The road home with Joe Reed

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It has been an outstanding year of growth for the University of Virginia (U.Va.) football team, and the Cavaliers have Charlotte County and more specifically Charlotte Court House to thank for some of it.

Former Randolph-Henry High School multi-sport standout Joe Reed has been a key contributor to Virginia in his junior year, perhaps never more so than Saturday during the Cavaliers’ 45-24 victory over visiting Liberty University.

In that contest, Reed scored a team-high three touchdowns. He had four kickoff returns for 193 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown return, and he also had two catches for 20 yards and two touchdowns.

With the victory, Virginia improves to 7-3 with two regular-season games left. The Cavs have improved on last year’s 6-7 finish, which was a big improvement on 2016’s 2-10 run.

Like Reed, this is Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s third year with the program. Back in August, prior to the start of the 2018 campaign, Mendenhall shared his expectations of Reed this year.

“Joe is consistent, he shows good leadership and he’s productive, and so I expect more of the same — what he did last year, just at a higher level this year,” the coach said.

Last year, Reed scored five touchdowns, including two on returns, two on receptions and one on a run. He is already up to five touchdowns this year, with two regular-season games left. Four scores have come through receptions and one on a return.

Mendenhall cited that what has put Reed in a position to make great contributions this season has been position mastery and knowledge of the scheme at the college level.

“Joe has had to learn some more football and a number of different positions, and as he continues to do that, his position mastery increases, which allows him to be more productive,” the coach said.

Reed received some special attention from U.Va.’s media department this past summer in the form of a video posted on Virginia Football’s Facebook page entitled “The Road Home.”

“The university asked me in May if I was OK with them coming home with me for a weekend and following me around to see how it was, and I didn’t hesitate at all,” Reed said. “… I told them, ‘Yes,’ because no matter how far I get, I’ll never forget where I’m from. And my parents always remind me of that.”

The 8-minute, 14-second video on Facebook has outstanding production quality and does much to showcase not only Reed but also the place he calls home — Charlotte Court House.

“I knew I had some great people for them to talk to,” Reed said.

Among those interviewed were his parents, Randolph-Henry coaches Joe Freeland and Eddie Pyle and Charlotte County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Walker, who coached Reed when he played Dixie Youth Baseball as an 11- and 12-year-old and who trained him for the four years leading up to that.

“We’re all mighty proud of Joe,” Walker said. “… He’s a Charlotte County boy, and he’s proud of it. And I just hope in the future he’s going to do a whole lot more things to put Charlotte Court House on the map.”

Responding to a comment about the impact Reed could have on the area, Walker said, “In life, a lot of it is who you know, and being from Charlotte County, we don’t know a lot of people, but people like Joseph, who has stepped out on a broader stage, he’s going to meet people from all over the world before his career’s over with, and you never know what could develop from that for Charlotte County.”

Walker highlighted just why Reed is such a great representative of the town and the county.

“Joe, not just his momma and daddy, but his whole family, I knew his grandmother and his grandfather and his aunts and uncles, and they’re all good people, just good Charlotte County folks, with good values and were brought up right — to … earn a living and teach your children to be proud of who they are and to work hard for what they want to accomplish,” Walker said.

Enjoying his opportunity to get to know and work with one of those good Charlotte County folks, Mendenhall said, “Joe’s an amazing person, completely trustworthy, completely reliable, unselfish and just a joy to be around.”