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scrımmageplay THE CENTRAL VIRGINIA SPORTS AUTHORITY

VOL 9. ISSUE 1 :: AUGUST 22, 2017

Where there’s smoke The 2017 Football Preview PAGE 07


SPORTS MEDICINE & ORTHOPEDICS

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Knee & Ankle Injuries Shoulder Injuries Hip Injuries Back & Neck Injuries

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COLLEGE UPDATE Local alums help Division I women’s soccer teams stop the opposition

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POWDER KEG Our annual football preview for 2017

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THE WORK BEGINS Charlottesville’s healing process

Where there’s smoke VOL 9 . ISSUE 1 :: AUGUST 22, 2017

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THE NEW GUYS A trio of new coaches take the reins in football

VOL 9. ISSUE 1 :: AUGUST 22, 2017

The 2017 Football Preview 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 Left to right: Robert Sims, Xavier Kane, Sabias Folley, Tony Thurston, Logan Justice 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 ] 434-202-0553

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PREGAME

The first steps

Louisa County’s Raquan Jones runs through a drill during his team’s sunrise practice that kicked off the Lions’ training camp. With training camp now over and the season officially underway, just how much was learned in camp is about to be put on full display. To read about each and every team’s prospects in 2017, flip over to our annual football preview on page 7 which features in-depth looks at all 17 squads. ✖ (Photo by Bart Isley)

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ALTER EGOS Stephen Yoder Building Trades Steven Yoder was a little bit of an x-factor for Albemarle football last fall, a speedy, dangerous weapon on an offense filled with playmakers. While his touches were few in an offense that spread the wealth, he made the most of them, piling up 188 all-purpose yards on less than 20 touches. Yoder is part of the building trades program at CATEC, where he’s working on the class’ current house project, doing everything from wiring and plumbing to framing. The class has built doghouses before taking on the house and Yoder has learned how to use a variety of tools. “My uncle built his own from the ground up,” Yoder said. “It’s an important trade to learn if you get involved in the building stuff, it can really help you in the long run.” And like he experienced during Albemarle’s historic season last fall, working together is the key. “The more people you have the quicker it gets done, the more teamwork you have the better you do,” Yoder said.

College Track students taking an early step in their career

To learn more about the building trades program at CATEC and what students in the program learn, click this page.

www.catec.org

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First Quarter

The new guys

First year coaches excited to make their impact felt By Bart Isley

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Madison County’s Chandler Rhoads takes over for fomer coach Stuart Deane. (John Berry)

{ COACHING SUFFLE } First year coaches over the last three years in Central Virginia

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K AR A EL DER

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2017

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egime change is pretty standard fare in Central Virginia. In the last eight years, every single football program in the area except for Goochland and St. Anne’s-Belfield has seen at least one head coaching transition, many of them more than one change.

This year, three new coaches are taking over programs as Madison County, Covenant and Woodberry Forest start new eras, and they’re attacking the job with enthusiasm. “As much fun as I thought it was going to be, it’s even more fun,” said first-year Covenant coach Seth Wilson. Wilson knew a great deal about the Eagles coming into the year as he’d served as former coach Dave Hart’s defensive coordinator previously and was the interim coach during the search. Wilson takes charge of a team that has a wealth of seniors including signalcaller John Humme. That should make for an interesting start to his tenure as the squad gets pointed toward a potential return to the playoffs after qualifying in 2015 and missing out in 2016. Madison’s new coach, Chandler Rhoads was also a promoted coach from within the program, moving from offensive coordinator for the Mountaineers to the head job with the resignation of Stuart Dean after 12 seasons. “It’s been a pretty good transition with the way the kids have embraced the change,” Rhoads said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot teaching right now. Implementing new offenses and defenses takes time but they’re excited about what’s going on.” The familiarity Rhoads has with the school is helping ease his own transition and helping him quickly get his message across. “It helps being involved in football and basketball at Madison the last two years so I feel I like know these kids pretty well,” Rhoads said. “We’ve worked together in multiple sports and so it helps that they know me, my

personality and how I coach.” He takes over a program that made the playoffs last year, but has to replace a host of playmakers including Isiah Smith and Dre Twyman. “It’s kind of a blank slate. And a lot of the sophomores that are coming up didn’t play a lot on varsity so they aren’t trying to switch from systems that have been ingrained in them,” Rhoads said. “They’re picking it up quick.” While Wilson and Rhoads are in their first head coaching job, Woodberry Forest’s new hire Scott Braswell has 201 wins under his belt from his tenure as a head coach at several North Carolina schools ranging from Olympic in Charlotte to Hoggard in Wilmington. At Hoggard he was the athletic director and won a state championship in 2007 and he also won a state title as West Charlotte’s defensive coordinator. Braswell takes over after the departure of Clint Alexander, and he’ll lead a program that went 9-1 last year. The Tigers don’t participate in the state playoffs. Braswell is working under the time constraints associated with a boarding school (late August start) for the first time, but returners like Jameel Wilson, Khalid Thomas, Dequece Carter and Kyle Bilodeau should give him some stability and ease the transition. While coaching changes are nothing new across this area, all three of this year’s new football coaches start facing their own unique challenges. Pretty soon we’ll get to see exactly how these new eras are going to begin. ✖

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College Update

We’ve gone digital But you can have it in print too!

Local alums stepping up on defense in Division I women’s soccer By Bart Isley Apparently, when you want to build a Division I girls soccer defensive unit in Virginia, Charlottesville is a pretty good place to stop on the recruiting trail. William & Mary womens soccer’s backline has a distinctly Central Virginia feel these days with Monticello alum Hannah Keith and St. Anne’s-Belfield alum Haley Kent starting and James Madison’s defense also has a locallymolded star in Kent’s former teammate, STAB product Kyle Hegemier. Throw in George Mason goalkeeper Morgan Symmers, a Fluvanna County graduate, and there’s a wealth of former local standouts looking to shut down opposing offenses. Kent is a key outside back for the Tribe, having earned third team All-Colonial Athletic Association last season, a squad that had six shutouts and allowed just 1.35 goals per contest. She started 15 games as a junior and has started the first two this season for the Tribe, a pair of wins over Providence and Boston College. Kent notched an assist on the Tribe’s first goal of the year in the 2-0 victory over Providence, but her value is largely as a shutdown defender. She made the All-CAA

Tournament team as a sophomore and has started for the Tribe since she arrived as a freshman, helping spark a defense that gave up just 0.88 goals per contest and registered 12 shutouts. Keith, an absolute force for Monticello in high school, is getting her first shot at extended playing time for the Tribe this year, starting two games on defense alongside Kent on the backline to start 2017. Last year as a freshman, she appeared in 12 games and started two, coming on strong late as both those starts came in the CAA tournament. After a redshirt season, Hegemier has started for the Dukes in the back, starting 18 games as a freshman and another 16 as a sophomore. Symmers is in her first year as a starter for George Mason as a junior and through the first two games of 2017 has made nine saves, seven of them coming against Tennessee, who beat the Patriots just 1-0. She’s also been named to the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. If you’re looking for players that are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work of stuffing the opposition, Central Virginia is producing its fair share of stoppers. ✖

BELOW » Now a senior at William and Mary, STAB alumnus Haley Kent has become one of the Colonial Athletic Asociation’s top defenders. (William and Mary sports information)

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THERE’S THAT BANG. That first rush out of the tunnel, that first storming of the field. In week one, there are no blemishes on records and what happened last year doesn’t matter. It’s a slow build from offseason training into camps beginning in July, but it doesn’t take long for the excitement around football scene to pick up steam. With each passing practice, each scrimmage, that first football Friday gets closer. And after the theatrics and introductions, the powder keg explodes on that first kickoff. The season is officially off and it’s a mad dash to the finish. Last year we saw playoff victories in the public ranks from Albemarle, Charlottesville, Madison and Goochland’s run to a state final four. In the private sector, Woodberry Forest finished as the top-ranked team in the state and Blue Ridge won a state title. But that’s behind us. Who will turn the heads this season? Whether it’s a powerhouse staying consistent, a dark horse making a run or a program getting things turned around — football season is packed with great stories. And now they’re all set and primed to go off.

