Volume 9, Issue 2

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Stampeding Ahead Monticello’s Kevin Jarrell is powering one of the area’s most explosive offenses. PAGE 07

VOL 9. ISSUE 2 :: OCTOBER 3, 2017

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RIDING IT OUT Jarrell and MHS football find something big


GETTING BACK ON THE TRAIL Albemarle cross country adds serious depth


GAME TIME The 2017 Jefferson Swim League Championships


ONE YEAR LATER A pair of Buckingham athletes survive a scare

Stampeding Ahead VOL 9 . ISSUE 2 :: OCTOBER 3, 2017



ANSWERING THE CALL Monroe’s Gray takes on leadership role

VOL 9. ISSUE 2 :: OCTOBER 3, 2017

Monticello’s Kevin Jarrell is powering one of the area’s most explosive offenses. PAGE 07

S TA F F Bart Isley, Creative Director Bob Isley, Infrastructure Director Ryan Yemen, Creative Editor O N T H E COV E R Monticello’s Kevin Jarrell M I S S I O N S TAT E M E N T Local sports are the lifeblood of every community in America, and we’re here to reach beyond the basics and give compelling accounts about Central Virginia athletes to our readers. CO N TAC T U S [ e ] info@scrimmageplay.com [ p ] 434-249-2032



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Hammering down Albemarle’s Daniella LaRosa goes up for a kill against Western in a 3-0 win over the Patriots’ cross-county rival. The senior outside hitter is having a strong season with 46 stuff blocks and a .297 attack percentage, both team highs. Albemarle sits at 14-4 and has yet to drop a set in any of its five Jefferson District contests. ✖ (Photo by Ashley Thornton)

03 :: @scrimmageplay

ALTER EGOS Jaren Jordan Auto Body repair Jaren Jordan is one reason Charlottesville’s football team is off to a 4-1 start and is moving the ball essentially at will on offense. The junior and his fellow offensive linemen clear the way for players like Sabias Folley and Sam Neale who are piling up yardage on the ground. Jordan is one of the players grinding it out so the Black Knights can keep picking up wins and pushing forward. Jordan is also grinding it out in CATEC’s Auto Body Repair. That teamwork he’s been employing on the offensive line also helps when he’s in the classroom at CATEC changing oil or repairing dents or learning repair engines or doors. “I had the chance to do it this year and I like to work on cars,” Jordan said. “If you do something by yourself you won’t know that something is messed up.” Jordan has been learning a great deal in the classroom all while helping the Black Knights put together one of their best starts in years. That’s a pretty good start to the fall for the junior.

College Track students taking an early step in their career

To learn more about the Auto Body Repair program at CATEC and what students in the program learn, click this page.


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First Quarter Answering the call

Monroe’s Gray relishes opportunity to lead young Dragons By Bart Isley


Dragons wide receiver Jordan Gray has been a bright spot for a rebuilding program. (Brian Mellott)

{ SPEADING IT OUT } Receiving yards for Monroe in its first five games.

324 110 91

05 :: @scrimmageplay






illiam Monroe senior Jordan Gray doesn’t see his role as a leader on a squad with tons of players getting their first varsity action as a burden. No, it’s actually far from it.

“I wouldn’t say it has been tough,” Gray said. “It’s definitely a task that I enjoyed coming up and fulfilling for my team.” Not that it has gone exactly to plan. The Dragons, who are working to replace a senior class that produced a pack of players on college rosters this fall, stumbled to an 0-4 start, losing two nailbiters to Broadway and Fort Defiance that particularly stung. But that frustration went away with an assertive win over Madison County that the Dragons closed on their terms, driving and scoring with four seconds to go to ice the game. “It showed we had the physicality and the endurance to hang with anybody,” Gray said. Gray caught four balls and gained 72 critical yards in that win over Madison, and he asked to carry the Dragons in that county border war. “He came up to me before the Madison game and said ‘put this game on my shoulders, coach,’” Rocha said. “The other guys hear that and I can see they want to follow him in their demeanor.” Gray is perhaps the best wide receiver in the area that nobody seems to know much about, owing in part to his lost junior campaign, derailed by a broken collarbone. He made it back for the Dragons’ playoff game, but that was the extent of his year after a tremendous sophomore year that garnered him All-Bull Run District honors. He catches almost everything thrown his way, making him the perfect security blanket for first year starter Alex Kinsey. Kinsey has found him 24 times in the first five games, with Gray picking up 324 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. He’s also taken on a significant role on defense, which came as a surprise to the Dragons’ coaching staff.

