- Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 22:32
- Published on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 22:32
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To the delight of area fans, the Northern Neck Rivermen are back for another exciting season of semi-pro football. After their debut 2009 season in the Regional American Football League, the “Green & Black” have taken a step up to the Mason Dixon Football League where they will continue their ongoing rivalry with the Fredericskburg Falcons. With an offensive line averaging 300 pounds and a quarterback in the form of Gage Ford to lead them to a possible league championship, morale is high within the ranks of the Rivermen. Ford played a crucial role in leading his high school alma mater, James Monroe, to a state championship in 2009. During the off-season, Cornwell recruited a contingent of linemen to anchor his offensive line.
“We’re due for a playoff birth, and anything short of that would be a disappointing season,” Northern Neck head coach Dennis Cornwell said during a recent practice at Monroe Park. “Every guy on this team knows we’re a playoff team, we just have to go out there and make the plays.”
With a cast of speedy wide receivers who can run after they catch the ball, the Rivermen have an explosive arsenal of big play talent. The receiver corps includes the talents of Josh Steele, Walt Covington, Adwela Dawes, and former Washington and Lee standout Jermaine Weldon.
Utilizing speed and Ford’s uncanny ability to read defense in a flash, the Rivermen will feature former King George standout Aaron Lewis at tail back in their spread offensive. In special situations that require the power of a fullback, the Rivermen will look to another Washington and Lee alumni in the form of Ellis Pierce. Combined with the obvious threat at the skilled position of wide receiver, the running game will present a challenge to rival teams, as gaping holes created by the tackles will soon become the norm for the Rivermen.
Other Rivermen players who played for local high school teams are: DeAndre Scott, King George; Demetrius Byrd, King George; Dominic Fields, King George; and Ralph Stephani, King George.
The bottom line for the Rivermen this season is winning. After overpowering the Richmond Ravens and routing the Virginia Monarchs, every team in the Mason Dixon Football League will be taking the Rivermen serious.
“They really want to prove they belong here, and that they can make a run for the championship just like anyone else,” Cornwell.
Last season, Cornwell ran the team alone, but this season he has a committed staff of assistants. Erika Cornwell will handle administrative behind the scene team decisions. Cornwell is confident that his staff, led by defensive coordinator Jim McClain, will put together the right game plan each week as they battle for their rightful place in the playoffs.
“I believe some of the teams that we played, and some of the people that know us as the Rivermen will be surprised with what we bring to the table this season,” Cornwell said.