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PREVIEW: Graham (VA) vs. Bluefield (WV)

August 23, 2012

The Bluefield Beavers and the Graham G-Men will square off on August 24th in the 86th “Battle of the Bluefields”. This game is packed full of history and is the biggest and most anticipated game of the season for the two schools. The game is played at Mitchell Stadium and it is expected to be sold out with upwards of 10,000 fans showing up. Although Mitchell Stadium is in West Virginia by a mere 500 feet, it is the home stadium for the two Bluefield teams throughout the season.

Bluefield hold sthe advantage in the all-time series between the two with a record of 62-21-2 going into this year’s battle, including a current three-game winning streak. This year the Bluefield Beavers took the fifth spot in the Class AA preseason poll according to the Charleston Daily Mail and are led by their longtime head coach Fred Simon entering his 27th season at his alma mater. After a disappointing 4-6 record last year, Bluefield has their eyes on the postseason once again. The Beavers anticipate home field advantage will help them get off to a great start as they open the season with 6 straight home games in their quest to gain back the state championship which they haven’t won since 2009.

Graham finished last year with a 5-6 record and a Division 2 playoff appearance behind first year head coach Mike Williams. This year expectations are much higher, due to players like senior defensive end and full back Michael Thompson, who earned All Region C honors last year on defense and has his eye on a bigger prize this season with the addition of playing on the other side of the ball too. After the Bluefield matchup, the G-Men will face five AA or AAA schools before facing a grueling five-game Mountain Empire District schedule, which includes the potential favorites Grayson Country, Galax and Fort Chiswell.

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