“We never intended for Jordan to play safety but he did a great job leading our younger players and they have made progress by leaps and bounds by listening to him,” Rocha said. In fact, Gray’s tutelage of the younger players has essentially put himself out of a job on that side of the ball. “The defensive backs have matured so fast listening to him that this past game he got to focus on receiving and the young guys are now taking the majority of the defensive snaps,” Rocha said. Gray seems to care only that the Dragons figure out ways to get better and win, so it makes sense that he doesn’t see leadership as a burden, but as an opportunity. A chance to pass on what he’s learned and make William Monroe football better next year and the year after it. Gray is the kind of player who’s attention to his teammates’ development helps him impact the program after he’s gone. That’s an approach that strikes exactly the right chord for a team in the midst of a wideranging re-tooling like the Dragons. Gray also has at least one huge fan in the crowd when the Dragons take the field. “He is my 11-year old daughter’s favorite,” Rocha said. “It is a pleasure to see him interact with the young kids that come up to him, he has a knack for making the little kids smile.” The way he’s played and led early this season has made his coach smile too, and if he can keep bringing that level of intensity to the field, he can keep helping get the young Dragons on track. ✖

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College Update

We’ve gone digital

Former Blue Devil finds full time job as long snapper

But you can have it in print too!

By Bart Isley Brett Siegel was a really good high school linebacker at Fork Union, earning All-Scrimmage Play honors during an incredible stretch for the Blue Devils that included a run to the state final in 2012. Siegel was a big part of what FUMA did during his time there, including a 13-sack senior campaign. He was also an awfully good student, a member of the National Honor Society during his time at FUMA. At James Madison on the football field though, he had to carve out a different role for himself, dedicating his time to a new craft -- long snapping. After redshirting and keeping that solid academic work rolling (CAA Commissioner’s Academic award as a freshman), Siegel kept trying to work his way into some on-field action, breaking through as a sophomore with action in five games including a special teams tackle against Lehigh. But it was his junior campaign where everything changed as he became the Dukes’ lead longsnapper, becoming an instrumental part of JMU’s run to the FCS National Championship. He didn’t have a single bad snap on the PAT, field goal or punt teams as James Madison

blasted its way to a national title. Siegel made one tackle in a win over Richmond and made a fumble recovery in the second round of the playoffs against New Hampshire. He also earned another academic honor, CAA Football Academic All-Conference team as a biology major on a pre-dental track. This year, Siegel is back for the Dukes as they look to repeat as national champions, and he’s also finding time to participate in community service, including a spring trip to an elementary school in Harrisonburg. “Overall the experience was incredible,” Siegel told JMUsports.com. “I enjoyed the presence of the kids, being able to be a positive influence in their lives and seeing how passionate they were about reading and JMU football. I also enjoyed the teachers and how awesome they were towards us.” Siegel has gone from standout linebacker to practice player to an integral part of a national title team at longsnapper. When you can adapt and find a way to contribute at any level, that’s an incredible asset. It’ll serve Siegel well as he wraps up his career at James Madison and on into his postgraduate years. ✖

BELOW » FUMA graduate Brett Siegel has found his way on the field for the James Madison football squad by embracing a special teams role. (JMU sports information)

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Riding it out

Story by Bart Isley /// Photos by Ashley Thornton & Brian Mellot 07 :: @scrimmageplay


EVIN JARRELL HAS BEEN FORGED IN THE FIRE. Over the years at Monticello, a parade of terrific

quarterbacks have been developed or taken their place in a variety of offenses with a variety of tendencies. In the Brud Bicknell and Rodney Redd eras, the Mustangs proved capable of adapting to quarterbacks with skillsets as varied as the tall, rocket-armed Michael Graham to dual threat matchup nightmares like Michael Brown and Jhalil Mosley as well as points in between like prolific, 6-foot-2 Joe Sanford. Most of those quarterbacks played with strong defenses and strong ground attacks. They were asked to do a lot, but those other strengths that those teams leaned on and allowed them to play to those quarterbacks’ varied strengths. To let them be themselves, even in the confines of leadership. Jarrell, on the other hand, has had to become everything from the time he entered the mix as a freshman. Not a natural rah-rah leader, he’s had to carve out his own path to give the Mustangs that leadership element. He’s had to find consensus in his own class of seniors and help drive them to seek out bigger goals. He’s had to make sure nobody else is cutting corners either. He’s had to evolve and adapt himself rather than have the team adapt to him. He’s had to learn to survive the fire. Those other players absolutely endured adversity. But in the last 17 years, none of those quarterbacks had to stare down and stay steady during a 3-7 campaign like Jarrell did in 2016. Because of that, few of them came into their senior year with quite the edge Jarrell has. With quite as much to prove. With quite as much riding on his final turn at piloting the Mustangs’ offense.

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“We just have to trust that one more year in the weight room, one more everything is just going to make us better.” - Jerrell 09 :: @scrimmageplay

Last season against Orange County, Monticello outgained the Hornets by 218 yards, piling up 527 yards of total offenses and 35 points. They also lost 56-35. Jarrell was unhappy, there’s no doubt about that according to Monticello coach Jeff Lloyd. “He was pissed off and he should’ve been,” Lloyd said. But when Jarrell talks about that loss almost a year later? He talks about the lesson it reinforced. “We had five turnovers that game and I think that was the takeaway from that, you can’t win games turning the ball over,” Jarrell said. “I took that and put that on our offense and we tried to go fix that.” That’s where his ability to process experiences and information and turn it into production comes into play. Jarrell synthesizes everything about the game quickly. That comes with the territory of being a student with a 4.6 GPA, and it plays itself out in two ways on the field. First, it shows in the aftermath of that Orange game. He doesn’t get bogged down in the negativity, he sets a course to make things better. He’s always focused on moving forward. “I think we’ve just got to trust what’s going on,” Jarrell said. “Coach Lloyd has a great offense and Coach Ayres is doing big things with the defense. We just have to trust that one more year in the weight room, one more everything is just going to make us better and I think it has done that.” He also fits the classic coach-on-the-field archetype. Jarrell is more than capable of running the offense and calling his own plays. He’s become an engrossed, dedicated student of Monticello coach Jeff Lloyd’s system and he also has a natural feel for play-calling and rhythm. He knows what’s going to work. “He has complete freedom to change anything at the line of scrimmage because I trust him that much,” Lloyd said. “I promise you he’s the only kid on our offense that knows what everybody is supposed to do.” That inspires an incredible level of confidence among his teammates, including an offensive line that’s a big reason the Mustangs got off to a 2-0 start. They’ve protected Jarrell in the passing game and opened gaping holes on the ground through this early stretch, including a 239-yard performance on the ground against Turner Ashby. The best lines always take pride in protecting their quarterbacks, but sometimes there’s a sense that quarterback isn’t as in love with the physical part of the game as his linemen. Jarrell isn’t that guy. He runs like a fullback, seeking contact in the open field. He’s absolutely looking to run someone, anyone over, especially in the early going. “I’m just trying to help this team win and I think if I set that tone playing tough that everyone around me is going to want to play tough,” Jarrell said after blowing out Turner Ashby.

See a photograph you like? Defensive stand Warriors goalie has more than one trick | By Ryan Yemen

At Scrimmage Play we pride ourselves on offering the best possible graphics Two years ago the Western Albemarle boys to Shin, who doubles as a Junior National Judo soccer team get was fueled its underclassmen medalist, we can our byhands on, in both our but has developed into one of the with sophomores and freshman bearing the area’s most versatile goalkeepers. magazine as well as at our website at brunt of the work load. The netminder has shown he’s capable of Now two years later, forwards Aaron Myers making big saves, particularly in the team’s www.scrimmageplay.com and Alex Nolet, as well as senior defender two ties. In the first game of the season, Tom Rogers are all in their senior seasons and looking to earn a Region II bid, something that Orange County snatched away from them in the Jefferson District semifinals last season. After the first month of play, the Warriors seem to have the defensive side of the equation figured out and junior goalkeeper Kai Shin is a big part of that. Before Western went on its spring break, none of its four opponents were able to score more than once, a testament to the team’s play in the middle of the field, but also a nod

