Northern Virginia high school basketball teams are hereby forewarned: allowing the W.T. Woodson Cavaliers to build a lead will result in the unenviable task of trying to catch up against one of the biggest schoolboy teams in the country.
When basketball practice officially started in Virginia Saturday, Woodson's coach, Red Jenkins, had the pleasure of welcoming 7-foot- 3/4 inch George Burgin, 6-9 Steve Rye and 6-6 1/2 Andy Heck. Jenkins acknowledges it could be a heck of a year at Woodson.
Jenkins said Burgin and Rye, both seniors, are "late bloomers." Each had size, but limited basketball skills and could not even make last year's 13-10 team.
"We put them both back on the junior varsity as juniors last year because we didn't think they could help us," said Jenkins. "But they have both improved considerably. George can catch it and shoot it. Steve is slender (175 pounds), but he runs the floor real well. By the end of the year, they could be two of the better players around."
"Defensively, both big kids have a ways to go, but people better not get behind us; otherwise they will see a very big zone," said Jenkins, who expects opponents to hold the ball whenever he does use the trio together.
Rye is already committed to American University, but Burgin may become the root of a heavy recruiting war. Despite his limited experience, Burgin, who has a 3.98 (out of 4.0) grade point average, has already been viewed personally by Kansas Coach Larry Brown three times.
Five Northern Virginia basketball teams began practice this week with new head coaches.
Mike Wells, an assistant to Carl Hensley at Lake Braddock, was elevated to the head job following Hensley's retirement. Todd Crowley, who was an assistant at Mount Vernon, replaces Steve Franklin at Herndon.
At South Lakes, a former junior varsity coach, Wendall Byrd, takes over for Jim Lewis, who will be coaching the women's team at George Mason University this fall.
Tom Casey moved from Fort Hunt to Oakton replacing retired David Jones. Fort Hunt hired Bill Engles, who was at North Stafford.
Matt Howard's second touchdown of the game, on a 30-yard run with 58 seconds remaining, lifted the Braddock Road Youth Club Chargers to an 18-13 upset of the Braddock Road Bobcats in the Northern Virginia Youth Football League's 75-pound National Conference championship game Saturday at Chantilly High School.
Howard scored on a six-yard run in the first half to give the Chargers a 12-6 lead over the Bobcats, who entered the game 7-0.
In the 85-pound American Conference final, touchdowns by Ivory Green and Morris Hicks carried Woodlawn past Chantilly, 14-6.
T.J. Beitleman and Kenya Hunter each scored two touchdowns as Arlington completed an 8-0 season by defeating Fort Belvoir, 30-0, in the 95-pound Central Conference title game. Ray Williams threw a pair of touchdown passes in the National Conference final carrying the Vienna Raiders over the Vienna Bulldogs, 14-6.
Mike Maxwell followed the block of Billy Leake for a one-yard touchdown as Springfield defeated Lee-Franconia, 12-8, to win the 110-pound National Conference championship.
Vienna's Chris Tully completed 8 of 10 passes, including a 45-yarder to Jack Posey for a second-quarter touchdown, in a 30-0 victory over McLean in the 150-pound championship.