It's no easy task for someone in the Warhill High football program to find a positive spin on an injury to Reggie Lipscomb. In addition to starring in the secondary, Lipscomb netted nearly 1,200 yards a year ago: 806 rushing.
He reiterated his value with an electrifying 50-yard touchdown run to give Warhill a three-point lead with 3 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in its season opener Friday at Park View of South Hill. Nevertheless, when Lipscomb left the game with a high ankle sprain with less than two minutes to play, Lions coach Billy Jarvis said it might have helped unexpectedly.
Dragons' drive to the Warhill 6-yardline. "It took a long time to get Reggie off of the field and that gave us a breather."
On the next play, Warhill defensive lineman Bryce Johnson caused a fumble by putting a helmet to the ball as Park View fullback Jason Baskerville took the handoff. Keron Dedmon, a sophomore who had just entered the game because older brother Devonte Dedmon had sprained his ankle, recovered the fumble to clinch Warhill's 20-17 victory.
"We survived a three-hour bus ride and won a tough game against a team that has a good chance to make the playoffs," Jarvis said.
But the victory might have been costly. Jarvis expects Dedmon to play against York in a big early Bay Rivers District game Sept. 7, but said he is unsure if Lipscomb will be back.
Lipscomb said he is determined to play in the York game. While his ankle heals, he can at least bask in the glow of the game-winning touchdown run he made operating as the "Tomcat" in the Lions' Wildcat formation.
"It made me feel like a hero I guess, because Devonte was hurt," Lipscomb said. "It felt good to win on the road even though we took a brutal (physical) beating as a team."
Center of attention
A huge key for the Lions was the play of Virginia Tech commitment Parker Osterloh at center. Osterloh, a 6-foot-8, 300-pound senior, was slated to start at tight end until center Robert Lipford had to miss the game to attend a relative's funeral.
Jarvis inserted Osterloh at center on an interior line where everyone else was starting for the first time. Making his debut at center, Osterloh's blocking was key to an offense that netted nearly 350 yards.
"He did a great job," Jarvis said. "It shows you what an athlete he is, because he played every snap on offense and defense, and even snapped on punts.
"He didn't mind moving from tight end. He just wants to help us win."
Poquoson defense's shut down Southampton, holding it to fewer than 90 yards in a 20-0 win on Friday. Islanders running backs Austin Turner and Grayson Boyce spearheaded a rushing attack that totaled 268 yards.
But the new offensive line that opened huge holes increasingly as the game progressed deserves plenty of kudos. The new starters replacing one of the most legendary lines in school history are: Seth Norton, Jake Kenneally, Michael Nester, Riley Howell, Thomas Cannella and Dave Boutell.
Attention pays off
Richard Taylor started his first game at cornerback for Bruton in its 43-20 win on Friday over Greensville County. He starred for the Panthers in his debut by returning interceptions for touchdowns of 55 and 16 yards.
Bruton coach Tracy Harrod said Taylor's attentiveness at practice and watching video put him in the right place at the right time.
"We picked up a couple of tendencies and had an idea of what was coming," Harrod said of Greensville's spread offense. "Those tendencies came through, he recognized what was coming, sat on the passes and was right in line for the interceptions.
"He's a smart kid and a good athlete."
Tabb's special teams falter
Tabb coach Matt Lawson continues to tout his team's defensive improvement, even in the wake of a 44-6 loss at Division 3 state runner-up James Monroe. Truth be told, the Tigers — particularly linebackers Will Malone and Brandon Ferebee — were pretty good defensively other than two second-half JM touchdown passes.
Special teams was another matter. The Tigers allowed a punt-return touchdown, a kickoff return TD and had a punt snap go into the end zone for a safety. In addition, JM returned an interception for a TD.