor, defensive lineman Martin and Daniel Nooley, linebacker Brandon Thompson and defensive back Bryant Weaver.
Clark will finish his Bobcat career with 3,363 yards passing in his senior year going 206 of 339 with 40 touchdowns. He will also finish this season with 1,207 yards rushing to lead the team on 134 carries with 26 touchdowns.
Kanipe will finish his season with 74 receptions for 1,598 yards with 17 touchdowns. Taylor added 51 for 804 yards. Davis has tallied 157 tackles this season with 62 solos.