Coach David Bedwell addresses Hermitage postgame (Photo: Byron Jones/recruit804)
Hermitage pitches shutout in Bedwell’s first game
by Byron Jones, recruit804
David Bedwell picked up his first career win as head coach at Hermitage High School as the Panthers blanked the defending Region 5B champs 9-0. With the win, Bedwell picked up his 204th career victory and his first win since 2016. When asked about the win, Coach Bedwell stated, “I’m just excited to get it over with. I’m excited that our kids played well. I’m excited that our kids played hard, and excited our kids played physical. This one is big and something to build on. Hopefully, we can use that momentum heading into the season.”
Hermitage punted on its first possession of the contest but quickly got the ball back after a Varina mishandled a handoff (Herm-Carlos Alexander recovery). However, the Panthers weren’t able to put anything together on their following drive and turned the ball over on downs.
After missing the first quarter, Varina Quarterback Bobby Dunn entered the contest in the second period, but the Blue Devils offense wasn’t able to get things going. It was rumored before the start of the game that Dunn would not suit up. “Bobby has been having real bad headaches,” explained Head Coach Marcus Lewis. “He tried to give it a shot today, he felt like he was ready to go. He was kind of rusty because he missed a couple of days.”
In his second series of the game, Dunn’s pass was deflected by Josiah Robinson and intercepted by Jayden Simpson. However, the Panthers could not capitalize on the turnover, and their drive stalled inside the five-yard line as the first half ended.
“I messed up big before the half with clock management,” explained Bedwell. “That’s just me learning how to do things all over again. I’m learning as well as these kids. I probably could have done a better job as a coach there.”
Varina received the second-half kickoff but their drive was halted when Carlo Alexander recorded a big sack on Dunn to force a punt. Hermitage drew first blood on the ensuing drive when Nasir Shamsadeen connected on a 28-yard field goal to give them a 3-0 lead late in the third quarter.
Dunn continued to struggle in the fourth period. He was intercepted by Tai Thornton on the first drive and fumbled on the second drive (recovered by Jayden Simpson). His second turnover of the quarter led to a five-yard rushing score by Nigel James (PAT failed) to give Hermitage a 9-0 lead. James finished the evening with 130 yards on 29 carries.
The Panthers shut the door on a Blue Devils comeback when sophomore Corey Morton intercepted Dunn with a few minutes remaining in the game.
In total, Hermitage forced five Blue Devil turnovers. When asked about his defense’s performance, Bedwell stated, “Coach Nicely (D-Cord) has been around a long time. We played Varina a lot when we were coaching with each other before. We had an idea of what they were going to do, but you just never know. We got the kids to buy in with what we wanted to do. We were just trying to be physical and make them have to make plays in a hurry, and that’s what our guys did tonight.”
Hermitage will get a long break before returning to action on 3/5 against Glen Allen. The Jaguars picked up a 25-7 victory over J.R. Tucker Monday night. The Panthers will have a chance to also get some extra film on Glen Allen since they play again on 2/27 against Douglas Freeman.
Varina will be back in action against Henrico on Saturday. Blue Devil nation should not hit the panic button after one loss. Keep in mind no one was able to scrimmage, practice schedules have been a mess, and there is still a global pandemic consuming the globe. I think Coach Lewis and his staff will be fine once they find their footing.
After the game, Coach Lewis stated, “We’ve got to have a short memory and get ready for Henrico. Like I told the boys, you got to move on. We got to get better and now we have some film. We know what we got to correct now once we watch the film. We just have to continue to move forward.”
– Byron Jones