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Midlo Scoop

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Midlo Scoop

Football searches for a rebound against the Lancers

Varsity Football Regular Season Preview
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Photo by: Chesterfield Observer
2021 Senior Running Back Max McKey attempts to gain yardage downfield against Manchester’s defense.

Varsity Football plays their third game at F.W Poates Stadium in a match-up with the Manchester Lancers on Friday night as they try to collect their fourth win on the season. The Lancers battled in a shootout in their home opener against the Powhatan Indians, winning 54-28.  On the other hand, the Trojans remained undefeated in their home game against the Cosby Titans; winning 16-0 and controlling the game with their defense and offensive line.

In their first three games, the Trojans defensively have played better than any team in the Dominion District. Junior Jamar Leeper Jr. has been one of the main anchors for this defense; stockpiling five sacks from the edge and six tackles per game. His impact on this defense line has given players like Brandon Ross and Knox Berry the chance to average 6-8 tackles per game because of the amount of attention he has commanded.

However, the Trojans offense has had an extremely challenging time putting drives together in their first three games. In their game against Cosby, their first play of the game started with a jump ball interception after a 3-5 minute drive from Cosby’s offense. According to Coach Gross, the 3rd down struggles, inaccurate throws, important drops, and turnovers aren’t going to help their chances against Manchester. During their games against the Springers and Indians, the Lancers have gotten important takeaways that have shifted momentum during the second half.

“Against the Titans, we had more than enough chances offensively to put them away in the first half. We had multiple 3 and outs from the defense that put us in great field position, a turnover that put us in the red zone, and we still ended up with seven points entering halftime.” Coach Gross said. “To prepare for this week, we have been stressing the importance of getting into a rhythm offensively against a high-octane offense like Manchester.”

During the earlier stretches of the season, the Trojans are still working on the chemistry within the team because of the new additions on the roster, the 2023 seniors no longer being on the team, and a reconstructed coaching staff. According to multiple seniors from this year, this is not new territory for them and they know how to figure out chemistry and morale within the team.

“The seniors on our team have been in this position before in our sophomore year and it resulted in us having an 8-3 season in 2021.” Ethan Knoll said.  “Gaining chemistry won’t be a problem for the rest of us because the upperclassmen have experience from adjusting to a new cast of players two years ago,” Gio Semidey said.

This will be the one and only meeting that Manchester and Midlothian will have during the regular season. The last time these two teams met was on Oct. 14, 2022, when the Trojans and Lancers put together one of the best games from the 2022 VHSL season.  The Lancers beat the Trojans 31-30 after a defensive stand from a failed jump pass from Ashby Berry to Drew Kleski in the corner of the endzone. According to Coach Gross, even though he was impressed with how the Trojans competed with one of the best teams in the area over the past half-decade, he thinks his team has another level that they can take it.

“Our coaches have been saying to our players that they can’t be focused on things that they can’t control from last year. It was a heart-stopping loss, but we just need to make certain changes; just like the Lancers did after losing 42-35 to us in 2021.” Coach Gross said. “This team has been taking multiple steps every week and growing their confidence heading into this game on Friday night.” Coach Gross said.

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About the Contributor
Huntur Brockenbrough, Sports Editor
Class of 2024 Huntur Brockenbrough has been on staff for three years and is a sports writer this year. Outside of school, he enjoys watching sports/tv, listening to music,working out, and writing.