Shin endured wave after wave of Albemarle attack, but stood tall and showed no rust in the 1-1- tie. But while Shin’s on the field because he can make stops, his strong leg has also been of great use as he’s able to easily clear the zone but also spark fast breaks all by himself. The Warriors averaged a little over two goals per contest before the break, but if that average starts to increase, don’t be surprised if it’s because of Shin’s ability to contribute to the transition game. ✖ Western Albemarle’s Kai Shin hauls in a shot dur-

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ing his team’s 1-1 tie with Albemarle that kicked off the soccer season for both squads. (Frank Crocker)

“I ‘ve pushed him harder than any kid I ‘ve ever coached and that ‘s because I think that highly of him as a kid and as a player.” - Lloyd 11 :: @scrimmageplay

That tough running has helped open things up for Jerrick Ayers too, a back who can make teams pay if they lock in on the Mustangs’ signal-caller. He’s already rushed for 419 yards through four games (Jarrell has gone for 627) and is an extremely dynamic threat in the open field. Jarrell is also pinpoint accurate through the air (though drops and desperation attempts late in losses hurt his completion percentage last year), taking advantage of the electric Austin Haverstrom, Trenton Johnson and Garrett Porterfield early this year. Last season, he threw for 1,573 yards and rushed for another 583. If a defense chooses to sit back and not pressure Jarrell, he’ll pick them apart. If they decide to apply pressure, he can get it out quick or extend the play with his legs. That aren’t many flaws or limits in his approach or execution, he’s going to be the same guy week in and week out. His toughness and athleticism on the ground, his ability to read defenses and his powerful, accurate arm all seem like the exact recipe for what a college is looking for in a quarterback. But teams have been hesitant to pull the trigger on offering him. His recruiting process has become a mystery for Lloyd, who regularly claims Jarrell is the finest quarterback he’s ever coached and has shepherded a lot of athletes through that process before during a lengthy career. “It’s probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever dealt with in 20 years as a high school coach,” Lloyd said. “You have a kid that can play at that level that is everything you want in a kid. 4.6 GPA. A leader. Never in trouble. He’s always first in every drill. I’ve pushed him harder than any kid I’ve ever coached and that’s because I think that highly of him as a kid and as a player.” Jarrell, for his part, seems completely locked in on what’s happening with Monticello rather than where he’ll play or be next year. He’s come together with his fellow seniors, guys he’s played with for years, to make sure that all that work, all that effort doesn’t just fall away that their final season doesn’t descend into last year’s 3-7 aberration. “I think we had the athletes and the players to play a lot better,” Jarrell said. “But I think this year our leadership is a lot better. The outside of football stuff is much better than last year.” The Mustangs are eating together, they’re in the halls together. They’re just...together. “He and several of the seniors have shown great senior leadership, as juniors you aren’t really leaders if you have seniors and you have quite a few of them,” Lloyd said. “But they made a deal with one another that this year is going to be different and our team is much different.” It helps that Jarrell played with Haverstrom, Ayers and senior lineman Danny Talbert for nearly a decade, there’s a trust there you can’t manufacture. “We want to play more together, we’ve tried to make

it a big football family,” Jarrell said. “It’s just a lot of fun playing with those guys. I’ve played with Austin and Jerrick since I was nine years old and that’s just a lot of fun seeing each other grow.” In that time, Jarrell has become his own kind of leader, setting the tone and building consensus rather than exhorting and yelling and creating resentment. The team’s attitude, the all-in approach, reflects that leadership. “If guys come out here and see me working hard and being that coach on the field, I think other guys are going to follow that,” Jarrell said. That’s what happens when you’re thrown into the mix early in your career with the right tools but unsure of how to handle it. That’s what happens when you’re forged in the fire. You grow. You adapt. You become something better. Jarrell and the Mustangs have been through the fire, they were made in it. Now they’re starting to unleash it on every team in their path. ✖