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ALBEMARLE

PATRIOTS

JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 9-3 8/25 9/1 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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Mountain View Colonial Forge Patrick Henry Louisa County Monticello Orange Charlottesville Fluvanna Powhatan Western Albemarle

WHO’S GONE: ZYKAL FOSTER (LB), JAMAL THOMPSON (RB), LORENZ BROWN (WR), TYQUAN ROSE (WR) WHO’S BACK: J’QUAN ANDERSON (QB, PICTURED BELOW), KRIS ANDERSON (DB), NA’IL ARNOLD (WR/DB), JA’KEL JOHNSON (OL) WHO’S NEW: ERIC TAYLOR (LB), SHEMAR POWELL (DB), DAQUANDRE TAYLOR (QB)

BUCKINGHAM COUNTY

KNIGHTS

JAMES RIVER DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 2-8 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

vs vs. @ vs. @ vs. @ vs. @ vs.

Appomattox Chatham Amelia Central Lunenburg Nottoway Goochland Cumberland Bluestone Randolph-Henry Prince Edward

WHO’S GONE: SEAN AYRES (OL/DL), RAMON MONROE (LB), JARVIS BOWLES (WR/DB) WHO’S BACK: BRYCEN NEWBY (OL/DL, PITCTURED BELOW), TYRESE AYRES (WR/ DB), DANIEL BRICKHILL (QB), BRICE LEAK (RB), BRANDON MOSLEY (OL/DL), WILLIAM DAVIS (WR/DB) WHO’S NEW: GARY TONEY (QB/RB/DB), NATHAN BRICKHILL (WR/DB)

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Patriots hoping to build on 2016 Last year appeared to be the season where Albemarle had to take a big step: Mission accomplished. The Patriots rolled to an 8-2 regular season record, hosted a playoff game and won one for the first time since 1997. Now, it’s time to keep that momentum going, and having J’Quan Anderson back in the fold is a really good place to start. Anderson had a huge 2016 season, earning first team All-JD honors while playing clutch, big-time football in the toughest spots that the Patriots faced. This year, he’s looking at a potentially expanded or altered role in contrast to spending all of last year at quarterback. He projects at the next level as more of a running back or slot or even a defensive back, and if DaQuandre Taylor emerges as a viable option at quarterback and all signs point that way in the preseason, Anderson will get a chance to give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares as an X-factor who can lineup anywhere. Taylor and Anderson will benefit from the return of several key offensive linemen led by Ja’kel Johnson along with Jorvin Maupin and Ricky Zeller. That unit should be the strength of the offense, though Brock Shorten is a capable onecut-and-go type running back and the receivers

are an athletic bunch including lacrosse standout Josh Beidler, speedy slot Stephen Yoder and athlete Kaysean Allen. Where Anderson lands when he’s not at quarterback would also play a huge role in the overall quality of those position groups. Defensively, the graduation of SP defensive POTY Zykal Foster will be felt, but the secondary is packed with ballhawking, lockdown defensive backs like Kris Anderson, Na’il Arnold and Marquan Jones. Shemar Powell, a junior will also be in that mix. If that group can clamp down at the back end, that’ll help a front seven that’s got some work to do after graduating Foster, Teshawn Massie, Jamonte Howze and David Tomlin. They should get a big lift with Irving Jones in the mix. He has a chance to be the kind of disruptive force Foster was on the edge. Eric Taylor is also slated to play a big role at linebacker. Taylor, a junior, should give the Patriots a piece to build the run defense around as the Patriots look to force opposing teams into trying to test that secondary. So the Patriots have a lot of new faces stepping into new roles. But the program, the players that are back? They now know how to win. They know what it takes. Now it just comes down to execution. ✖

Knights eager to get back to business The off the field adversity that Buckingham County faced last year put the team in a tough spot. With a lot of new terminology and a different attitude, there was a lot to learn. That piled on with a short roster and injuries resulted in a tough year after a seven year run of highly successful winning seasons. But Josh Wallace’s second year is going to be different. It already looks different in camp. Numbers are back up, there’s a lot of young talent coming up, and the Knights know what to expect from their new leader and just how much he expects from them. The good news for Buckingham is that they return the bulk of their roster from last year. Senior Daniel Brickhill is back at quarterback and he’ll compete with freshman Gary Toney. Tyrese Ayres is back at receiver after a strong 2016. The Knights have their best lineman back in Brycen Newby. The addition of Garrett Hayfield and Cole Edmonson should help the line play too. With Brice Leak at fullback, Walter Edwards at running back and William Davis at wide receiver, this team has experienced depth. Toney could also play a substantial role as a freshman at running back.

Like just about ever other Group 2A program, Buckingham has to play a great deal of its talent both ways. But again, the good news is that’s not exactly new, and then this team is a year older, wiser and stronger. Newby and Edmson lead the attack on the defensive line. At linebacker, Brandon Mosley, Brickhill and Edwards all return to familiar roles. The secondary has plenty of speed to work with between Ayres, Davis, Tony and Nathan Brickhill. Expect the biggest difference to be the attitude for the Knights going forward. The underclassmen group has already endeared itself to the seniors and there’s a chemistry that’s stronger than last year. That paired with a discipline-first attitude that flows from Wallace should make 2017 a much more enjoyable fall in Dillwyn. The Knights might not have been the big players they were used to being in the James River last year, but don’t be surprised if that was just a season of adjustment, a course correction. With a balanced scheduled that’s most challenging up front, the upside for the Knights this year is quite promising. If they get off to a good first half of the season, they could build a solid resume to return to the playoffs. ✖

CHARLOTTESVILLE FOOTBALL


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TACKLING HIM HURTS, and not just a little. Sabias Folley has the body of a lineman but runs like a skill position player, which is entirely unfair. In 2016, Folley broke loose for 1,371 yards, 23 touchdowns to lead the way for the Black Knights to the second round of the Region 4A North playoffs. Figuring out Charlottesville’s triple option rushing attack is a challenge in and of itself. Coming up with the solution on how to bring Folley down is one that comes with consequences. You might be able to, you might not. But even if you do, it’s going to hurt. The Black Knights have a hammer and with the compliments around Folley, it makes them one of the area’s most versatile offensive teams. ✖

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Knights seniors set to run hard Last year, a talented class of underclassmen for Charlottesville got to just go out there and do their job, with Sadarius Folley and the other seniors setting the tone and providing the bulk of the leadership. This year, it’s that young group’s squad, and the Black Knights have some authentic, seasoned leaders who are more than up to setting the course. It doesn’t hurt either that they’re awfully talented and that they learned how to bounce back from adversity, winning the final two regular season games last year to earn a home playoff game that the Black Knights won. That group of leaders includes seniors Sam Neale, Tre Durrett and Rakeem Davis, all three of which will play a major role in the skill spots for the Black Knights. Durrett and Davis are dangerous on the ground and through the air, operating largely from the slot spots in the Black Knights’ option offense. Davis is a big-time return threat too, capable of taking it to the house from anywhere on the field while Durrett is a defensive force, a versatile defender who can cover and support against the run. Neale took over at quarterback early last year and is a perfect fit for the option, rarely making the

wrong read while keeping defenses off balance. Sabias Folley is also a big key, a first team All-Jefferson District pick last year that is going to draw a lot of attention from the start. The Black Knights’ 240pound load of a fullback is exactly what a program that runs the option is looking for in the dive man, always falling forward for yards while also capable of breaking off big gains and getting to the second level. They’ll all operate behind a seasoned offensive line led by Larry Henderson and Trejon Bryant who should also provide power and leadership. Saveyon Anderson joins the mix up front this year too, likely slotting in at tackle. Defensively, Durrett will make an obvious impact while Mitchell Temple and Cam Brown return in the secondary to lock down opposing passing games. Ben Caserez and Anderson will be a big part of the linebacking corps too, while the defensive front will be something of a work in progress with some new faces in the mix. The Black Knights had to outscore teams late last year to make the playoffs, winning 56-35 and then 54-42 over Western and Louisa, so if the defense can take a step forward and the offense can operate with similar efficiency, the Black Knights could be particularly dangerous this season. ✖

