BLUE DEVILS PREP LEAGUE 2017 RECORD: 3-7 8/31 9/8 9/14 9/21 9/28 10/6 10/13 10/19 10/27 11/2
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Goochland Bullis Benedictine St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Norfolk Academy St. Christopher’s Trinity Episcopal Collegiate Bishop O’Connell Woodberry Forest
WHO’S GONE: IOSEFA PUA’AULI (RB/LB), R.C. WALBROOK (RB), LUKE WILSON (QB), HAYDEN MILES (WR/DB), LOGAN JUSTICE (WR/DB) WHO’S BACK: LARRY ELDER (WR/DB, PICTURED BELOW), WILLIAM HENRY (OL/ DL), CAMERON HILL (OL/DL) WHO’S NEW: CALEB MOSS (WR/DL), KENYON CARTER (QB/RB/WR)
ST. ANNE ’S -BELFIELD
VIRGINIA INDEPDENT, 2017 RECORD: 4-5 8/17 8/31 9/7 9/14 9/21 10/4 10/12 10/19 10/26
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Faith Christian Covenant Kenston Forest Virginia Episcopal Hampton Roads Greenbrier Christian Brunswick Academy Covenant Kenston Forest
WHO’S GONE: CHRISTIAN SMITH (OL/DL), GABE SANOK (OL/DL), MYLES WARD (WR) WHO’S BACK: WILL EDELSON (OL/DL, PICTURED BELOW),THOMAS HARRY (QB/ DB), GABE DECKER (RB/LB), JOE AMBROSI (LB/RB), AMANI WOODS (RB/DB) WHO’S NEW: ELIJAH JOHNSON (TE), ISAYAH JOHNSON (WR)
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Blue Devils poised for a bump up Fork Union made progress in 2017, but with three losses by seven or more points, the Blue Devils had the type of season where they could have competed for a VISAA Division 1 playoff spots had things gone just a little bit differently. Those are the bounces. With an offensive and defensive line that is much bigger and comes in with more experience than last year, FUMA has an opportunity to greatly improve in 2018. Throw in some key returning skill position players and the Blue Devils’ task gets easier. It starts in the trenches. With Cameron Hill, Ryan Dynski and William Henry all back, this unit will be the core that drives this team. Additions in Miles Brickhouse and Stockwell Sullivan give both sides of the line depth and lengthy Caleb Moss projects to be a strong pass rusher. Offensively, the Blue Devils add Orange County transfer Kenyon Carter, but he isn’t a lock to play at quarterback and could fit more of an H-back role. Carter is competing with Drue Hackenberg and Ian McGlamery at quarterback but his athleticism might be needed else where. Larry Elder and Will Stupalsky anchor an experienced and shifty receiving corps. Finding a rushing game will be key in camp as both of last year’s leading rushers, Iosefa Puaauli and
R.C. Wallbrook have moved on. With the Blue Devils most adept in the passing attack before the season begins, this could be a team that airs the ball out a good deal while things get ironed out at running back. With that strong line up front on defense, this unit should be much improved as the line of scrimmage proved to be an issue at times last year. The reverse should be true in ‘18. Look for Steve Smith to anchor the linebacking corps. With both Elder and Stupalsky in the secondary, the Blue Devils have experience and talent to lean on there making this arguably the most balanced defense third year coach Mike Hooper has been able to field. Throw in a solid special teams unit led by Stupalsky and winning close games becomes easier too. Fork Union plays a tough schedule with three straight games on the road to start out. If the Blue Devils shine on the offensive and defensive line, that could put them in position heading into Prep League play where they’ll search for their first title since 2012. This team was close to being a playoff contender last year. The right pieces are there for them to do so this year. This is not a team crossing its fingers to go .500. ✖
Saints embark on new endeavor It’s pretty simple really. St. Anne’s-Belfield will still play a lot of STAB-style football. The action on the Saints’ bread and butter off tackle play will just take place one lineman closer, the field will be a little skinnier and every play there will be six less total players on the field. After a transition year of half 8-man schedule and half 11-man schedule, St. Anne’s-Belfield is all in on 8-man, playing a role in convincing a number of other similarly-sized private schools to make the switch with them and start the Virginia Independent School Football league. The Saints also have some pretty solid players to work with in those adjusted 8-man schemes including a pack of experienced linemen. Senior Will Edelson, a a 6-foot-8, 255-pound two-way starter in the trenches gives STAB an automatic foundation up front on both sides of the line. He’ll get some help from 6-foot-4 Seppi Kober, 6-2, 270-pound Luke Antesberger at center and 6-foot-4 Chase Holden at tackle. If that group, which will have to shake off the graduation of Christian Smith and Gabe Sanok, can open seams in the ground game, STAB has a stable of running backs returning that are capable of being productive. There’s 190-pound
sophomore big back Gabe Decker, speedy sophomore Amani Woods and 245-pound fullback Joe Ambrosi leading the way. That trio alone should give Thomas Harry, an experienced senior hand at quarterback who has been the starter in the past, all the confidence he needs. Defenses will have to step up against the run which could open things up for a young, developing receiving corps that includes basketball talent Nic Reese. The Saints will employ a heavy dose of option and play action to take advantage of that line and Harry’s athleticism. The Saints will also look to develop newcomers like Elijah and Isaiah Johnson. Defensively, Ambrosi will be a key piece of the puzzle at middle linebacker while Woods resembles a lockdown corner. Edelson’s presence up front will be something opposing teams will have to scheme around and Ambrosi and the other linebackers like Decker and Douglas Brooks are capable of taking advantage of the space Edelson creates. Lacrosse standout Gunni Horridge should be a factor on both sides of the ball too. After the regular season, STAB will compete in the first 8-man playoff in state history. With the core they’ve got, they could certainly make some noise in the postseason. ✖