Chancellor senior James Cowherd is slated to be the Chargers' go-to running back in a rushing-heavy offense, and he said he is ready.
"I've been running the ball a lot since 10th grade," Cowherd said. "I'm not worried about it. . . . I love to run the ball."
Chancellor finished 6-5 last year, won the AA Battlefield District with a 4-0 record and qualified for the Virginia AA Division 4 playoffs for the second straight season. In both seasons, Chancellor fell to Lafayette in the Region I semifinals.
Cowherd was the Fredericksburg school's leading rusher last year with 860 yards and was named the district's offensive player of the year. He will again be a key player in a run-oriented offense.
"We're going to give him the ball, and he's going to run the ball," Chancellor Coach Bob Oliver said.
Also back is junior quarterback Matt Dobson, who started last season, and 6-foot-1, 290-pound lineman James Robinson, who missed all but the first three games with a knee injury.
The veteran leadership will be key for Chancellor, which lost some potential players to Riverbend High School, a new Spotsylvania County school that drew students from Chancellor. Riverbend will play a varsity schedule within the Battlefield District this year with freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
"I lost three-fourths of my JV team," Oliver said. "We have a strong first team, but we're going to have some young guys who will have to fill in at backup."
Cowherd matches good speed -- he was the Battlefield District runner-up in the 100 and 200 meters in spring track -- with a hard-nosed rushing style.
As the carries pile up, Cowherd said that the effort he puts in outside of the games will determine how he will do in the games.
"It takes a whole lot of conditioning, a whole lot of agility to be ready to run the ball this much," Cowherd said. "You've got to do a lot of hard work. You've got to practice the way you play."
-- Sean P. Flynn