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ON THE TRAIL Story by Ryan Yemen - Photos by Ashley Thornton 13 :: @scrimmageplay


he Ragged Mountain cup is the first race of the season. Although an exhibition, a four person 2-mile relay, it seems to be a yearly barometer for team

depth. The Albemarle girls left Panorama Farms at the end of August not just with a title-winning showing, but a sense of excitement. The Patriots are coming off a third place showing at the VHSL Group 5A championship last year and returning a senior runner in Ryann Helmers that finished with a second place medal individually. What’s not to like, right? But what made the RMC race in August truly revealing for the Patriots was their second relay squad finishing just a 19 seconds from a third place finish. With seven runners placing in the top-12 of individual times, the Patriots have something special to work with. They have a team that’s a year older, more experienced, but more over, one with three runners back that missed the bulk of last season. Sisters Kenzie and Rachel Lloyd were split between the two relay squads. Kenzie took fifth place at Panorama while Rachel snagged 12th. Throw in Elly Zrayaski who’s bouncing back from injury early in her runner career too and you’ve got a core group right in the middle that simply wasn’t there last year. That’s what Albemarle coach Cathy Coffman has added to an already loaded team this season.

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Above, Rachel Lloyd, below, Kenzie Lloyd

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“We had 12 girls running under 14 minutes (in the RMC),” Coffman said. “Usually at this point in the season, we aren’t this fast. So this is a testament to the senior leaders who’ve run these girls during the summer without the coaches. They’ve done all the work, put all the money in the bank for us.” One of those seniors is Rachel Lloyd. And for Rachel, running again is a testament to truly loving the sport. During her freshman season there was a nagging calf pain that just ground her down. As a sophomore, Rachel decided to get it checked out and she was diagnosed with chronic compartment syndrome — a condition where pressure leads to a lack of blood flow, in this case, to Rachel’s legs. In order to correct it, Rachel went under the knife and had surgery. “The pain before, it’s like this fire in your calves, like something is burning,” Rachel said. “It wasn’t perfect right after the surgery, it just took a while for the symptoms to go away but starting this past winter things started to feel a lot better and I was able to increase my training. I feel like now I’m getting a chance to reach my full potential.” Rachel went through a full six months of rehab before being able to think about making a comeback on the running circuit. In the meantime, she was on the school’s rowing team, also coached by Coffman. But there’s just something about running. “Getting back took a long time because I was in a wheelchair for a few weeks and then on crutches for months,” Rachel said. “It was a slow return to run program, I had a pretty conservative rehab. So I wasn’t able to run at all in cross country and finally got started with indoor track and field but it took a long time for the symptoms to go away. It’s been a long process, longer than I thought it would but I’m so glad I’m able to run at full training for my senior year.” For Coffman and the team, seeing Rachel’s climb back onto the team is simply awe inspiring. Getting back to competition is one thing, but putting up numbers that matter — obviously her dedication to the sport and helping the Patriots win is unquestioned. “Rachel has gone from basically being unable to walk to running in our top seven,” Coffman said. “I mean, it’s just amazing.” This spring Rachel put together a breakout track and field season saw her finish 11th in the Group 5A 1600 meter run. And with things only improving health wise during the summer, her showing at RMC paired with her 22nd place run at the Fork Union Invitational on September 23, the days of struggling to run are in the rear view. Of course, while Rachel was dealing with surgery rehab last fall, her sister Kenzie missed the bulk of cross country season with a stress fracture that kept her from competing. Kenzie was able to get on the mend though and run during the indoor track and field season and feels 100 percent coming into this season. “That was hard but I’m really happy to be running well and doing what I want to as a senior,” Kenzie said. “I wasn’t sure how things would play out, if this senior season would come together but so far is looks pretty good.” Completing the theme of comeback seasons, Zarzyski, a junior, is finally back to competing with the top group after dealing with a pair of stress fractures. Zarzyski dealt with a pair of them as a freshman and took her sophomore year lightly so as

TEAM SPOTLIGHT FLUVANNA COUNTY ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT Fluvanna County’s Athletic Department and the Fluvanna community as a whole came together late in September to collect cases of water at home football games and transport it to be sent out to hurricane-ravaged areas like Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico. The athletic department exceeded its goal of more than 500 cases of bottled water. Well done by Fluvanna County.

