Each eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2010, and their combined 371 rushes accounted for 49 percent of the team’s total offensive snaps.
In the opener this season, however, the Chargers (1-0) leaned less on the two senior backs and spread out more in a 44-0 win over W.T. Woodson. Hicks and Hill-Pensamiento combined for just 11 carries and 59 yards in the blowout win, and a team that ran the ball 78 percent of the time last season did so just 60 percent of the snaps against the Cavaliers.
“Will and I realize that there will be more touches for different people to utilize the weapons we have,” Hicks said. “We have a lot of great running backs and players and we’re not worried about number of carries or stats.”
The Chargers’ offense, which features a number of new starters on the offensive line and a new quarterback in junior Sonny Romine, doesn’t have much time to get in sync. They will face one of the region’s top defenses in second-ranked Stone Bridge (1-0), which shut out No. 19 Robinson in its season-opening win.
The offensive line especially will face a challenge in an aggressive defensive front that features junior All-Met defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.
“They definitely grew against Woodson,” Chantilly Coach Mike Lalli said of the offensive line. “First half versus the third quarter you could tell they started playing together and understanding what it was like to play in game tempo.
“Obviously this will be the next step for them. They’re unfortunately not getting a chance to slowly develop; they’re put under fire right away. But it’s a good test for us. It will hopefully help us for down the road, to gain some confidence and getting us prepared for the Concorde” District.
Stuart and Hayfield meet in an early Virginia AAA National District contest that could have major consequences in the title race. Hayfield, which advanced to the region title game last season, must hold off a Raiders team that returns nine starters on offense. Two of those returners had big nights in a season opening win. Quarterback Javonte Robinson rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown and threw for another score, while running back Chris Kirby had 147 yards on just 15 carries with two touchdowns. The Raiders beat Hayfield, 21-7, last season. . . .
With a win over Langley, Jefferson would open the season with two wins for the first time since 2005. The Colonials won eight games from 2006-10. The Saxons downed Herndon, 14-7, in their opener behind running back Philip Mun, who rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries.
Osbourn Park junior quarterback Denathan Dukes, who missed last week with a knee injury, likely will play for the Yellow Jackets (1-0) this week in their game against Battlefield (1-1). Dukes missed the team’s second scrimmage and sat out the 41-0 season-opening win over Freedom-Woodbridge (0-2). “He probably could have played, but we didn’t want to take any chances,” Osbourn Park Coach Brian Beaty said. Against Freedom, senior Jairus Akanni caused a fumble and had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Hylton (1-0) humbled defending Division 6 champion Battlefield last week with a 35-14 road win, so Bobcats Coach Mark Cox is placing a lot of emphasis on the game against Osbourn Park on Friday at Patriot. “It will be huge to see if our kids learned anything from last week and have a little different attitude,” Cox said. “I think our kids have learned the hard way that it’s not going to be easy because we won states last year. Some people are just going through the motions. Hopefully they have decided that it’s going to take a lot of work and they’re going to have to give the winning effort.” . . .
Stay alert if Forest Park (0-2) starts a possession on the four-yard line Friday night at Osbourn (0-2). Bruins sophomore running back Mustaqeem Williams already has scored on 96-yard interception and kickoff returns this season, one in each game. As a freshman last year, Williams was second in the outdoor state meet in the 100 dash. “He’s a special one,” said Forest Park Coach David Coccoli, adding that Virginia and Pitt already have expressed interest in the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Williams.
Old rivals Loudoun Valley and Loudoun County square off for the first time since 2006 on Friday night in Leesburg — just not at the field where they were scheduled to play. The heavy rains have taken a toll on the Raiders’ field, moving the game to the turf at nearby Tuscarora.
But the weather has been a secondary concern for the Loudoun County administration which spent the weekend disinfecting its football locker room in an effort to stifle a string of staph infections. Loudoun County Public Schools sent in a team to disinfect the locker rooms and floors and players were asked to take all of their equipment home to be washed according to strict instructions.
Loudoun County Athletic Director Ken Wright said Thursday that the measures were precautionary and the school and LCPS are confident they have sufficiently dealt with the concerns.
“We did have two students diagnosed with staph earlier in August and one more at the end of the month,” Wright said. “But the team that came in did a great job cleaning out the locker room and we’ve taken care of the problem.”
The Raiders (1-0) rolled over Freedom-South Riding 42-0 two weeks ago in their season opener when they rushed for 179 and three touchdowns.
Loudoun Valley (1-1) beat Fauquier 17-7 and lost to James Wood 19-6 last week. The Vikings have won each of the last four meetings dating back to 2003. . . .
On Friday, Woodgrove Coach Jerry Gordon faces a Potomac Falls program that he helped advance to the Virginia AA Region II Division 4 final in 2008. The second-year Wolverines (2-0) have already matched their 2010 win total and are coming off a 36-6 rout of Brentsville behind 110 yards and three touchdowns from junior tailback Atem Ntangtang.
Gordon hopes the 3-4 under defense he built as defensive coordinator at Potomac Falls can help the Wolverines prolong the Panthers’ offensive struggles. Potomac Falls has been shutout through two weeks and was outscored 329-124 during a 1-9 campaign last season. The game has been moved to Woodgrove’s turf field due to the rain this week.