Flucos turn over a new leaf Any team that loses 18 starters is going to face a bit of a learning curve, and Fluvanna is sitting square in that situation this season. But the Flucos went just 1-9 with that group, so something of a fresh start in Steve Szarmach’s third season might be a positive for Fluvanna as a fleet of young players step into new roles. Finding an offensive identity and rhythm will be key to that process, and that’ll start with Colby Martin at quarterback. The junior has had some success at the junior varsity level and he’ll step in behind center in the Flucos’ multi-package system. He’ll instantly have a solid option in the passing game as Joey Van Dyke, a capable blocker and pass catcher, returns at tight end. Martin, and Ethan Graves who could see time at quarterback too after playing last year in the wake of Mark Grooms’ injury, will benefit from James Easter’s return to the lineup after suffering an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup last year. There are a lot of new faces up front too like Jamal Jones, Justin Lamb, Walter Stribling and Stejay McLaughlin, while they’ll be clearing the way for options at running back like Drew Hamshar, Prophet

Harris and Nathan Smith. Through the air, Trevor O’Dell, Austin Craig and Van Dyke should be some of the top targets. If the inexperienced offensive line can settle into a groove and work together, it’ll give the offense a big boost as they search for efficiency. On defense, Van Dyke is a key again, a defensive end who can put pressure on the quarterback and clamp down against the option if teams choose to attack the edge. He’ll get support from Peyton Carbee, Hamshar and O’Dell at linebacker, and if they can make the right reads and fly into the hole it’ll help Fluvanna improve against the run, a troublesome spot for Fluvanna last season. In the secondary, Craig and Harris as well as Djwan Anderson and Jacob Taylor give the Flucos some speed on the back end. A defense that can gel and give that young offense as many chances as possible to find a rhythm would be a huge help for the Flucos, especially with a trio of winnable games to open up the season. If Fluvanna can get off to a strong start, both in games and in the season, that momentum could carry into the Jefferson District slate and make the Flucos a tough out. ✖

CHARLOTTESVILLE

BLACK KNIGHTS JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 7-5 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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E.C. Glass James Monroe Harrisonburg Orange County Powhatan Fluvanna County Albemarle Western Albemarle Louisa County Monticello

WHO’S GONE: SADAIRUS FOLLEY (LB), LORENZO LOUDERBACK (RB/LB), J.D. BUCHHOLZ (OL) WHO’S BACK: TRE DURRETT (RB/DB, PICTURED BELOW), SAM NEALE (QB), SABIAS FOLLEY (RB), RAKEEM DAVIS (RB/DB), LARRY HENDERSON (OL), TREJON BRYANT (OL) WHO’S NEW: SAVEYON ANDERSON (OL/DL)

FLUVANNA COUNTY

FLYIN’ FLUCOS JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 1-9 8/25 9/1 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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Bluestone Spotsylvania Madison County Monticello Orange County Charlottesville Powhatan Albemarle Western Albemarle Louisa County

WHO’S GONE: MARK GROOMS (QB), ZACH HARTZOG (OL/DL), JAKE MORRIS (OL/DL) WHO’S BACK: JOEY VAN DYKE, (TE/DE, PICTURED BELOW), JAMES EASTER (OL/DL), DREW HAMSHAR (RB/LB) WHO’S NEW: COLBY MARTIN (QB/LB), AUSTIN CRAIG (WR/DB), PROPHET HARRIS (RB/DB)

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GOOCHLAND

BULLDOGS JAMES RIVER DISTRICT, 2015 RECORD: 13-1 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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Thomas Jefferson Fork Union Central Lunenberg Nottoway Buckingham County Cumberland Bluestone Randolph Henry Prince Edward Amelia

WHO’S GONE: MARCUS BURTON (RB), TANNER BRADSHAW (QB), CLAY BROOKS (OL/ DL), CORDELL MATTOX (RB/DB) WHO’S BACK: JOHN KING (RB/LB, PICTURED BELOW), RICKY MAYFIELD (TE/DL), ETHAN KOPCYZYNSKI (OL), COLE NUCKOLS (RB/DB), SAM BROOKS (OL/DL) WHO’S NEW: KAMERON HOLMAN (DB)

LOUISA COUNTY

LIONS

JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 9-3 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

vs, @ @ vs. @ vs. vs. @ vs. @

Courtland Chancellor King George Albemarle Western Albemarle Powhatan Monticello Orange County Charlottesville Fluvanna County

WHO’S GONE: QUINTON RAGLAND (DL), MALIK MINOR (DB), WILL WATKINS (LB) WHO’S BACK: MALIK BELL (QB, PICTURED BELOW), JOB WHALEN (RB), TONY THURSTON (OL/DL), BRANDON SMITH (WR/LB), WHO’S NEW: MARK CARTER (WR/DB), MATT WEST (RB/WR)

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Bulldogs load up for another run Goochland made a serious run last year, reeling off 13 straight wins before getting upended in the state final four by eventual champion Appomattox. This year might be better. Six viable options return to run the ball in the Wing-T, led by Jasper Carter, who rushed for 647 yards on just 89 touches last year. Athletic, promising sophomore Devin McCray steps in behind center. The team’s leading wideout Dallas Holmes and veteran lineman Ethan Kopczynski are back. And that’s the side of the ball that might be the Bulldogs’ weaker of two potent units. This Goochland defense is poised to be the Bulldogs’ strength with almost the entire starting group back from a squad that surrendered less than 16 points in each of their 13 wins. That starts with Ricky Mayfield at defensive end who can shut down one side of the field and had 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks last year and Keiston Carter, another senior at the other end spot. They’re joined up front by Jamal Carter and Keyante Young, who check in at 275 and 290 pounds each. The attention they draw will help free up three-year starter John King and Sam Brooks at linebacker to make plays, two of the Bulldogs’ top three tacklers last season.

The secondary is perhaps the crown jewel of the unit, with speed all over the field starting with McCray and Cole Nuckols, a pair of ballhawks. Goochland has playmakers all over the defense -- the Bulldogs picked off 19 passes last season and 12 of those interceptions came from players that return this year. Add in Perry Snead-Johnson and Kameron Holman, a potential breakout star as a freshman starter and there aren’t too many spots to throw against the Bulldogs. The offense and defense will benefit from kicker/punter Zach Gordon, a senior who earned second team all-region honors last year. Look for the Bulldogs to try and take advantage of their depth and lean on opposing defenses with a unique blend of uptempo action while maintaining that power ground game. The offense’s array of running backs (Jasper Carter, Nuckols and King are just the tip of the iceberg) will stay fresh. Depth up front with a fleet of junior linemen (Jacob Massey, Tyler May and Justin Hawk) and senior center Clayton Duncan joining Kopczynski up front. If Goochland stays healthy, the only question becomes just how far they can go — which is a nice place to be, and business as usual for the Bulldogs. ✖

