Ocean Lakes vs. Salem 2019 (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
The Beach District looks to be up for grabs
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
2019 is not so far away, and that season saw the rise of Princess Anne, the resurgence of Ocean Lakes, and the continued success of Salem and Landstown were among the highlights.
This Spring gives us a shortened season where we won’t get to see all Beach District teams play each other. Instead, most teams are playing five games which covers half of the district.
2021 Spring Preview: Beach District
Salem (12-1 in 2019)
The Sun Devils will follow up an undefeated 2019 regular season with a shortened season where they’ll face Princess Anne (8-3) but miss Landstown (8-4) and Ocean Lakes (8-4). Salem opens with the Cavaliers. Green Run and Kempsville could be much improved this year.
The Spring season is one where one-loss could keep a team out of the playoffs.
Salem has Saquan Miles (2022 QB 6-1 220) returning at quarterback and nine seniors on that side of the ball. Jawan Johnson (2021 RB 5-10 180) and Keimar Carter-Gatlin (2022 RB 5-10 195) will split carries in a prolific run game. Dual senior tight ends Zemarion Harrell (Coastal Carolina) and Isaiah Henderson (Air Force) can add more blocking strength and be an outlet in the passing game. Malaki Jones (St. Anselm) and Desmond Green (JMU) will be the primary targets in the passing game.
Four seniors and a sophomore will fight in the trenches for the first string offense. That’s Ethan Collingham, Nathan Jedlick, Grant Gaffney (2023), Omarion Mason, and Kevonne Miller.
“This will be a good football Team. It will take us some time to gel, due to Covid-19,” Head Coach Shawn Wilson stated. “We have some returners who are good football players.”
Many of the same players will man Salem’s “Black D”, a unit that pitched seven shutouts in 2019’s regular season.
2/26 vs. Princess Anne 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/5 at Tallwood 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/12 vs. Green Run 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/19 vs. Kempsville 7:00 p.m. Friday
4/2 vs. First Colonial 7:00 p.m. Friday
Princess Anne (8-3 in 2019)
The Cavaliers raced to the playoffs in 2019 on the backs of young talent. One key asset is gone in Tony Grimes, who decided to graduate early and move to Chapel Hill where he started as a true freshman for UNC. Also lineman Marquise Brunson graduated early and headed to Liberty.
“We lost some big time guys to early graduation as well as some guys moving out the area, but we still have a strong corps of players that love to compete and are exceptionally talented. We expect to win every game,” said Princess Anne head coach James Yeager. “That’s our goal and if we get anything less than that, we will be disappointed. Some guys are going to have to step up, but that’s the name of the game and we look forward to each player developing.”
Ryan High (2021 QB 6-3 225) transferred in from Spotswood High School, giving the Cavaliers a sure armed, pro-style signal caller. The skill positions are flush with talent. Tychaun Chapman (2022 WR/DB 5-10 170) and Zaakir Brown (2022 RB/DB 5-10 175) lead the way.
The defense is stout, featuring James Smith (2021 DE 6-4 225), Miguel Rijo (2021 LB 6-2 235), Hunter Sherman (2021 LB 6-2 225), Jayden Truesdale (2021 MLB 6-2 220), and Mike Newell (2022 WR/DB 5-11 170).
2/26 at Salem 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/5 vs. First Colonial 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/12 at Ocean Lakes 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/19 vs. Kellam 7:00 p.m. Friday
3/26 at Bayside 7:00 p.m. Friday
Ocean Lakes (8-4 in 2019)
There’s a quarterback battle at Ocean Lakes. Last year’s starter, Josh Brown (2021 QB 5-10 165), will look to fight off Landon Spell (2022 QB 6-0 170). The offensive line is a bright spot, with four seniors and a junior manning the trenches: Dominic Martini, Elijah Torres, Shawn Fahey, Luke Bevins, and Hunter Dinsmoor (2022).
Carlton Winston, Logan Istre and Karvelis Scott are the key skill players in the Dolphins’ offense.
Defensively, the anchor is Pitt commit Naquan Brown (2021 DE 6-3 205). Jason Weider, Logan Istre, Jahleel Culbreath and Robbie Jones provide the backbone of the defense as the linebacker corps. The defense is rounded out with Deshawn Boone, Carlton Winston, Nyreon Hughes and Tyler Crew manning the secondary.
We have 26 seniors on the roster. We have returning starters and guys returning with big-game experience,” said Ocean Lakes head coach Joe Jones. We are not sure how physically strong our team is this season because of 11 months with no team weight room workouts. We believe most of our projected starters have worked hard on their own since last March.”
