‘Heading in the right direction’

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It was a difficult year for Randolph-Henry High School’s junior varsity (JV) football team in terms of participation numbers and the win-loss record, but these factors did not keep the 2017 Statesmen from taking positive strides.

“The team took strides to be better this year,” Randolph-Henry Coach Robbie Morris said. “I am proud of the hard work they put in this season, and I am looking forward to (growing) off of that for next year.”

The Statesmen finished the season with a 1-7 overall record. The ‘1’ in their win column came after Cumberland County High School’s junior varsity football team forfeiting its final game of the season, which was supposed to have been played Nov. 2.

Struggling to score and to contain opposing teams’ offenses, Randolph-Henry was not involved in many games that finished close, but there were exceptions. On Sept. 7 in their second game of the season, the Statesmen hosted Bluestone and fell in a two-score ballgame, 20-6.

On Oct. 5, they took on host Central Lunenburg and waged a highly competitive battle, losing narrowly 14-8.

“That is the best overall game we played all year,” Morris said.

The next week, the Statesmen visited Nottoway and challenged the Cougars, avoiding the blowout proportions of some shutouts, falling only 21-0.

The Cougars finished the season 6-4, and Central Lunenburg finished 4-5.

“I would say the high point this year was playing Central and Nottoway back-to-back weeks and having a chance in both of those games,” Morris said.

Having praised fullback Chris Redd and quarterback Logan Lewis earlier in the year, Morris took the opportunity Tuesday to highlight tight end/defensive end Matthew Newcomb as a key player for the team, noting that he “always went 100 percent and made plays on both sides of the ball.”

It was important for players to be effective on both sides of the ball in light of the greatest challenge facing the team this season.

“The most challenging point was just the numbers of our team,” Morris said. “Having less than 20 guys makes it tough, but our kids didn’t let it affect them, and everybody always stepped up when asked to take a different role for the team if needed.”

Morris said about half the team should be returning to the JV level next year, “but I’m hoping to grow the numbers and see a lot of new guys next year,” he said.

The continuity with half the team should be helpful in sustaining the positive things started this year and in training the newcomers.

Morris said that the main goal for the 2018 season “is to grow off this year. We put in a lot of hard work and improved in a lot of areas. The program is heading in the right direction, and I am excited to build on that.”