Lions hammering downfield again The sheer volume of established, reliable and explosive weapons that are roaming the backfield for Louisa County’s football team is striking. There’s a sleeker version of last year’s power-running quarterback Malik Bell. There’s the elusive Job Whalen, fresh off another monster season. That alone would be enough for the Lions to get excited about, since that’s just shy of 3,000 rushing yards. But they’ve also got versatile power running threat Raquan Jones, a 235-pound powerhouse. Then there’s defense-first Brandon Smith, the four-star recruit who could also see some touches. Throw in Matt West, an extremely fast senior who made a mark on the track this spring in the 100 meters in the slot and trying to matchup and defend Louisa is officially an absolute nightmare. And that’s before considering that Dustin Matney and Tony Thurston are back up front, with Thurston one of the few players to earn All-Jefferson District nods on both sides of the ball. Whenever the Lions have had those kind of experienced players at the skill spots and someone to clear the way, they’ve been extremely tough to beat. Defensively, Smith is a gamechanger. The junior linebacker can attack on the edge or cover anyone on

the second level by virtue of his 6-foot-5, 215 pound frame and 4.72 40-yard dash. As a sophomore, he had 49 solo tackles, four sacks and nine tackles for a loss. But it’s Thurston who is the true terror against the run, registering 23 tackles for a loss last year while coming up with five sacks and forcing three fumbles. He’ll get more attention from offensive lines now that star defensive tackle Quinton Ragland has graduated, but he’s joined by two other seniors up front, Matney and Devin Jackson-McGhee. Matney is pound-for-pound the program’s strongest players and plays much bigger than his frame at noseguard. Jackson-McGhee should stabilize the other end spot opposite Thurston. In the secondary, there’s the always versatile Caleb Turner, who played both inside and outside linebacker and free and strong safety last year. West should also play a big role where his speed should be a major asset on the edge. The Lions stalled a bit down the stretch in 2016 going 9-3, losing in the season finale before falling to Monacan at home in the first round of the playoffs due in part to a rough spate of injuries. Can all that firepower and all that experience power the Lions to a stronger finish and perhaps a playoff run in 2017? ✖


THERE ARE TWO different problems when Tony Thurston lines up on the field. If he’s on the defensive side of the ball, it’s how do you contain the disruption that he creates off the line. If he’s on the offensive front, it’s how do you attack him to keep either quarterback Malik Bell or running backs Job Whalen and Raquan Jones from finding pay dirt? That’s the problem an engine with a 6-foot-5 and 270pound frame creates. And Thurston, one of the area’s best two-way players, creates one of two those problems every snap. A first team AllScrimmage Play selection last year, Thurston is a big reason the Lions are coming into 2017 with high expectations. Louisa rallies around being a physical team on both sides of the ball and Thurston embraces that mentality as well as anyone. ✖

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M A D I S O N CO U N T Y

MOUNTAINEERS BULL RUN DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 6-6

8/25 9/1 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

@ vs. @ vs. vs. vs. @ vs. vs. @

Luray East Rockingham Fluvanna County William Monroe Rappahannock Nelson County Central Woodstock Clarke County Strasburg George Mason

WHO’S GONE: CHRIS SMITH (QB), ISIAH SMITH (RB/DB), DRE TWYMAN (WR/DB), GABE FAMER (OL/DL) WHO’S BACK: ELIJAH LEWIS (QB, PICTURED BELOW), JAMAR TURNER (RB), JAKE PRICE (OL/DL), MIKE JONES (OL/DL) WHO’S NEW: DALTON DODSON (RB/LB), JAMES WEAKLEY (WR/DB)

MONTICELLO

MUSTANGS

JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 3-7 8/25 9/8 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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William Monroe Turner Ashby Spotswood Fluvanna County Albemarle Western Albemarle Louisa County Powhatan Orange County Charlottesville

WHO’S GONE: WILL PUSTROKA (LB), TREVOR HAISLIP (OL), REID HUFFMAN (WR/DB) WHO’S BACK: KEVIN JARRELL (QB, PICTURED BELOW), JERRICK AYERS (RB/DB), AUSTIN HAVERSTROM (WR/DB), GARRETT PORTERFIELD (LB) DANNY TOLBERT (OL/DL), WHO’S NEW: MATHEW ALLICE (TE/DB), BARON JONES (DB), TRENT LLOYD (OL)

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Mountaineers get a whole new look When you lose so much from a graduating class, it can be tough for a young team to find itself. But if ever there was a time for transition, Madison County found it. The Mountaineers tabbed Chandler Rhoads to be just their third coach since the 1960’s. He has big shoes to fill, replacing Stuart Dean who took over for his father, Eddie. But with a lot of turnover on the roster, this was a good year to have Rhoads take over after being on the staff two years as an assistant. Rhoads, a Clarke County alumnus, plans on making the Mountaineers a powerful running team, a philosophy that he learned quite well in Berryville. And as Madison transitions to this style, it places an even heavier emphasis on offensive line play. With Jake Price and Mike Jones back in the mix up front, the Mountaineers have a pair of experienced veterans to build around. Gabe Leathers and Mathew Peterson are two additions that should add depth on the line. With Chris Smith, Isiah Smith and Dre Twyman all gone, this will be a different looking offense to say the least. Look for Elijah Lewis to take over at quarterback after playing last year at receiver. A gifted athlete, Lewis has the ability to be a real

problem on the ground as he can cover a lot of ground in just a few strides. Matt Lewis returns at wide out and will be paired with James Weakley. In the backfield the Mountaineers will have Jamar Turner back from injury at running back. He’ll split reps with sophomore Nick Messenio and junior Dalton Dodson. Madison will look to be better against the run than its was in 2016 and that will fall on Jones and Price setting the tone on the defensive line. With Messenio, Dodson and Turner playing at linebacker, it’ll be their job to fill the gaps and make plays. The secondary should be the Mountaineers strength with Elijah Lewis, Matt Lewis and Weakley all roaming the field. It’s going to take time for Madison to get used to the new philosphies, both in terms of learning them and executing them, but the fact that there are so many sophomores on this roster should help as many players are coming in with fresh ears. Rhoads has been around this group, this school for a couple of years so he’s not like a lot of first year coaches. The schedule is toughest up front for the Mountainers, but if they can weather it, they should be able to make the most of what is a substantial overhaul. ✖

Mustangs geared to bounce back To say that 3-7 doesn’t have the kind of ring that Monticello is used is putting it mildly. Yet what gets a little forgotten about 2016 for the Mustangs was just how many games they were in but couldn’t finish. Monticello didn’t lose much from its roster, so its coming into the season with a feeling of finishing the business it didn’t last year. The thing is, they more than have the talent and experience to do so. Having Kevin Jarrell back at quarterback for the third straight season is huge. Jarrell showed off his prowess as a passer last season with 1573 yards passing. With 583 yards rushing and a serious amount of experience to draw from, Jarrell is able to take over games if he has the time to do so. Having both Austin Haversrom at receiver and Jerrick Ayers at running back gives the Mustangs plenty of ammunition to work with. Dylan Booth and newcomer Trenton Johnson will add depth to the receiving corps as it tries to replace Reid Huffman. Derrick Porterfield will spell Ayers at running back. Look for the Mustangs to be better upfront, which will amplify Jarrell’s talents. Elliot Curry and

Danny Talbert both return and the addition of Trent Lloyd, who missed last year because of injury, makes this group substantially better. If the line gives Jarrell time or creates the holes for Ayers, this offense can be one of the better ones in the Jefferson District. Defensively, Monticello hopes to have improved dramatically. Some new faces could do the trick. Mathew Allen and Tayshawn Minor join a defensive line that already features Curry. In the middle, having a 1-2 punch at linebacker between Tolbert and Porterfield should help the Mustangs greatly. Finally, Baron Jones joins an already solid secondary with Ayers and Johnson. After going through a roster retooling last year, the Mustangs should be in much better position to succeed. The schedule presents a challenging October, but Monticello could head into that month with some early momentum. Few teams have a passer like Jarrell and if the Mustangs are able to exploit that, they could be very dangerous. Turning things around from a three-win season should not be a problem. It’s just a matter of going out there and pulling it off. ✖