“We MUST stay healthy & hungry. We lost a couple defensive starters from last season because of COVID, transfers in the Fall, injurjes and one (player) already left for college.”
2/26 vs. Kellam Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 at Landstown Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 vs. Princess Anne Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 at Tallwood Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 vs. Green Run 7:00 p.m.
Landstown (8-4 in 2019)
At Landstown, the strength of the team is in the trenches. Denzel Lowry (ODU), Jordan Jackson (Hampton), and Isaiah Montgomery (double-digit offers) anchor the offensive and defensive lines while head coach Tommy Reamon gets the skill positions in order.
Dwight McMasters is a senior, but a newcomer to the quarterback position. Iosefa Tanoai will be a third-year starter at tight end and defensive end. Theo Sherrod and Antonio Hoggard are likely to get a lot of touches in the Eagles’ offense.
Lowry, Jackson, Montgomery and Tanoai present a very experienced defensive front. Dante Gooden and Sherrod offer experienced leadership in the defensive secondary.
“Defensively, we should be tough up front,” Reamon said. “Our offensive line and defensive line will be our strength. An athletic youth movement of improving growth will determine the success of our season.”
2/26 at Tallwood Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 vs. Ocean Lakes Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 at Kempsville Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 vs. Bayside Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/1 vs. Cox Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Frank W. Cox (6-5 in 2019)
It should be noted that Cox has only one home game in their 2021 Spring schedule. Like every other program playing this spring, the Falcons are happy to hit the field for the first time since 2019.
Offensively, the Falcons benefit from many returning starters.
“We have age and experience in the skill positions. Most started as juniors last year and are coming back to play the same positions. All of our skill position guys are returning starters except for Cooper, who transferred from First Colonial,” said Cox head coach Bill Stachelski.
Leading the offense is returning quarterback Dylan Hauser (CNU). Joining him in the backfield is fellow CNU commit Decoreion Hunter. Dominic Wilson will be active on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and outside linebacker. Jordin Cooper (FC transfer) will play slot.
“We’re hoping to have a more balanced offense as opposed to being so run heavy (like we were) in years past,” Stachelski said. “I think that the offense has the potential to be pretty potent due to the experience in running our system.”
The Cox defense will be anchored by defensive tackle and linebacker George Ballance (son of former PA head coach and VT alum Jeff Ballance). Cooper, Hunter, Wilson and Hauser will also key the skill positions on defense. The biggest question mark for the Falcons will be the line play. If they execute, the offense will break off big plays and the defense should be able to limit the scoring of most Beach District offenses.
2/26 at Kempsville Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 vs. Bayside Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 at First Colonial Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 at Kellam Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/1 at Landstown Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Green Run (4-6 in 2019)
The Stallions may be the squad with the greatest opportunity to improve over last season. They have a hotshot young quarterback, a bunch of returning skill players and line units who are in position to prove themselves.
“Offensively we are replacing two big playmakers in Antonio Sablon (ODU) and Lakeem Rudolph (Virginia Tech) at wide receiver but return Tayon Holloway (UNC Commit) with a slew of new talent that can be very dangerous in open-field situations. If we protect the ball and manage the clock we will be tough to defend,” said Green Run head coach Brandon Williams. “Defensively is where we return the most. With Florida State commit George Wilson and counterpart Jevon Hill anchoring our defensive front, we have a chance to display our athleticism on the back end with Tayon Holloway and Quedrion Miles. That could possibly force turnovers. We will be fast and physical.”
Quarterback Xavier Davis (2022 QB 6-2 175) cut his teeth at 7v7 this past fall, and will now have the opportunity to showcase his skills with pads and helmet on. Tayon Holloway will be a key asset as a wide receiver and defensive back. Molik Mason (2022 OL/DL 6-5 300) has an opportunity to become a national-level recruit with a strong season.
3/5 vs. Kempsville Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 at Salem Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 vs. First Colonial Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 at Ocean Lakes Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/1 vs. Kellam Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Kellam (4-7 in 2019)
Kellam Football runs like clockwork. Head Coach Chris Dewitt is coming into his 22nd season coaching the Knights. Kellam will live and die by the Wing-T and they’ll look to control the clock.
“We’re smart, aggressive, and tough. Our players can play multiple positions and their skills blend well with the scheme. We will put maximum pressure on our opponents,” Dewitt said. “Our defense has the potential to be one of the most exciting we have had in years. Overall team speed and aggressiveness gives them the ability to put pressure on opposing offenses.”
Linebacker Kemari Copeland, who’s committed to Army West Point, will lead the defense. Offensively, first-year starter Will Park will command the offense from the quarterback position.