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not to re-aggravate anything. “Getting back I just thought ‘Oh, I’m so far behind, this is not going to go well,’” Zarzyski said. “I told myself I was just going to run not get injured. Now as a junior, over the summer when I was training I started hanging in there with some people I didn’t think I could hang with anymore.” So now with the Lloyds both back, Zarzyski and her sister Meme — who placed seventh at the RMC — to go along with seniors in Helmers and Natalie Li, sophomore Beth Shifflett and freshman Arianna DeBoer, there’s just a big old log jam. But it’s the kind that every coach loves to have and all the runners truly appreciate. “It’s crazy being on this team because I know on one day I can be as good as the number two or three runners and then on others I’m like 15th or 16th,” Zarzyski said. “There’s so much depth and it changes everyday. I don’t think we’ll have a solid set seven runners this year. I feel like it’s going to be changing all the time this year. There’s so much competition.” If redemption from injury is the obvious theme for so many runners at Albemarle, the other side of the story that can’t be overlooked is Helmers and her unbelievable durability and consistency during her cross country career. If it seems like she’s been around for far too long it’s because she’s been a top runner for Albemarle since she was just a freshman. Few runners have been more durable, more consistent, than Helmers. When Coffman describes what sets her top runner apart from the typical runner, it’s not about running. “She’s all about eating right, sleeping right and doing all the things that I have no control over,” Coffman said. “I can control the

17 :: @scrimmageplay

girls watch that and see

well maybe if i do that i

won’t get injured. we can

learn from them.”

- Helmers

workouts and the milage but not a lot else. Her leadership? It’s just exceptional. Coaches can only do so much.” Helmers won the Jefferson District individual championship last year before going on to finish second overall in the Group 5A state meet. In the spring she won the Group 5A 3200 meter race, took fifth in the 1,600 and also ran a leg for the second place 4x800 squad. Now with her second place showing at RMC, the senior is poised to pick right up where she left off. For her, watching the Lloyd’s and Zarzyski come back from injury have been big time motivators for someone who’s already very good at getting hyped up to race. “They’ve all worked so hard and it’s really motivating to all the girls because you see them roll, stretch, ice a lot and do all the things they should,” Helmers said. “Girls watch that and see well maybe if I do that I won’t get injured. We can learn from them. We have someone to talk to about different kinds of pain.” Helmers, the epitome of endurance, goes about her business in an almost robotic way, which is what you typically see from the top runners. For her, staying healthy is at the forefront of her training.

it’s so good to know that maybe when i leave this

team will still get better

and only stronger.”

- Helmers

“Injury prevention is something I believe very strongly in,” Helmers said. “It’s something I talk with our coaches a lot about it — using different drills to strengthen all of your muscles so that they balance out and so maybe you don’t get hurt because one group of muscles is stronger than another.” Talking with Helmers about running is like talking to a doctor when you’re at a physical. Her focus is on health as much as it is about pacing, running a good race. “You have to make sure you’re getting enough rest, you have to make sure you’re doing recovery runs and that you’re actually recovering,” Helmers said. “And, you have to get to bed early. I get to bed really early so I that I can come to workouts and run them harder, get stronger, recover well and just stay healthy all year long.” It seems perfect for Helmers and this senior class that everything is coming together. On an individual level, there’s really only one race left for Helmers to win to put together a career grand slam so to speak, the Group 5A championship in cross country. She’s already put her name up there in program history with the Rachel Roses and

Allison Huschkes of Patriot lore. But of course there’s the team title which would mean so much more. With the depth to be better than it was last year if they stay healthy, there’s a real shot for Albemarle to come home as state champions. But in a show of what being a senior really means, Helmers has an eye out for what happens after she leaves the program and goes on to run for whichever college she chooses — that decision will come soon. “It’s weird being a senior because it felt like it’s gone by so fast but I’m watching these younger runners and they’re going so incredibly fast, running strong races,” Helmers said. “Our team has so much depth but it’s so good to know that maybe when I leave this team will still get better and only be stronger. I’m so excited to see what the younger girls can do as the season goes along because they are crushing their time trial times right now.” Cross country has that individual sport mentality. Nobody wants to lose their spot in the ladder but on this team, there’s a sense that if that happened, nobody would mind because that next runner came by it honestly. When great athletes provide great leadership, whether by example, through leadership or simply because of they’re great teammates, a standard is set. The Patriots have great runners and they’re inspired by their own. They’ll have a bright future both this season and the ones that follow. There’s a reason this program doesn’t have down years. Each athlete builds off the ones who came before them and gives back to the ones that come after. That’s how a program sustains itself. That’s how individual runners become great. And that’s how Albemarle gets itself in position for this kind of year. ✖

