Smithfield keeps slim playoff hopes alive

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2007

SMITHFIELD—Dyrell Roberts scored three second half touchdowns and gained 177 yards rushing to lead Smithfield to a 34-24 homecoming win over the Grafton Clippers Saturday night at Packer Field.

It was the fourth straight Homecoming win for the Packers, who improved their record to 5-3 on the season.

“We haven’t lost a Homecoming since I’ve been here, and I wanted to make it four in a row,” said Roberts, who is headed to Virginia Tech after his high school career is over.

“This was a big win for us.”

Smithfield struck first, scoring on the game’s opening possession using an 8-play, 75-yard drive to take the early lead. Cornell Jones snagged a deep pass from quarterback Randall Privette at the Grafton 20 yard line, and he sprinted into the end zone with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter for a 7-0 Packer lead.

The margin was 14-0 lead after Ralph Williams broke through the Grafton defense for a 54-yard touchdown run.

Grafton answered with a 4-play 45-yard drive that Grafton running back Austin Sneath finished with a sweep around the left end for a 13-yard touchdown run that cut the lead to 14-7 at halftime.

The second half belonged to Dyrell Roberts. After a Grafton 27-yard field goal, Roberts fielded the kickoff, headed upfield, shook two defenders and raced 86 yards for a touchdown with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter to give Smithfield a 10-point lead.

Sneath, who rushed for 140 yards on 17 carries, scored again for Grafton, right before the end of the third quarter to make it 20-17, but this was Roberts’ night. Lining up behind center, he completed a 29-yard pass to Ralph Williams to give Smithfield a first down at the Grafton 11, and then scored a few plays later on a two-yard plunge.

He added a four-yard insurance touchdown with 2:49 remaining. Sneath’s third touchdown with a minute to go came too late to make a difference.

The win ended a three-game home losing streak for Smithfield with two games remaining.

“We know we need help from some other teams to make the playoffs,” Roberts said. “All we can do is come out here and continue to play hard.”

Smithfield is on the road at Southampton Friday.