There are four returning starters on the offensive side of the ball including Gannon Moore, Cole Settlelen, Gabe McGrath, and Aiden Fellman. Moore and Settlelen are seniors while McGrath and Fellman are juniors.
There are four returning starters on the defensive side of the ball as well, including Copeland, Moore, Settlen and defensive back Lincoln Guy.
2/26 at Ocean Lakes Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 at Bayside Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 Princess Anne Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 vs. Cox Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/1 at Green Run Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Tallwood (3-7 in 2019)
Running back Gunner White (2021 RB 5-9 175) is the biggest name returning to the Lions’ roster. In his junior season, he was a First Team All-District selection and Second Team All-Region 6A selection. Other notable names include Derek Summers (2021 WR/DB 5-11 175), Thomas Nattania (2021 QB/P 6-0 180), D.K. McKelvin (2021 RB/LB 5-9 195) and Tay Revis (2021 DB/WR 6-1 170). Kamari Reynolds (2021 LB 6-1 225) transferred over from Princess Anne and will give a boost to the linebacker corps.
No preview submitted.
2/26 vs. Landstown Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 vs. Salem Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 vs. Ocean Lakes Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 at Kempsville Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/1 vs. Bayside Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Bayside (3-7 in 2019)
Athleticism is always prevalent at Bayside, and this year’s squad shows a lot of promise if they can shake off the winter rust.
“This year’s offensive group has a great work pace for us to improve upon our output from last year,” said Bayside head coach Jon White. “(Our defensive group) has a legitimate chance to be the reason why we have a dramatic improvement from last year.”
The offense has eight returning starters, including quarterback Desharn Wright (2021 QB 5-10 165). Only two offensive linemen are returning starters (Dalan Middleton and Thurland White) and that means that every other skill player is a returning starter.
The defensive side of the ball only has five returning starters, and all five are seniors: White, Aiden Pick, Justice Merritt, Ronta Dickerson and Jermain Smith.
Bayside is one of the few teams in the Beach District that gets six games on their schedule.
2/26 at First Colonial Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 at Cox Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 at Kellam Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 at Landstown Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 vs. Princess Anne Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/1 at Tallwood Thursday 7:00 p.m.
First Colonial (1-9 in 2019)
The Patriots will rely on senior leadership from Armon Fields (2021 WR/DB 6-0 190), Ryland Bunnell (2021 OL/DL 6-3 240), Cameron Burrus (2021 FB/LB 5-10 185), and Tanner Baumer (2021 OL/DL 6-2 235).
“We are a team focused on moving forward and bringing the program to new heights. We are focused on becoming a team with a ton of grit. Our team is focused on making sure get the most out of every opportunity,” said head coach Carlos Martinez.
The schedule doesn’t do FC a lot of favors since they face some of the strongest teams in the Beach District including Princess Anne and Salem, and they don’t draw Kempsville, the only team they defeated in 2019.
“Our offense is looking to make an impact this year. We are going to make sure that every defense we play will have to execute assignments. When they don’t we have to take advantage of it,” the coach explained. “Our defense is looking to make big plays this season. We will communicate and get to the ball at every opportunity.”
2/26 vs. Bayside Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 at Princess Anne Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 vs. Cox Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 at Green Run Friday 7:00 p.m.
4/2 at Salem Friday 7:00 p.m.
Kempsville (1-9 in 2019)
For a team that went 1-9 in 2019, the Chiefs bring a lot of confidence into the season. 2019 was the year of breaking a multi-season losing streak. Now head coach Daryl Cherry has a coaching staff and player group who is bought into future success.
“Kempsville is a very young team this year, with less than 10 seniors on this team. We are working to improve our win record from breaking the losing streak a year ago. We have some young guys that are ready to prove themselves and compete for starting position this season. The great news is that the majority of my players will be back in the fall,” Cherry stated. “We have a senior QB with a year under his belt that will lead our offense. With a year under a new system, Caleb has become stronger and his decision-making with the ball in his hand is important for our success.”
That quarterback is Caleb Roby (2021 QB 5-10 185). He’ll lean heavily on the playmaking skills of Quran Boyd (2023 ATH 5-10 190) and Amari Presley (2022 WR/DB 5-8 170).
Defensive end Jaylon White (2022 DE 6-4 220) is drawing the most attention from college coaches (ODU, Coastal Carolina and Bowling Green), and he’s expected to anchor the defensive line.
“I am excited about what we have and the progress that we are making. We are moving forward and the program is going in the right direction. The Kempsville Chiefs are on the move.”
2/26 vs. Cox Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/5 at Green Run Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/12 vs. Landstown Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/19 at Salem Friday 7:00 p.m.
3/26 vs. Tallwood Friday 7:00 p.m.
– Andy Hilton