Hampton QB Max Pietrykowski (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
The Hampton Crabbers have their eyes on a return to winning with Mike Smith at the helm again
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
The 2018 season was an aberration for Hampton.
You’d have to go back to the 1970’s to find a season where the Hampton Crabbers finished under .500.
A Virginia Retirement System ruling mandated that football coach Mike Smith had to take a 30-day hiatus from all of his school responsibilities in order to claim retirement. That 30 day period couldn’t start until September 1, so Smith was sidelined for the start of the football season.
Longtime Crabber assistant coach Danny Mitchell took the reins, but a losing streak to start the season and the pressure that goes with it was a little too much for him. Mitchell stepped down to have assistant coach Kenny Gilliam finish the month of September, and Mike Smith returned in October, but the Crabbers finished the season at 4-6 and missed the playoffs for the first time in a very long time.
Now Mike Smith is back for a full season in 2019. His Crabbers looked athletic and ready for Friday morning’s scrimmage against Life Christian. If you ask Mike Smith, he’ll say that his team needs to be more conditioned, but you can tell he’s happy to be back on the football field.
“I saw that we need to get in better physical condition. In the first half, we jumped up and got a little tired, and backed off a little bit. We changed the guys up a little bit at halftime. We got some younger guys in there and got a little go,” said Smith after the scrimmage.
Coach Smith claims that he’s still looking to solidify his starting lineup and he’ll use the team’s second scrimmage this week against Kellam as a measuring stick.
The scrimmage against Life Christian was called at the end of the third quarter with Hampton leading 19-13. The Crabbers jumped out to an early 12-0 lead after scoring on their first two possessions. LCA clawed back into the game with two scores of their own to grab the lead at 13-12 at the half. The game was getting scrappy as the day wore on, so the referees decided to end it early.
– Andy Hilton