Governors look to get on track Matt Hicks’ Nelson County rebuilding project didn’t see any progress in the wins department last year, but that wasn’t expected. The 2016 edition of the Governors laid a foundation for success with a cultural change in approach, committing to finding success in the incremental, in the everyday adjustments that Nelson could control while giving the program a positive, upbeat approach. That’s led to better numbers on this years squad, a committed core group that has made the weight room a priority and a fleet of big men in the trenches that have the chance to make an impact this year as Nelson moves into an independent status in football, stepping out of the challenging Dogwood District to build its own schedule. It’s an attempt to give the Governors more shots at victories against more similar opponents as Hicks continues to get the program on track. But new opponents aren’t going to change into wins unless Nelson can discover its own identity and rhythm, and that’ll start with those linemen. Senior Charles Tibbs is one of the foundational building blocks on both sides of the ball up front while David Sheridan will step in at guard and outside linebacker on the other side of the ball. Robert Watson and Isaiah Wood will play tackle while sophomore Alcindor Barnett could

be a contributor in some capacity up front, checking in at 6-foot-4 and more than 300 pounds. The Governors’ line play will be key as they try and clear the way for John Shifflett, a bruising back who should be able to pound his way to yardage inside the tackles. If Shifflett can give Nelson three or four yards at a pop and stay healthy, it’ll open things up for new quarterback Brice Wilson, a sophomore who plays bigger than his frame and is showing a solid grasp of the offense in the early going. The pistol package that the Governors are running has gotten a lift from extensive 7v7 work that’s helped the development of new addition Sergio Rodriguez, a junior who hasn’t played before but should be a factor in the passing game. Defensively, Tibbs will look to attack up front while Shifflett, Wilson, Rodriguez look to hold down the back end. Nelson has been focused on tackling better and taking better angles to prevent big plays, and with a year of Hicks and his staff’s tutelage under their belt should see some improvement on that side of the ball. Nelson’s uphill climb is obvious, but they’re measuring themselves differently as they continue to lay the foundation for success. ✖

Hornets to spread their wings a bit Two years, two playoff berths. The rebuilding stages of Orange County are in the rearview. Jesse Lohr’s third season as coach begins with excitement because this installment of the Hornets has the potential to be explosive. But this is going to be a fairly different looking team, at least in terms of style. The good news for Orange? They adjusting what they do what they have, and only ever so slightly. Replacing the power running game that Tre’von Smith and DeAngelo Hunt put together the last two years isn’t in the cards. Instead, with an agile Kenyon Carter back in the mix at quarterback and an array of speed at receiver and running back, the Hornets will be poised to spread things out, which is actually more in Lohr’s wheelhouse, something Orange saw from him a good bit when he was offensive coordinator. A healthy Darius Minor has the potential to change everything. With sub 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, Minor is healthy this year and looking to break out. He along with Jaylen Alexander, Tyrone Warren and Chris Washington give the Hornets one of the deepest skill groups in the area.

Shavonn Ellis’ elusiveness at running back will allow the Hornets to be creative, and he and Carter should be able to pile up the rushing yards if the holes are there. The offensive line returns Brian Singh, and sophomores Kolby McGhee and Justin Staples will look to replace the loss of Carter Rickett. Defensively, the challenges for Orange are quite similar to the offensive. The Hornets have to fill the void at linebacker in particular with Ryan Horton, Hunt and Smith all gone. They will lean on Kyrie Carter and sophomore Noah Carey to try and fill things in the middle. Up front, Singh and Wilhelm Lutterodt anchor the defensive line. Orange’s strength is obviously its secondary with so many experienced playmakers between Minor, Warren, Washington and Alexander. The outlook for Orange is bright. With strong offensive line play and a defense that finds a way to jam up the middle, this team has the talent to do some real damage and continue climbing upward. The Hornets have the ability to put up some real crooked numbers on the scoreboard, which would be vintage Orange. Not a bad look at all. ✖

NELSON COUNTY

GOVERNORS

DOGWOOD DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 0-10 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/27 11/3

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Bath County Page County Craig County George Mason Parry McCluer Covington Madison County Massanutten Strasburg Rappahannock

WHO’S GONE: BRYCE ADKINS (OL/DL), DRAI TAYLOR (RB/LB), CAMERON VAUGHN (WR) WHO’S BACK: JOHN SHIFFLETT (RB/DB, PICTURED BELOW), CHARLES TIBBS (OL/DL), DAVID SHERIDAN (OL/LB), WHO’S NEW: BRICE WILSON (QB/DB), SERGIO RODRIGUEZ (CB/WR)

ORANGE COUNTY

HORNETS

JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 6-5 9/1 9/8 9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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Culpeper County Eastern View Spotsylvania Charlottesville Fluvanna County Albemarle Western Albemarle Louisa County Monticello Powhatan

WHO’S GONE: DEANGELO HUNT (RB/LB), TRE’VON SMITH (RB/LB), RYAN HORNTON (LB), CAMERON RICKKET (OL) WHO’S BACK: KENYON CARTER (QB, PICTURED BELOW), DARIUS MINOR (WR/DB), CHRIS WASHINGTON (WR/DB), BRIAN SINGH, (OL/DL), TYRONE WARREN (WR/DB) WHO’S NEW: JAYLEN ALEXANDER (RB/DB), NOAH CAREY (LB)

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THROWN INTO THE FIRE as a sophomore in 2015, Robert Sims has developed into one the top defensive backs in the Jefferson District and put together a strong campaign last year to be named second team All-Scrimmage Play. Also a standout receiver, Sims provides a lot of production and a knack for being at the right place at the right time on both sides of the ball. As a senior he’s got experience that make him a dangerous defensive back for quarterbacks to try and pick on. Plus, his 31.5 tackles last year show that he’s no stranger to contact either. Western will need him to play at a high level again as they look to find their form from 2014 and 2015 in 2017. ✖

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Warriors turn focus on interior By the end of the year in 2016, scoring on offense wasn’t much of a problem for Western Albemarle, but stopping the opposition remained an issue, particularly giving up big runs on the ground. The Warriors are locked in on trying to correct that issue this season and with a lot of their offensive playmakers back in the fold, that could potentially spark a return to the string of double digit win seasons from 2012 to 2015. On defense, the Warriors return three of their top six tacklers a year older and stronger, Luke Tenuta on the defensive line and Jack Weyher and first team All-JD defensive back Robert Sims in the secondary. There’s also defensive backs Darren Klein and Derek Domecq, who should see time on that side of the ball while playing quarterback. Linebacker in Aidan Saunders who showed a lot of promise last season. Saunders will team up with Tai Atuaia in the middle, while Jack Lesemann, who had a breakout season in lacrosse, combines with Zaikeese Christmas on the outside. Linebacker play will be a critical part of Western shoring up its run defense. That unit needs to diagnose and stuff gaps early to prevent opposing running backs from getting to the second level. Tenuta, a Division I prospect, will lineup next to

Trevynn Awkard, Joey Bowen and Sayer Brown up front all of whom have the potential to be disruptive, with Awkward and Bowen contributing. Offensively, Domecq returns at quarterback after a breakoutout 2016 campaign, succesfully converting from receiver to under center. And he has a pack of fleet-footed receivers to work with, including Weyher, Sims, Lesemann and Wyatt Hull. Tenuta returns up front while Bowen takes over at center, Harrison Marshall plays left tackle and Akward and Ben Morinelli should contribute at guard. Klein returns at running back and Atuaia joins him to split carries at that spot alongside Domecq, a powerful, elusive runner. Western posted its first losing season since 2010 in 2016, but still managed to scrap its way into the playoffs, surrendering 87 points in the opening round to Staunton River, a single-wing oriented program that’s becoming something of a nemesis for the Warriors after ending the Warriors’ season for two straight years. If the Warriors can shore up their work against big run plays, it’ll go a long way toward helping Western take a big step forward in 2017 back to the spotlight like the 2014, and 2015 squads. Western has the athletes, it just needs the execution. ✖

Dragons lean on youth movement The Class of 2017 is definitely leaving a void at William Monroe, and in places that hurt. Losing seven starters on both offense and defense creates a challenge. But a young group of talent has been waiting its turn for this opportunity. This Dragons team enters the season looking to establish an identity of its own. Monroe is coming off a playoff season and now expects the ball to keep rolling along. Monroe was able to grind people down last year thanks to their quarterback play and the offensive line in front. Replacing Malique Shackelford at quarterback is Max Kinsey. Kinsey brings a different style to the position, but like Shackelford, he has the speed to hurt you on the ground. A scrambler that likes to get out of the pocket and is equipped with a strong arm, Kinsey will look to stretch defenses downfield. Having Jaekwon Wayne and James Collins at receiver should allow him to do just that. That duo saw substantial snaps last year and showed well. That said, with Zach Miller back at running back, the Dragons will stay true to their ground roots. Look for Cameron Hayes and Kaden Pritchett to get some snaps at running back as well.

