- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 15:41
- Published on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 15:41
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It was rite of passage for future Northern Neck gridiron stars. On Saturday, at Caroline High School Cavalier stadium, the Colonial Beach Drifters varsity recreation team defeated Westmoreland Eagles, 37-22 to win the 2011 Rappahannock River Varsity Superbowl. Lamar Lucas led the Drifters with three touchdowns, while A.J. Phillips and Mikey Mothershead scored one apiece. As for the Eagles, Jeremy Saunders, Jared Sumeil, and Cullin Bell scored touchdowns.
During the semi-finals, Colonial Beach defeated 2011 Superbowl winner Essex, while the Eagles overwhelmed Richmond County.
The top seeded Eagles defeated the second seeded Drifters a week earlier in the final regular season game of the season, 20-19. “The guys were upset about losing the game, but at the same time they were not mad at each other,” Drifter varsity head football coach Earl Payton said. “Rather than say we would have won if so and so did that, they pointed fingers at themselves and said this is what I am going to do help this team win.”
For most players who chose to continue to play football, they will continue to see their opposing Northern Neck neighbor on the high school level long after their recreation gridiron career is over. For fans, whether they are relatives or a sports enthusiast curious about the outcome of the game, cheering for recreation
football is no different than supporting the local high school team.
Fans from both teams stood shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines, and in the stands, screaming their hearts out, with the hope that their team would ultimately prevail. As for the coaches, the recreation process is the first step towards developing a football player capable of playing on the high school level. In short, football is football, no matter how you cut it – it is what it is; a proving ground for the future of the high school football programs.
Prior to the Superbowl loss, the Eagles, complete with an undefeated record of 8-0 were the most dominate team in their division. For Eagle coach Gary Bell, the prospects of building a program of athletes with the innate football instinct to impact the high school program is priceless. “We’re trying to run some of the same offenses, and schemes as our high school team (Washington & Lee) does,” Bell said.
Bell, a long time coach in the Westmoreland football recreation program has developed solid athletes for the high school system over the years. “What I cherish the most are the fond friendships that I’ve made with these kids—it’s almost like they are family,” Bell said.
Bell’s assistant, Ricky Fones is the offensive coordinator for the undefeated Washington & Lee junior varsity football team. “Having coaches on both sides of the fence helps and develops player in the recreation department league,” Bell said. “When they get to the high school, they will recognize the same defensive and offensive schemes that they learned on the recreation program.”
Both Washington & Lee and Colonial Beach varsity recreation coaching staff place a high premium on coaching the same offensive and defensive formats on the recreation level. “We spent more time on the junior varsity level brushing up on fundamentals, and going over the mental aspect of the football,” Payton said. “It makes the transition from recreation to high school football a whole lot easier.
Payton, an assistant with the Drifter varsity football program, and the high school head junior varsity coach has won four Superbowl Championships. Like Fones, he is an important link to the high school football process. More importantly, his knowledge of the beginning of the athletes football career will be crucial one it reaches the high school level.
During the remainder of the Superbowl Championship series, Richmond County defeated Colonial Beach 19-0 in the pee wee division, while the older Drifter players in the junior varsity division edged their Richmond County counterparts, 14-12.