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Game Time

Monticello 3, Western 1 By Bart Isley

Monticello junior Allie Contaga and the Mustangs are off to a hot start to the year at 9-3. (Bart Isley)

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It started with a pep talk from an unlikely source. It ended with an historic win. “(Assistant athletic director Paul Jones) came to us and had a talk and he said he feels like the whole school fears Western and he told us that he believes in us and that it is an expectation for us to beat Western and that he knows we have what it takes,” said Monticello senior Makysha Brock. “We used that. We used that as fuel.” It was powerful fuel. Brock and the Mustangs’ volleyball team beat Western 3-1 Tuesday night for the program’s first victory over the Warriors since 2001, ending a 16year drought against their rivals. The Mustangs won the first game 25-22 and after dropping game two 25-17, the Mustangs bounced back, winning 25-21 and then a dominant 25-11, finishing on an 18-3 run to cap the huge victory over the Warriors. Brock steadied the Mustangs throughout the match, striking a tremendous balance between bringing intensity to the net and staying even and calm throughout. She registered nine kills, six aces and 17 digs. “I told everyone tonight’s the night and that we need to bring the grit,” Brock said. “But I also said play comfortable, you know what you’re doing. I knew we had it, I knew we could take it to them.” Beyond the statistical contributions, Brock was also all over the floor and provided a psychological edge as well. “She backed her teammates up I could see as she was moving around the court she was always backing her teammates up both vocally and physically,” said Monticello

coach Meg Carpenter. “That instilled a lot of confidence.” A year ago, taking a game off the Warriors would’ve been a big step for the Mustangs, they lost 3-0 to Western three times last year including the Conference 29 tournament. But with Brock hitting on all cylinders and by minimizing their unforced errors, the Mustangs were able to take control of the match. “A lot of this game was overcoming this mental battle of knowing how great this program is, that was another obstacle that most games we don’t have,” Carpenter said. “Coming in and believing it and playing in one unit was something they were able to to achieve and overcome. I could not be more proud.” Monticello senior Amaya Gibson had a big night defensively with 24 digs and also found a way to chip in five kills. Jewell Pugh had 26 assists and Allison Davis had six kills. For Western, the Warriors managed to get on track in game two, but couldn’t maintain the required intensity to take control of the match, in part because Monticello was fighting tooth and nail. Sarah Rhea led the Warriors with 10 kills while Caity Driver had seven and Cassidy Wilson had five kills. Abby Boitnott notched 17 assists and Amber Parker had 32 digs. Wilson also put together 20 digs. After a 3-0 win over Louisa following the victory over Western, the Mustangs sit at 9-3 on the year and are 4-1 in the Jefferson Dstrict behind only Albemarle in the standings. ✖


# F or k U n i on S trong

Student profiles: Will Stupalsky Will Stupalsky does a little bit of everything for the Blue Devils’ prep football team, and that’s putting it mildly. The junior plays at wide receiver, defensive back and also happens to be a fantastic kicker and punter. “This is a kid who brings every ounce of energy on every play,” said FUMA assistant coach Steven McCoy, who also coaches Stupalsky in track and field. “He has a desire, dedication and drive.” Through five games this season, Stupalski leads the Blue Devils in both receptions and yards with 19 catches for 213 yards. On the other side of the ball he has an interception and four tackles. But he might be most valuable on special teams as his ability kick field goals, to reverse field position in the punting game, and limit returns with deep kickoffs is all huge, especially at the high school level. Stupaski has hit three of his four field goal attempts this year including a 34-yarder. He’s 100 percent on extra points so far this year. And his 14 punts for 438 yards have made it so Fork Union’s defense isn’t playing on its heels. However, coach Mike Hooper is most pleased to see Stupalsky growing as a leader on the team and a student in the classroom. But he’s also not surprised by it. “It’s our job to make these young men better,” Hooper said. “But when you’ve got great clay it’s easy to be a good potter.”

