Wakefield RB Rodney Lee (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruitNoVA)
Coach Wayne Hogwood is convinced that Rodney Lee is ready for a leadership role
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
After a pair of subpar seasons (2-8 in 2016, followed by 3-8 in 2017), Coach Wayne Hogwood and the Wakefield Warriors are looking to return to the form that saw the team post consecutive eight-win seasons in 2014-15.
While quarterback Colton Poythress has graduated, Hogwood still holds high hopes, mainly because of the return of his senior-to-be running back Rodney Lee.
Lee, who resembles a human tank at 5-7 and 175, had a breakthrough season in 2017, one that began in an auspicious manner.
“It started with the first game against Washington-Lee,” said the All-National District first-team selection, minutes before catching a game-winning touchdown in a mid-afternoon game against West Potomac at the Major 7-on-7 Shootout two weeks ago. Against the Generals, Lee rambled for 193 yards and three touchdowns as the Warriors pulled out a 37-27 victory.
Although the rest of the season saw few team highlights, Wakefield did qualify for the playoffs and lost to Broad Run in its post-season opener. For Lee, there would be other big games. In a 34-28 win against National District rival Stuart, he carried 22 times for 138 yards and a touchdown. There was a 108-yard effort against Lee and its star running back Jonathan Mulatu. In all, Lee eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau, going for 1,224 rushing yards on the season and setting himself up for a banner senior campaign.
Hogwood hopes to mix up the offense in order to keep defenses off-guard. “We going to rely on the running game, but we will also throw the ball around a bit.”
While Lee didn’t catch a lot of balls last year, his catch at the Shootout showed that he can run routes and find openings in the defense.
“It was supposed to be a “go” route, but I kept running inside, got open and the quarterback found me,” said Lee of his game-winning catch. With the return of Isaiah Calfee at wide receiver, and some fast skill players, the Warrior offense should be dynamic.
“Three out of the four runners on our state 4×100 relay team (44.04 for 13th place at 5A State track meet) play football, so we’ll have some speed,” said Hogwood. Lee, who says that power is his strong suit on the field, will be working on his speed this off-season, and aiming to lower his 40-yard dash time, which is currently 4.6.
The Warriors may be hard to catch next year, but fun to watch.
– Jim McGrath
Junior season highlights for Rodney Lee: