Varsity football team finishes a successful season in the playoffs

Jessica Wen, Co-Editor in Chief

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Our varsity football team, under head coach Chad Hornik, had a successful year, making it to the playoffs with an impressive regular season record of 5-4.  With an unfortunate loss in the first round of playoffs to Highland Springs High School 0-42, the team ended with an overall record of 5-5.

Their biggest rivalry was against Godwin.

“[Godwin is our biggest rival] simply because we live so close to them and know most of their players. We have very similar types of teams, and the games between us are normally very close,” senior Cooper Hamby, one of the team’s captains, said.

This year, the Wildcats beat the Eagles 19-14 in four quarters.

“My favorite memory was after beating Godwin and everyone stormed the field,” senior captain Vance Mizelle said.

Other than beating Godwin, the boys also accomplished many other feats. First, they won the Grill Bowl Championship and beat Hermitage High School 40-14 on Sept. 28 for the first time since 2006.

The team ended the season with wins against Tucker, Hermitage, Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Godwin High School and unfortunate losses against Atlee, Henrico, Freeman, Glen Allen, and Highland Springs High School.

This year, the team ran into many obstacles. First, they welcomed many inexperienced varsity players who had to learn the plays and learn the way the team operated. They had 15 new sophomores join the team this year, and many of them had starting positions.

Sophomores Bo Kite and Corey Crump were major players this year. Bo Kite, a quarterback and linebacker, and Corey “CJ” Crump, an outside linebacker and running back, made an impact on the team’s success this year, being top ball carriers.

They also faced many other issues.

“I feel like the season went pretty well for us considering all of the challenges we faced. We had four or five of our games rescheduled and multiple starters injured in almost every game, yet we still made the playoffs and maintained a record over 0.5,” senior captain Matt Johnson said.

To overcome these obstacles, the team put a lot of emphasis on leadership. Captains, seniors, and other veterans pitched in to advise the younger, less mature players in order to keep them in line and focused in order to win games.

Many players also had to overcome their own personal obstacles. Hamby, for example, sustained a concussion and a broken nose and was forced to sit out on three games.

“This was difficult for me, as I normally do not miss games, but when I was healthy again, I came back eager to play and win,” Hamby said.

In order to make it to the playoffs, the team committed itself to a strict practice schedule. From correction walk-throughs to lifting weights to yoga, the boys had many methods of improvement.

However, the team had a tough match up in the first round of playoffs, meeting Highland Springs High School, who has won multiple state championships in recent years.

“That game was a wakeup call as to signify that if we want to be as good as they are and compete for a state championship in the future, we need to be dedicated to getting bigger, stronger, and faster,” Hamby said.

Hamby played wide receiver on offense and safety on defense. He has some advice for the future of the team.

“Cherish every moment of the season. Your senior season goes by in an instant, so don’t waste your time thinking about what you could have done. After the last horn from the scoreboard, you will instantly miss the feeling of being a football player, so make the most of the time while you still have it,” Hamby said.

Captains and seniors Matt Johnson, Vance Mizelle, Austin Pierce, and Cooper Hamby were sad to see their last game end, but they all hope that the remaining players will continue to work hard for successful seasons.

Varsity football team finishes a successful season in the playoffs