Obviously the loss of Tyler Bunyea and Kyle Kruszewski stings on the offensive line, but look for Tyler Huckstep to pick up the slack. It’ll be up to him to help newcomers like John Richardson and Garrett Shifflett develop and drive the rushing attack. If this young unit steps up, Monroe’s offense should be quite potent. The defensive line brings back both Tremaine Hawkins and Huckstep. The Dragons are young at linebacker with AJ Via and Jamie Edwards anchor that unit. Monroe should be able to protect down field with Wayne, Collins, Pritchett and Sal Coyle making up a young but athletic secondary. Making matters tougher for the Dragons is the schedule up front with Monticello and Spotswood out of the gate. Monroe doesn’t get a bye week until week six and so trying to weather the storm early on is a focal point for the coaching staff. This Dragons team has a lot to learn but a lot to give. Monroe is really athletic on the edge and should the young talent rise to the occasion, the progress this program has made under coach Jon Rocha should continue. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. ✖

WESTERN ALBEMARLE

WARRIORS

JEFFERSON DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 4-7 8/26 9/2 9/9 9/23 9/30 10/7 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/4

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Broadway Brookville Spotswood Monticello Powhatan Orange County Louisa County Fluvanna County Charlottesville Albemarle

WHO’S GONE: JAMES BUETOW, (LB), JARRETT SMITH (LB/OL), NOAH CRUTCHFIELD (OL/DL), WHO’S BACK: DEREK DOMECQ (QB/DB, PICTURED BELOW), ROBERT SIMS (WR/ DB), JACK WEYHER (WR/DB), DARREN KLEIN (RB/DB) WHO’S NEW: ZAIKEESE CHRISTMAS (LB)

MONROE W WILLIAM M GREENE DRAGONS BULL RUN DISTRICT, 2016 RECORD: 6-5 8/25 9/1 9/8 9/15 9/22 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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Monticello Spotswood Fort Defiance Broadway Madison County Manassas Park Brentsville Skyline Warren County Culpeper

WHO’S GONE: MALIQUE SHACKELFORD (QB/DB), GREG SIZEMORE (DL), KYLE KRUSZEWSKI (OL/DL) WHO’S BACK: JAEKWON WAYNE (WR/ DB, PICTURED BELOW), TYLER HUCKSTEP (OL/DL), ZACH MILLER (RB), TREMAINE HAWKINS (DL) WHO’S NEW: MAX KINSEY (QB), SAL COYLE (DB), JOHN RICHARDSON (OL), A.J. VIA (LB)

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IN HIS FIRST YEAR at Blue Ridge, Xavier Kane walked away with VISAA Division 2 championship rings in both football and basketball. What’s fitting is that he saw time at just about every skill position during the Barons title run last fall. Whether playing quarterback, receiver or defensive back, Kane brings a level of athleticism that makes him a big play threat. As he transitions to a full time job at qurterback on offense and double duties as a defensive back for the Barons this season, they’ll be able to count on his 4.5 second 40-yard dash speed and 35-inch vertical leap to make Saturdays in St. George a show well worth attending. ✖

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BLUE RIDGE

Barons begin title defense

BARONS

Let’s be honest. Four years between state titles isn’t bad at all, and Blue Ridge won championships in 2012 and 2016. But the Barons aren’t interested in another four-year wait. Blue Ridge is locked in on a repeat. With good reason too. While a tremendous class of seniors moved on including Justin Armwood, Jahlil Puryear and Nazir Hopson, there’s a lot of firepower back in the fold. That’ll start with the installment of Xavier Kane at quarterback. The athletic junior has played a number of different spots for Blue Ridge already, but with Armwood’s graduation, his natural spot at quarterback is his to hold. Kane has a big arm and is also a savvy runner and the Barons will put a lot of the load on his capable shoulders. He’ll also have weapons to work with. Cameron Carr is a two-way fixture on the boundary, playing a big role as a wideout and defensive back. Icesys Lewis is another potential target on the edge as is sophomore Michael Asher, a new arrival. Senior Juan Mareco is an underrated presence at tight end, a strong blocker who can also get it done in the passing game. Texan George McGuire is also in the mix now at that spot and gives the Barons another

9/1 9/8 9/16 9/23 9/28 10/14 10/21 10/28 11/4

dynamic option at tight end. Newcomer Sam Fort appears to be the likely candidate to take over in the backfield and Aden Britten could also be in that mix. Fort checks in with a 4.4 40-yard dash and has the potential to be a gamebreaker. Up front, Myles Ham, Junior Camara and Tyler Wills all return in the trenches. If they can keep opposing defenses off Kane and Fort, the Barons’ offense should get humming quickly. Defensively, the Barons will, as usual, have a lot of two-way players with Carr, Kane, Fort, Lewis and K.T. Tlelima in the mix to patrol the secondary. In the front seven, replacing Puryear and Oscar Palin won’t be easy, but the Barons have a knack for plugging holes up front and there are a wealth of options at linebacker, including Kris Dean, Mareco, Asher on the edge, Britten and McGuire. The secondary’s athleticism also opens up the possibility of attacking from the edge in that group as players like Carr and Kane in particular can handle themselves in single coverage, freeing up teammates to attack. With that mix of newcomers and returners, Blue Ridge has its sights set on a repeat and nobody is interested in waiting another four years to make a run. ✖

Eagles leaning on two-way talents As Covenant jumps into a new era with former assistant Seth Wilson taking over as head coach, the Eagles will do so with a senior-laden roster that’s also sprinkled with some intriguing young playmakers. Plus, they’ve got a Huemme at quarterback, and frankly, that’s worked out pretty well for Covenant in the past, including 2015 when former signal-caller Paul Huemme helped the Eagles end a long playoff drought. This season it’s John Huemme back after an injury kept him out of the lineup at the start of last year, and he’s making all the right reads in the Eagles’ option attack. Huemme’s return has a seismic impact on the offensive lineup, allowing sophomore Nick Sanker, who took over at quarterback last year, to move out on the edge where he and brother Jonas Sanker, a freshman, give the Eagles two dynamic threats on both the ground and through the air. Huemme will also have Donavan Jackson joining him in the backfield at the running back slot. Jackson was solid last year, rushing for 747 yards when he started the year as the top back with Rick Weaver sidelined with a knee injury. Weaver is back on the shelf this season with an injury, leaving the dive duties in the option

largely to Jackson. Wes Arrington, Connor Poindexter and Chaz Harvey will also factor into the mix as skill position players, with Harvey emerging as one of the surprises for the Eagles early in camp. Clearing the way for that group of athletes is Cole Harvey, a vastly improved Jake Bryan who had a huge offseason, Riley Willets, Jude Steljes, Coleman Reigel and Lucas McGraw. If that unit stays healthy, it’ll go a long way toward giving Covenant some success on the ground and through the air. Defensively, the Eagles small roster will force a lot of players, as usual to lineup both ways. Harvey gives Covenant an instant building block on the front where he has the potential to be an extremely disruptive presence. Huemme, the Sankers and Harvey will be in the mix in the secondary where Covenant will settle into a nickel-based scheme that gives them a lot of flexibility at the second level. David Sziatkowski and Chris Newton will look to lock things down at middle linebacker. If Covenant can settle in defensively and stay healthy down the stretch, the Eagles have some key pieces and a steady hand behind center that could guide them to a solid season. ✖

OLD DOMINION, 2016 RECORD: 9-2 vs. @ @ vs. @ vs. @ vs. vs.

