It was an eventful Week Seven in the Peninsula District. And not because of what happened on the field.
On Wednesday, his team off to an 0-6 start, Sonny Merchant resigned as Gloucester's head coach. It's not something he wanted to do, he said. It was what he felt he had to do in the best interest of the program and himself.
Defensive coordinator Ken Hardcastle is taking over, at least for the remainder of the season.
On Friday, 16 days after his original suspension, Stan Sexton was officially out at Phoebus. An announcement from Hampton City Schools confirmed that defensive coordinator Jeremy Blunt would coach the Phantoms for the remainder of the season.
And Sexton's highly successful but controversial 3 1/2 seasons as Phoebus' head coach was over.
According to Daily Press records, there never had been a coaching change during the season since the Peninsula District was formed in 1965. That's not counting two years ago at Bethel when Fabian Davis replaced
"This is real unusual," Woodside coach Danny Dodson said. "I know I've never seen this before."
Of course, all eyes will be on Blunt at Phoebus. The Phantoms have won four consecutive state championships in Group AAA Division 5 and are considered one of the favorites this year. Phoebus is 7-0 with games remaining against Woodside, Gloucester and Hampton.
His absence was the topic of much conversation and speculation, and Tony Pittman validated the interest in his return Thursday night.
School officials will not confirm the reason Pittman missed two games, but it's known that he didn't practice during that time, either. In fact, since Phoebus canceled practice Wednesday for what Blunt called "personal reasons," Pittman got no work at all prior to Thursday night's game.
Some rust showed as he fumbled three times, losing two. But he also finished with 195 yards on 20 carries in the Phantoms' 43-6 win.
Da'Quan Lane, who rushed for 358 yards in two starts with Pittman out, added 139 more Thursday night. He'll lose some carries with Pittman back, but Blunt made it clear he won't be a forgotten man.
"Da'Quan is a starter any place else," Blunt said. "But we're fortunate enough to have him, and we're definitely going to ride the both of them. Give people something to think about as we move forward."
Bethel-Kecoughtan: Vanilla but effective
In Jeff Nelson's five-year run as head coach, the Bruins ran a no-huddle spread offense that was fun to watch. This season, with Bubba Hooker having taken over, Bethel has switched to a grind-it-out running game that looks so old-fashioned the game film should be black-and-white.
But it's working. In Friday night's 42-28 win over Kecoughtan, the Bruins dominated time of possession 32:57-15:03. Bethel took 64 snaps on offense to the Warriors' 42.
"We want to do what we can do," Hooker said. "I have no problem throwing the ball and being wide open, but our kids have confidence in what we're doing — running the ball and play action pass. And it makes our defense better."
But ignore the Bruins' passing game at your own risk. Quarterback Trey Jackson has completed only 33 passes, but seven have been for touchdowns. And Jesse Williams (10 catches, 177 yards, 3 TDs) is one of the most acrobatic receivers in the district.
With 197 yards Friday night, Kecoughtan's Trenton Cannon now has 1,138 for the season to lead the Peninsula District. Heritage's Khalid Abdullah ran for 167 yards in a 44-0 win over Menchville to raise his season total to 1,089.
Pittman's night gave him 963 for the season, but that's in five games. His per-game average of 192.6 leads the Peninsula District. …