Fork Union Military Academy is the leading Christian military boarding school for boys in grades 7 - 12 and PG. www.forkunion.com — 1-800-GO-2-FUMA


One year later Buckingham athletes back on the field after a scare


here are no shortage of strange endings in high school football. But everyone gets taken aback when a game ends because there’s simply no more need for contact. That’s how the Goochland and Buckingham meeting ended last year as on an innocuous play in the fourth quarter in a game that was largely over with the Bulldogs up 48-9. When Brycen Newby, Brandon Mosely and Javon Chambers all went down on one play trying to make a tackle. Newby and Mosely were unable to move, immediately frightening the players around them. Chambers stood up, but just moments later was writhing on the ground as well. The tally? Newby pinched a nerve, Mosley did the same and was concussed and Jones was also concussed. All three were taken to MCV hospital in Richmond for evaluation. While Newby’s stay was the shortest, all three were cleared by the end of the weekend. While Jones graduated last spring, both Mosley and Newby were on the field this past weekend to see the Bulldogs one final time. It was a moment not lost on Mosely who can’t remember playing last year’s game. For him, there were emotions taking the field one year later in the same game. “After the first series I was okay but before the game, I was kind of nervous coming out,” Mosley said. “I mean I don’t remember that game at all. Nothing.” Mosely tried to return to the field at the end of last season but was convinced otherwise by his mother and physicians who asked him to wait until 2017. Now he’s back on the offensive and defensive lines and playing a key role as a senior. But getting back into football shape mentally was something that took a little time. “It’s hard to explain if you haven’t been through it,” Mosley said. “You’re playing a little nervous a little shy to get hit at first, but you want to. It’s weird.” For Newby the experience had several different impacts. That Newby was able to return just two weeks later after being cleared by physicians is a testament to what the two-way lineman is and has been for Buckingham his entire career — a pure in the trenches football player that simply loves the game. Obviously the heat of the moment was different for him too as his bell wasn’t rung as hard as his other two teammates, allowing him to avoid a concussion. Nonetheless, he remembers being on the field and unable to feel his extremities. He also remembers that the strangest part was how many people were huddled over him, how that made him feel. “I remember going down, like diving and then I heard this crack and then I heard the coaches yelling ‘Newby, Newby, Newby, you alright?’” Newby said. “Then I was laying there and my feet felt like they were in ice water for a long time. I told them that. There were so many people around me telling me ‘Don’t move. Do not move.’ So that was kind of scary. So then they took my face mask off and went through the whole procedure. I got to witness that whole process first hand so that was kind of interesting.” Newby turned out to be, as he describes it, “the lucky one” in the collision. He regained feeling while on the field and was cleared to go home that night. Moreover, he felt ready to get back on the field for the next game, but sat out a week as a precaution. “Brandon and Javon, they talked about how they were really hurt,” Newby said. “They

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“It was a really scary episode that I never thought I’d see.” were having trouble walking around and stuff. I’m thankful I didn’t have to go through that. And I really felt bad for Javon, that was his last game of the season.” A year later and Newby and Chambers leave the field against Goochland 100 percent healthy. And nobody is more grateful to see that than their coach, Josh Wallace. “When I went out there last year Newby couldn’t feel his legs and Mosely wasn’t responsive,” Wallace said. “The next thing I know I’m kneeling in prayer and then Mosley is gasping for air. It was a really scary episode that I never thought I’d see. And so for them to come back and play and not let it bother them? It’s just awesome to see.” Football is not for the faint of heart and every season there are reminders that it is a collision sport. That Chambers, Newby and Mosley are all okay is obviously the most important part. And there’s something satisfying about the latter two taking the field together as seniors, but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Buckingham athletes have always been described as tough as nails by most anyone who has lined up against them. ✖

Ryan Yemen


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Do you have a favorite comeback story? Let me know at: ryan@scrimmageplay.com

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