Varina QB Bobby Dunn (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit804)
Capital District 2021 Spring Preview
by Byron Jones, recruit804
Capital District teams posted a combined 48-43 record in 2019. Four district teams made post season appearances. Varina and Patrick Henry appeared in the state semi-finals in their respective divisions, while Highland Springs quest for an unprecedented fifth consecutive state title came to an end in the regional semi-finals. Henrico was eliminated in the first round.
Because Richmond City Schools have opted out of Fall and Winter Sports, Armstrong will not compete in the spring season.
2021 Spring Preview
*Previews listed by 2019 Record*
Varina (2019 11-3. Division 5 State Semi Finals. Offense PPG: 45.7 Defense PPG: 13.7)
The Blue Devils made a lot of noise in 2019 and are poised to do the same in the spring. In his first year as the starter, quarterback Bobby Dunn threw for 2,448 yards and 30 touchdowns. Head Coach Marcus Lewis couldn’t have asked for a better leader to guide his offense in his first season leading the program. “One of our biggest strengths is having an experienced quarterback like Bobby running the show,” explained Lewis. “He led our team to a regional championship last season with a lot of other talented players. Having him back is without a doubt our biggest strength on offense.”
Other key offensive players include RB Jailen Walker (JMU), WR Isiah Reid, WR Carlo Thompson, OL Caleb Gosney (ODU), and OL Malachi Patterson.
On defense, Varina’s strength lies at the linebacker position. LB’s Jaden Carthorne, Jailen Walker (JMU), and Jalen Murphy are all returning starters from 2019. Other key names include DB Kenneth “BJ” Lowery, DL Omarion Robinson, and FS Quincy Jefferson (Catawba).
2/22 7PM Hermitage
2/27 7PM @ Henrico
3/5 7PM @ Tucker
3/12 7PM @ Deep Run
3/26 7PM Freeman
4/2 7PM Highland Springs
Highland Springs (2019 11-1. Division 5 Regional Semi Finals. Offense PPG: 33.7 Defense PPG: 12.5)
The Springers saw their 40-game winning streak and bid for a fifth straight state title end in the 5B semi-finals at the hands of east-end rival Varina. Highland Springs will have several fresh faces on the offensive side of the ball. Wide Receivers Quanyae Veney, Latrell Sutton, and TaKye Heath are three underclassmen who all hold Division I offers and will make a big impact right away.
Returning starters include RB Jordan Jackson (St. Francis), Mike Hodge (multiple D-I offers), and Kicker Jayden Alsheskie. Quarterback Juwan Dent will lead the offense after splitting time with Jamareeh Jones in 2019.
Defensively, the Springers will be very experienced up front. Kelvin Gilliam (Oklahoma), Rashaud Pernell (multiple D-I offers), and Payton Jackson are returning starters. The secondary will be led by Damond Harmon (Oklahoma), Jamareeh Jones (Boston College), and Jabari Parker (Virginia Tech).
2/27 3PM @ Godwin
3/6 Noon @ Henrico
3/12 7PM @ Glen Allen
3/19 7PM @ Deep Run
3/26 7PM @ Tucker
4/2 7PM @ Varina
Patrick Henry (2019 10-4. Division 4 State Semi-Finals. Offense PPG: 29.1 Defense PPG: 15.2)
In his first year at Patrick Henry, Head Coach Ken Wakefield led the Patriots on a magical run to the state semi-finals. Returning on offense for the Patriots will be QB Jordan Allen (split time w/ Alex Sikkar), R Zeik Williams, WR Jayden Mines, RB Christian Berry, TE Camden Byrd, and OL Maddox Radcliffe.
The defensive unit also returns a large portion of starters from 2019. LB Nick Sikkar, LB Dylan Schloss, LB James Epps, and DE James Valentine headline the returning starters on that side of the ball.
Hanover County Schools will only compete amongst each other in the spring.
2/26 7PM @ Atlee
3/5 6PM @ Hanover
3/12 6PM Mechanicsville
3/19 7PM Atlee
3/26 6PM Hanover
4/2 6PM @ Mechanicsville
Henrico (2019 6-5. First-Round Region 5B Playoffs. Offense PPG: 28.9 Defense PPG: 22.5)
After posting a 10-2 record in 2018, the Warriors took a step back in 2019. Jalon Jones (Jackson State), Ja’Had Carter (Syracuse), and Kahlil Finger (VMI) had a lot to do with their success that season and were missed in 2019.
Coach Glasco will have some depth and talent returning for the spring. Those players include Pfeniox Brown- four-year starter on the offensive and defensive line; WR/DB Kamaree Wells – three-year starter with five D-I offers; ATH Marquee Harvey- three-year starter; WR/DB Kaveion Keys.
3/6 Noon Highland Springs
3/12 7PM @ Freeman
3/19 7PM @ Hermitage
3/26 7PM @ Godwin
4/2 7PM Glen Allen
Atlee (2019 4-6. Offense PPG: 27.5 Defense PPG: 22.8)
Atlee could be a team on the rise out of the Capital District. They have a solid group of sophomores and juniors in their program and the spring will allow them a chance to prepare for the future. “This is the strongest team I’ve had in my five years at the school,” explained Coach Matt Gray. “We have great size and depth within our sophomore and junior class.”
The Raiders run the wing-t and have a stable of horses that can tote the rock. Eric Rankin (VMI), Keith Green, and Caleb Warren will hear their names called several times this season. These three will also start at linebacker.
Other notable players expected to see time on both sides of the ball include Owen Ham (OL/DL), Zedric Hayes (OL/DL), Braden Eastman (LB/TE), and Zion Bryson (TE/DL).
2/26 7PM Patrick Henry
3/5 7PM @ Mechanicsville
3/12 7PM @ Hanover
3/19 7PM @ Patrick Henry
3/26 7PM Mechanicsville
4/2 7PM Hanover
Mechanicsville (2019 3-7. Offense PPG: 14.5 Defense PPG: 29.3)
Mechanicsville (formerly Lee-Davis) had a two-win improvement from its 1-9 campaign in 2018. Head Coach Ryan Turnage is confident that his team will continue to head in the right direction. “Our team has improved well during the extended break,” stated Turnage. “Many of our players found a way to have a great off-season, despite the unusual circumstances. We have a group that is close and are willing to play for each other.”
Mechanicsville’s biggest strength this season will be along the offensive and defensive line. Leaders of these groups include Alex Reid, Tyler Stevens, Kyle Whitlock and Cristian Lanier.
Other key players include Logan Harris (QB), Dallas Hairfield (WR), Chase Stalleman (RB), Eric Drozdowicz (RB), Jack Hawley (RB), Davis Williams (LB), and Antonio Drozdowicz (DB)
2/26 6PM @ Hanover
3/5 6PM Atlee
3/12 6PM @ Patrick Henry
3/19 6PM Hanover
3/26 7PM @ Atlee
4/2 6PM Patrick Henry
Hanover (2019 1-9. Offense PPG: 8.5 Defense PPG: 44.5)
The Hanover Hawks have had a rough go at it for several seasons but their luck might soon change. Former Hanover and Virginia Tech standout Sam Rogers, enters his first season at the helm of his alma mater. Rogers was a fan favorite during his time in Blacksburg due to has hard-nosed attitude and gritty work ethic.
I expect Rogers to build Hanover into a serious contender in the years to come. *No preview was submitted*
2/26 6PM Mechanicsville
3/5 6PM Patrick Henry
3/12 7PM Atlee
3/19 6PM @Mechanicsville
3/26 6PM @ Patrick Henry
4/2 7PM @ Atlee
– Byron Jones