Atlantic Shores Hargrave Flint Hill Covenant North Cross Randolph Macon Virginia Episcopal Fishburne Benedictine

WHO’S GONE: JUSTIN ARMWOOD (QB/LB), JAHLIL PURYEAR (OL/DL), JAMISON HARRISON (RB/LB) WHO’S BACK: JUAN MARECO (TE/LB), XAVIER KANE (QB/DB), CAMERON CARR (WR/DB) WHO’S NEW: SAM FORT (RB/DB), GEORGE MCGUIRE (TE/LB), MICHAEL ASHER (WR/LB)

COVENANT

EAGLES

OLD DOMINION, 2015 RECORD: 3-7 8/26 9/1 9/8 9/23 9/29 10/6 10/20 10/28 11/3

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Greenbrier Christian Christchurch Virginia Episcopal Blue Ridge Hargrave Fishburne St. Anne’s-Belfield North Cross Randolph-Macon

WHO’S GONE: JOSEPH PAYNE (OL/DL), BEN ARRINGTON (OL/DL), RICK WEAVER (RB/ LB) WHO’S BACK: JOHN HUME (QB/DB, PICTURED BELOW), COLE HARVEY (OL/DL), DONOVAN JACKSON (RB/LB), NIC SANKER (WR/DB) WHO’S NEW: JUDE STELJES

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FORK UNION

BLUE DEVILS PREP LEAGUE 2016 RECORD: 2-8 9/1 9/9 9/15 9/23 9/29 10/6 10/13 10/20 10/28 11/4

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Goochland Bullis Benedictine St. Stephen’s-St. Agnes Appomattox St. Christopher’s Trinity Episcopal Collegiate Bishop O’Connell Woodberry Forest

WHO’S GONE: BRENNAN GARRISON (OL/DL), ZACK PACE (OL/DL), AARON PACE (OL/DL) WHO’S BACK: IOSEFA PUA’AULI (RB/LB, PICTURED BELOW), LOGAN JUSTICE (WR/ DB), LUKE WILSON (QB/DB), HAYDEN MILES (QB/TE), WILL STUPALSKY (WR/DB) WHO’S NEW: JUSTIN MORGAN (OL/DL)

ST. ANNE ’S -BELFIELD

SAINTS

OLD DOMINION, 2016 RECORD: 3-6 9/1 9/9 9/5 9/29 10/13 10/20 10/27 11/3

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Hargrave Randolph-Macon Greenbrier Christian Nansemond-Suffolk Hampton Roads Covenant Hampton Roads Norfolk

WHO’S GONE: ISAIAH KILBY-SHARP (TE/LB), JUWAN WOODSON (RB/LB) WHO’S BACK: MYLES WARD (WR/DB, PICTURED BELOW),THOMAS HARRY (QB/LB), CHASE EMMERT (QB/DB), WILL EDELSON (OL/DL), CHRISTIAN SMITH (OL/DL) WHO’S NEW: LUKE ANTESBERGER (OL/DL)

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Blue Devils poised for a bump up When Mike Hooper took over last year, he only had a handful of returning players to work with. The Blue Devils went through some substantial growing pains last year, but there were also some glimpses that the future is looking bright. With so many players back into the mix, Fork Union fully expects to be able to compete for a Prep League title and get back into the VISAA Division I playoff hunt. Making matters easier this year for the Blue Devils is having Luke Wilson and Hayden Miles at quarterback. Miles can also play at tight end and Wilson can slide over to receiver, but just having a full year of experience for those two should pay dividends this year. With Logan Justice back at receiver and also playing some tight end, the Blue Devils have a reliable target that can move, and with the way that running back Iosefa Pua’aulli has run the ball the previous two seasons, look for the junior to see some stacked boxes that allow the Fork Union passing game to get some wide open looks. Pua’aulli has built quite the resume as a runner in just two years and returns for his junior season as one of the area’s most talented backs. Will Stupalsky is a viable option in the slot too and also kicks.

Just how much Pua’aulli can do on the ground is going to depend on how quickly Fork Union can revamp its offensive line. With Brennan Garrison, Zack Pace and Aaron Pace all graduating, the onus falls on Franklin Wallace and William Henry. The addition of Justin Morgan should give this unit some quality in the starting lineup as he checks in at 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds and is a technicallysound road-grader who can open up holes. Those same lineman will anchor the defensive line, giving that unit even depth from end to tackle. The Blue Devils are hoping to find the right fits at linebacker, a unit that returns Pua’auli as a roving force. They’ve also got Justice and Stupalsky in the secondary where the 5-foot-9 defender plays much bigger than his frame. The Blue Devils are branching out a bit schedule wise as they’ve added another public school, Appomattox, to the mix. That gives them two public schools that played in the VHSL Group 2A final four. That paired with their usual Prep League opponents gives Fork Union quite the challenge. That should make things interesting because this is a team that’s done making excuses and ready to step back into the spotlight. ✖

Saints ready to reverse course When St. Anne’s-Belfield football takes the field this fall, there’s a pretty simple way to get things going, to give the offense a jolt of energy. Find a way to get the ball to Myles Ward. On a team with an as-per-usual small roster, Ward is a tall, rangy, multi-dimensional threat, and those are exactly the kind of players that STAB coach John Blake has found ways to use in the past in a variety of ways, stretching back to Brian Linthicum on through Quincy September and Kareem Johnson. This year, they’ll look to work the ball to Ward in part during eight-man games as the Saints have shifted, at least this year, to three games in the eight-man format. Ward made a number of big-time plays as a sophomore, earning second team all-ODFC honors in the process. While Ward has clearly emerged as the top offensive option, there are other reasons to like that side of the ball for the Saints too. They’ve got a pair of capable quarterbacks in Thomas Harry and Chase Emmert, though Harry is on the shelf until late September with an injury from late in lacrosse season, which puts Emmert in the driver’s seat. Both are athletic, dual threat types who will force defenses to

account for their ability on the ground. They’ll get a chance to operate behind Will Edelson and Christian Smith, the veteran linemen the Saints will build around this year along with freshman Luke Antesberger. Edelson was a tremendous road grader for the Saints last year, helping clear the way for a 1,000-yard rusher last season. Doug Brooks steps into a starting role at tight end, taking over for Isaiah Kilby-Sharp. Tight end is traditionally a role that at STAB that has been a crucial part of the Saints’ ground attack as a blocker. If Brooks can clear the way for whoever ends up toting the rock (Gabe Sanok is a potential option there) and catch some balls from Emmert, he’s got the potential to be a key part of the offense. On defense, as is usually the case with the Saints’ roster, a lot of the same faces will play a big role. Smith is an active presence on the defensive front while Harry was one of the squad’s top tacklers as a linebacker. Davis will be a key part of the secondary. STAB has been lasered in on trying to improve their team tackling this fall and if that has picked up the pace, the Saints have an excellent chance to improve on last year’s 3-6 mark. ✖


WHEN YOU RUN a 200-meter dash in 22.03 seconds, you’ve got some explosive feet. That was the time that Logan Justice put together at the VHSL Track and Field State Championships, one that put him in fourth place in the state. His 400-meter time? Try 49.98 seconds, good enough to be the state’s runner-up. A 4.0 student in the classroom, Justice brings smarts, speed, and a 6-foot-4 frame that make him an ideal receiver. The senior had 362 yards and five touchdowns last year en route to earning second team All-Scrimmage Play honors as well as being named All-Prep League. He had a breakout season in 2016 and is poised to cap his high school football career with a bang this fall. ✖

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WOODBERRY FOREST

TIGERS

PREP LEAGUE 2016 RECORD: 9-1 9/2 9/10 9/16 9/30 10/6 10/21 10/28 11/4 11/11

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Charlotte Latin Bishop O’Connell St. Christopher’s Paul VI Collegiate Benedictine Trinity Episcopal Fork Union Episcopal

