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Crabbers' Watford, line start to shine
Much was expected from Hampton's David Watford in his junior season. But after three weeks, the talented but young quarterback had been a little inconsistent.
Thursday night at Todd Stadium, he was spot-on accurate. In 12 passes, he misfired only twice. He threw for a career-high 237 yards, an average of nearly 24 yards per completion. And he passed for three touchdowns in the Crabbers' 55-14 romp over Denbigh.
"I think David probably had his best night certainly this year," Hampton coach Mike Smith said. "He got through his reads better and saw the field better, so he made better decisions.
"And credit should go to the offensive line and Coach (Danny) Mitchell. He's taken a line that's young and not very big, and they've done a good job."
After averaging 229 yards per game the first three weeks, Hampton had 470 vs. Denbigh.
Bethel can catchComing into the season, Bethel coach Jeff Nelson knew one of his biggest advantages would be a deep group of receivers. It's made an obvious difference.
In Thursday night's 49-7 win over Gloucester, three wideouts caught a touchdown pass.
"We've got Rijo Walker, Jamal Parker, Stephen Clark … we have a lot of athletes at wide receiver," Nelson said. "I've had receivers tell me, 'Coach, I only caught one ball.' And I tell them, 'Hey, in our system, if you catch one ball, you should be happy!' "
Panthers stay groundedWhile acknowledging that Bruton's 16-7 upset win at Smithfield on Friday was big, Panthers coach Tracy Harrod won't allow his team to rest on its laurels.
Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro, who ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns, indicated there's no way Harrod will allow the Panthers (3-0, 2-0 Bay Rivers) to become complacent. Taliaferro said that even after the 31-12 win over New Kent, Harrod stayed on the offensive linemen all week.
Dominique James, Alex Boyer, Nick Cawthon, Martin Shealey and Greg Adams responded with a dominant first-half performance in helping the Panthers build a rushing advantage of 162 yards to 14. Linebacker Ricky Dickerson made numerous big plays. But it seemed everyone on the defense had a big moment or two.
"That was all about heart," Dickerson said. "We stuck together as a family."
Clippers overachieveGrafton came within seconds of beating a Bay Rivers favorite for the second week in a row. A week after beating Jamestown — Virginia Preps' presesaon favorite — the Clippers lost 14-13 to Poquoson, the Daily Press favorite, on a touchdown with 26 seconds left.
Those two efforts are eye-openers considering the Clippers were picked to finish sixth by the Daily Press in the preseason. Throw in the fact that numerous players — Ryan Johansen, DeRon Dillard and Michael Lee — virtually never come off the field for the depth-challenged Clippers (2-1, 1-1), and the solid start is that much more impressive.
"I'm proud of the kids," Clippers coach Kevin Montini said. "We're conditioning their butts off and they keep going out and busting their tails."
Volleyball showdownThe second half of the Bay Rivers girls volleyball season begins with a showdown between the top two teams Thursday, when Jamestown (7-1 district) plays at Grafton (7-0). The unbeaten Clippers handed the Eagles their only defeat a little more than a month ago.
The Clippers have kept the top spot since that first meeting despite the absence of standout middle hitter Kelley Anderson, who was diagnosed with a leg injury shortly after the Jamestown match.
Grafton coach Dena Montini said Anderson should return shortly, though not against Jamestown. Junior hitters Morgan Kline and Alyssa Hall have filled the void nicely, thanks in large part to steady setter Sarah Campbell.
Montini said, "I think we can be a state-tournament-caliber team if we continue to progress. Our goal is not to go undefeated, but to continue to improve every single day. There's not too much stress on this one (Jamestown) match. It's not like football, where one loss can keep you out of the playoffs."
— Daily Press