The Crabbers' first possession included two false starts, a holding call and a 16-yard punt. Bethel's first possession ended with a touchdown — and Dion Futch, the Crabbers' best player, spraining his ankle.
By halftime, Hampton had more penalties (seven) and turnovers (two) than first downs (zero) in terrible playing conditions.
"I called a play on the sideline, and we go in and there are 12 players on the field," Hampton coach Mike Smith said. "You tell me how that happens. I chewed everybody out on the sideline — including myself."
In the second half, Hampton completely turned things around. While moving the chains eight times themselves, the Crabbers didn't allow Bethel one first down. Hampton had 95 total yards after halftime; the Bruins had 22.
"I was awfully proud of our defense tonight," Smith said.
Though Smith rarely places special significance on one regular-season game over another, he knows the importance of Friday night's win. The Crabbers went into the game No. 6 in the VHSL's Eastern Region Division 5 ratings.
Tabb defense overachieves
Tabb High's defense has been questioned pretty much all season. That happens when you rank last in the 10-team league in yards allowed (354 per game) and ninth in points allowed (32.2) after five games.
All of which made the Tigers' 22-0 win over Grafton that much more impressive. The Tigers never allowed the Clippers to even think about mounting a running attack, holding them to minus-31 yards on 14 carries.
And the continual pressure from Tigers linebackers and linemen kept the Clippers from unleashing the passing game that vaulted Joe Cibrin to the top spot among district quarterbacks: at 125 passing yards per game.
The Tigers sacked Cibrin six times. Grafton's passing numbers on the night were 4-of-14 for 16 yards with three interceptions. Ian Haislip, Chris Ham and Jacob Kimball all picked off passes for the Tigers.
"We didn't expect it to be like this," linebacker Dylan Evans said of the defense, after making several tackles for loss. "We just came out real hard and better than we thought we'd be."
Bay Rivers parity
Parity continues to be the theme of he season in Bay Rivers District football, so much so that almost nothing can be called an upset any more. Take Friday, for instance.
Tabb entered the game ranked No. 6 in this week's Daily Press midseason power poll, while Grafton was ranked No. 2. Those were fair positions for both squads, considering Grafton entered the contest 4-1 and Tabb 2-3.
But Clippers' coach Kevin Montini knew beforehand that the records meant little.
"Tabb is scary," he said. "They're much better than their record."
Jamestown, which was 2-3 and ranked No. 7 by the Daily Press entering the game against Bruton (4-1), shut out the No. 4 ranked Panthers 9-0 Friday night. But it's hard to call it an upset — the Daily Press picked the Eagles to win.
"There are no easy games in this league," Poquoson coach Elliott Duty said prior to the Warhill game, in which No. 3 Poquoson won 33-20 over the No. 10 Lions.
Tickets on saleHampton and Phoebus will both be selling tickets beginning Wednesday.
They will be on sale Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 4-7 p.m. in the Phoebus main office and Hampton main office.
Student tickets will be sold Wednesday through Friday from noon-1:30 during lunch in both school's offices.
Adults: $5. Children (11 and under): $3. Senior Citizens (65 and older): $3.
— Dave Johnson and Marty O'Brien