Ocean Lakes QB Xander Jedlick and Manchester QB Brendon Clark (Photos: Joe Barnes/recruit757 and Sheridan King/recruit804
Manchester, Ocean Lakes clash for a chance to compete in the Class 6 State Championship
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit757
Manchester (13-0) at Ocean Lakes (13-0), 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Virginia Beach Sportsplex
It’s important not to downplay or forget the journey on the way to the top. Ocean Lakes is on a current journey that could put them in the Class 6 state championship game so as long as they can overtake the hurdle that stands in front of them. The Dolphins went undefeated through the entire regular season getting the best of quality opponents in the process. Ocean Lakes was on the right side of victory against all of its opponents through the regular season bowling through the likes of Cox, Landstown and Salem before reaching Kellam in the first-round of the playoffs. Kellam was much more of a challenge the second time around and the same could be said of Cox in whom the Dolphins played in successive weeks.
Oscar Smith has been a thorn in the side of the Dolphins over two of the last three seasons with the Tigers destroying their championship hopes in both 2015 and 2017. This year, led by Xander Jedlick, the Dolphins were able to defeat Oscar Smith in the Region 6A championship game by a final score of 21-7. It was the first time Ocean Lakes was able to defeat the Tigers since the 2014 season. Their victory last week has matched them up with another equally dominant program from the Central Region in Manchester.
Manchester traveling to Ocean Lakes is just one of two match ups in which Richmond will see a team from Hampton Roads with the other contest watching Maury travel to Varina to take on Highland Springs.
Lancers head football coach Tom Hall has fielded many assertive football teams during his 20-year tenure at Manchester. However, the team he has fielded this season is in a position to do what no other Manchester team has been able to do in the history of its program. Similar to the Dolphins, the Lancers also finished the regular season with an undefeated record. Tests were expected from Monacan, L.C. Bird, Midlothian and Clover Hill, but only the Cavaliers were truly able to leave some sort of lasting impression against the Lancers.
Throughout the first three games of the playoffs thus far, Manchester has been extremely difficult to conquer knocking off Thomas Dale, James River and Colonial Forge by a combined score of 118-14. Being able to convincingly knock off Colonial Forge was a feat the Lancers were able to accomplish after suffering defeats the last two-consecutive years against the Eagles in post-season play. What we’re witnessing from the Lancers is the ability to constantly play at an elevated level no matter who the opponent is or what classification the opposing team resides in. Saturday will be the first time either Manchester or Ocean Lakes has faced off against one another and it’ll pose as one of the more competitive state semi-final contests in Virginia.
Manchester Player to Watch: Brendon Clark (2019 QB 6-2 218)
For the fans in attendance that don’t get out of South Hampton Roads that much you’re in store for something you don’t quite see coming at Ocean Lakes the way Brendon Clark can. The Manchester product committed to Wake Forest some time ago and then flipped his decision to Notre Dame after de-committing from the Demon Deacons. Clark has connected on 113-of-192 passes for almost 2,000 yards and 31 touchdowns compared to just one interception. Through the first three games of post-season play, Clark has gone 23-of-51 for 504 yards and five touchdowns.
However, Clark isn’t limit by what he can do it the pocket. It’s also what he can do outside of the pocket that complicates his threat.
Added to what he’s been able to accomplish inside of the tackles, Clark has carried the ball 35 times for 255 yards and added five more touchdowns to his total. His job is made easier by what offensive players such as K.J. McNeil, Kei’Trel Clark, Collin Harding and Alston Robinson bring to the table, among others. However, Brendon Clark is a one of many that deserves the game plan Ocean Lakes is currently conjuring up.
Other notable Manchester prospects include: Isaiah Todd, Hakeem Beamon, Kei’Trel Clark, Collin Harding, K.J. McNeil, Jake Lero, Jaden Davis, Kwame Dehaney, Jarvis Chandler, Travis Miller, Anthony Gary, Christian Williams, and Will Pritchard.
Ocean Lakes Player to Watch: Xander Jedlick (2019 QB 6-3 192)
If you’re looking for a match on the opposite side of the ball in terms of quarterback competition look no further than Alexander Jedlick. The Lancers have seen their fair share of quarterbacks this season, but none quite as accomplished as Jedlick. The Ocean Lakes product has completed 141-of-248 passes for 2,148 yards and thrown 35 touchdowns compared to just eight interceptions. This is a significant improvement to him tossing a little over 1,400 yards last season. One of the most impressive attributes aside from his accuracy and cannon of an arm is how fast Jedlick gets the ball out.
In most cases, from the time the ball hits his hands from shotgun, he’s able to get the ball out in three seconds or less. His shortened internal clock allows him to deliver the ball before the defense can get an adequate rush. Furthermore, his presence in the pocket once it all begins to collapse makes it even more difficult for the defense to sustain this pressure over a substantial amount of time. Jedlick rarely makes any mistakes from behind center and the trust Coach Joe Jones has instilled in his quarterback resonates every time he touches the ball.
Other notable Ocean Lakes prospects include: Shawn Hamilton, Tyler Stephens, Tayvion Land, Jordan Green, Cameron Williams, Myles Alston, Eli Snowden, Jacari Holloway and Naquan Brown.
recruit757/recruit804 Keys to the Game
Manchester: No team has been able to stop what the Lancers have wanted to do on the offensive side of the ball. Manchester enjoys an up tempo pace of play that allows it to dictate what it’s able to accomplish no matter if Brendon Clark or Romeo Garcia is behind center. With Tayvion Land roaming in the secondary, it may take away one side of the field depending on where Kei’Trel Clark or Alston Robinson lines up. However, the remarkable thing about the Lancers offense is their ability to change up who makes an impact whether be Brandon Clark, Isaiah Todd, Collin Harding or anyone else on the their explosive team. Manchester’s offense is putting up a whopping 55 points per contest while Hakeem Beamon and the defense are only allowing four points per contest. Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Ocean Lakes: Overall, this is not a good match up for the Dolphins. What makes Manchester so efficient is its ability to control the tempo so well which takes opposing defenses out of their element and doesn’t allow for many substitutions. In retrospect, the Lancers like to wear its opponent out before the end of the first half which is why most contests are over before the start of the third quarter. The Dolphins need to keep the ball out of the hands of Brendon Clark and the Manchester offense as much possible. This is why Tyler Stephens and the offensive line will be extremely important come Saturday afternoon. Jacari Holloway was a key contributor for the Dolphins defense last week collecting three interceptions on the day from Auburn commit Cam Kelly. They’ll need a performance like that when facing a loaded Manchester offense.
– Brandon Mitchell