Flint Hill #23 Jordan Houston (File Photo: Flint Hill Athletics)
Flint Hill looks to contend for a title with Jordan Houston leading them
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
Flint Hill at Paul VI, Fri. 7:00 PM, Fairfax, VA
The Flint Hill Huskies (0-0) may arrive to face Paul VI’s Panthers (1-0), anticipating their first win of the 2017 season, which would seem like an easy one based on the previous season record. The Huskies finished at 7-3 in 2016, while the home team clinched a single win (1-9).
The Huskies, a VISAA (Virginia Independent Schools) Division I semifinalist last year, are heavily favored in the matchup. However, fans of the sport may be in for a surprise if the Huskies expect Paul VI’s 2016 performance. This is not last year’s Panthers. The first change which has caused an excited buzz among the PVI faithful is the addition of two dynamic sophomores in the Panthers offense: Savion Phinizy (5-8, 160, RB/S) and Billy Saffrin (5-8, 160, WR/RB).
The Panthers opened their season last week against a St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes team that was competitive while finishing the season 4-6. However, against Paul VI, both teams played to a scoreless first half, with PVI pulling way in the second half behind the strength of touchdowns by Phinizy and Graham Fritsche, en route to a 14-6 win. Phinizy finished the game with 146 yards rushing on 11 carries, including the 6-yard run which gave the Panthers a lead they would not lose.
Led by new coach Mike Grandizio, this new season with young potential and aspirations translates to success on the playing field. Their competitive nature will include Phinizy, Saffrin with senior Joey Grieco (RB/S, 5-11, l75, Sr.) and QB Conley Ku (5-8, 150, Jr.) on offense.
Flint Hill’s roster possesses several key upperclassmen, such as All-State standouts Jamarian Hawkins (WR, 5-10, 170, Sr.), Trey Rucker (FS/WR, 6-1, 180, Jr.) and Woodberry transfer QB/CB, Miles Thompson (5-11, 165, Jr.) for the offensive unit.
Yet their greatest strength comes from the backfield where two 1,600-yard rushers reside in the form of Mark Lewis and Jordan Houston. Houston pushed his 1,000-yard button as a freshman in 2015 before becoming injured early last season, at which point Lewis took over and replicated the feat.
Another positive factor in the Huskies team: the defensive unit. Again, it is laden-heavy with returning upperclassmen. During the matchup, it is certain seniors Jake Daniel (DE, 6-3, 220), Xavier Forney (DE, T, 6-0, 235), and Garrett Canterbury (MLB/TE, 6-2, 170) will become factors in crucial downs.
– Jim McGrath