WHO’S GONE: LINDELL STONE (QB), TERRELL JANA (WR), JOSEPH STEPHENSON (LB), KOREY SMITH (LB), BEBE OLANIYAN (DB), JOHN KIRVEN (DL) WHO’S BACK: KYLE BILODEAU (TE, PICTURED BELOW), KHALID THOMAS (WR/DB), DEQUECE CARTER (WR/DB), JAMEEL WILSON (RB), WILL WIDEMAN (QB) WHO’S NEW: LUKE HUTCHINSON (DB)

Tigers making the transition It’s not just a new era at Woodberry Forest because Scott Braswell is beginning his first year as head coach of the program. It’s a new era because the last two years the Tigers have graduated more collegiate football talent than any other school in the area. But outside of the eight that moved on to play college football, try just replacing 26 seniors. So that’s where this era starts, bridging the end of one regime and establishing another. With Lindell Stone and Terrell Jana both playing at the University of Virginia now, it will be up to Will Wideman, DeQuece Carter, Kyle Bilodeau and Jameel Wilson to put this offense — hands down the most productive of any in the area the last two years — back together again. To do so, Wideman moves to quarterback leaving him with a speedy pair of targets in Thomas and Carter, both of whom had breakout seasons last year. Senior Cameron Hill gives Wideman a big red zone target. And at 6-foot-5 and over 230 pounds, Bilodeau is a game changing tight end, a quarterback’s best friend. Wilson at tailback is a homerun threat whenever he touches the ball, he just needs the seam to get there. Should Wideman thrive at quarterback, the offensive pieces are there to do

some real damage. The Tigers will look to Edward Solms and Lucas Ferreria up front. Defensively, the Tigers have to replace linebackers Joseph Stephens and Korey Smith, and then also defensive linemen John Kirven and Billy Solms. They have Dean Browning and Myles Malone to help them in the middle of the field and up front there’s Warren Mathews and Drew Kwon to shore things up on the line. Finding depth in the front seven will be critical for this defense. Obviously with so many gifted skill position players on offense, the Tigers have the ability to retool their secondary that graduated BeBe Olaniyan. Look for Carter, Hill and Thomas to be factors there along with Luke Hutchinson and Jaxon Hill. The Tigers should be in pretty good shape on the edge of the field — the real transition for them is in the middle of the field. While the Prep League will present much more of a challenge this year than it did in the previous two as a handful of programs have improved, the Tigers won’t be out gunned. They also get three home games out of the gate which never hurts. With this team’s ability to stretch the field and score quickly, don’t expect the winning tradition to suddenly change at Woodberry. ✖

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TEAM SPOTLIGHT LOUISA COUNTY HIGH It has become a yearly tradition in Louisa. The Lions put together their eighth-annual “Stuff the Bus” event the weekend before school kicked off in the first week of August. The drive, held at the Zion Crossroads Walmart, aims to fill a school bus with as many school supply donations to help families that are struggling to afford them. Great Job, Louisa. Keep the “Stuff the Bus” tour alive and well!

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# F or k U n i on S trong

Almuni Profiles: Russell Bodine Russell Bodine hails from Scottsville, Virginia and first made his name playing for former Fork Union high school coach Micky Sullivan. As a junior and senior, he was an All-State honoree and helped the Blue Devils to VISAA Division 1 final four showing in 2009. As a three-star recruit, he signed with North Carolina to play in college in February of 2010. At Chapel Hill, Bodine moved from his position as a guard in high school to playing under center. As a sophomore he started at 12 games. The following year he was as reliable as before and earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention as a red-shirt junior. That prompted him to test the waters at the next level. He was rewarded for his decision after he put up 42 repetitions in the bench press at the NFL combine, the best in his class. With their fourth round selection, the Cincinnati Bengals made Bodine the 111th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. And just like for North Carolina, bringing on Bodine has paid off in a big way. The Bengals have been to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons in the pros and he has started every single game for Cincinnati. He was the first Bengals rookie drafted outside of the first round to start all games since Eric Steinbach did so in 2003. Bodine was a road grader in high school, in college and is now the same for the Bengals. He is quickly becoming one of the most reliable and valuable centers in the NFL, protecting Pro Bowler Andy Dalton and helping clear the way for a productive ground game. He got his start and FUMA and even though he’s at the top now he’s never stopped working hard.

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Overtime

The work begins Charlottesville has an opportunity in the aftermath

L

ike many of you, I’m still trying to come to grips with what happened here. Watching your hometown get picked at and pulled apart in the national media is an exceedingly difficult thing. It’s also an exceedingly new experience for people in Charlottesville. Maybe for people in Detroit or Boston or New York or Baltimore, that comes with the territory. But in Charlottesville we’re more used to being on fancy lists like Best Place to Live with Kids or Best Place to Retire or Best Place to eat Bodos (only place to eat Bodos). After what happened the weekend of August 12th here in Charlottesville, the death and destruction that an invading force of white supremacists and Nazis brought here, we all found ourselves in that position. We got to see some members of the national media say that those who stepped up and had the courage to repudiate white supremacy and defend the city were some kind of agitators themselves. Heather Heyer was defending her town. She wasn’t some paid protestor bogeyman, she worked at a local law firm and knew that justice required action. Dre Harris, who was viciously attacked, wasn’t some combatant hellraiser. He is a special education teaching assistant at Charlottesville and an aspiring musician who knows his voice needed to be heard that day. Charlottesville was by no means perfect before Saturday. There’s been racial strife here before, with the gentrification of Vinegar Hill and the slow adoption of integration the tip of the iceberg in a checkered history in race relations. That said, just weeks ago, I wrote a column about how aspirational Charlottesville is, about how it’s a place where you can dream big. A city that punches above its weight. I want to believe that it is still that place. I heard one speaker at the City Council meeting that descended into chaos on August 21 say “the world is watching us now.” The nation’s eyes at the very least, are on Charlottesville. What we do and how we move forward matters, it can help set the tone for a lot of what’s to come. We still have to be that place that we’ve been and in a lot of ways we have to be better, we have to find ways to mend the wounds of the past and to keep pressing forward. Unfortunately, we have to do while many of us are frustrated, angry and grieving. Grieving for the city itself. Grieving for the region. As we wrote on our website after the supremacists’ torchlit protest through the UVa campus on Saturday morning as the violence increased to a terrifying crescendo, many of us learned to respect others, to embrace differences on the field or on the court or in a wrestling room or on the track. So much social change has been marked by or driven by things that have happened in the sports arena. From Jackie Robinson to Title IX and all points in between, sports teaches us that we have to come together to work toward a common goal. That if we’re pointed in the same direction we’re stronger, more capable. That’s not easy to see through the haze of anger and grief. For almost a decade, we’ve looked to tell the stories of athletes across Central Virginia of every race, gender, creed and orientation on our site and in the pages of this digital magazine and we aren’t exceptional in that way when it comes to Charlottesville. People

“Sports teaches us that we have to come together and work toward a common goal.”

step up around Charlottesville, they look to do the right thing to make their community better. Like former Monticello basketball player Robert Gray and former Charlottesville basketball player Jamar Pierre-Louis, now local entrepreneurs who threw a back-toschool block party at Tonsler Park the day of the rally across town, handing out school supplies to local students. That’s an incredible thing in and of itself, but it’s even more astounding given the circumstances. It’s time for Charlottesville to get to work and to magnify the work that has been going on all along. We can’t allow the world or a bunch of cowardly white supremacists to try and pick us apart or turn us on each other. Because we know who we are and what we can become. ✖

Bart Isley,

CRE ATIVE DIRECTOR

back talk »

Have thoughts on Charlottesville? Email: bart@scrimmageplay.com

26 :: @scrimmageplay


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Volume 9, Issue 1  
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