Between all-district voting and the first round of the Region I playoffs, Week 11 was a big one for Bay Rivers District football. We take a look back, a brief look ahead to the regional semis and offer our annual Inside the Bay Rivers District blog players and coaches of the year.
Offensive Player of the Week #1: Grafton sophomore Evan Sperling completed 20 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns in the Clippers 34-28 playoff loss at King George, big numbers for a Clippers offense that scarcely could generate 200 total yards just weeks ago.
Offensive Player of the Week #2: Another first-year starting QB, York’s Austin Norman, had a big game in a 26-6 win over Poquoson. He passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while running for a TD.
Offensive Player of the Week #3: York senior Tywaun Lewis caught six of those passes, good for 101 yards, with a difficult 33-yard catch in double coverage among his two touchdowns.
Defensive Players of the Week: Cody Hendrickson, Collin Mandrick and Malcolm Reynolds combined for 13 tackles and three sacks, good numbers for York defensive linemen. They led a York defense that allowed Poquoson just 50 total yards.
Offensive Player of the Year: Lafayette junior Jahlil Green has already run for 1,442 yards and 18 touchdowns, and likely has two or more games to add to those numbers. His stats are all the more impressive considering the Rams spread the carries among four other regulars who combined for 1,750 yards and 23 TDs.
Defensive Player of the Year: With all due respect to Smithfield’s defense – a unit whose 130 or so yards and fewer than 10 points allowed deserves lots of respect – York linebacker Marcus Wakelyn is our pick here. His 143 tackles are 10 more than his next two teammates combined, impressive on a defense that is giving up just 176 yards and 13.5 points.
Athlete of the Year: Dynamic junior Devonte Dedmon of Warhill was at best healthy for about eight of the 11 games, yet still produced the following numbers – 1,478 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns; 9 of 17 passing for 315 yards and five TDs; 20 receptions for 366 yards and three TDs; 12 two-point conversions.
Coach of the Year: Smithfield’s Clark Harrell gets the nod here for engineering the Packers’ turnaround from 1-9 a year ago to 9-1 and a co-district title this year. By emphasizing speed and aggressiveness on defense, the Packers allowed fewer than 10 points per game after giving up more than 30 in six losses last year. Honorable mention to Lafayette’s Andy Linn, whose Rams are 9-1 and shared the district title despite losing 13 key players to graduation.