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A Drifter fall sports season of triumphs and rebuilding


The 2009 Drifter fall sports had its share of celebrations and tribulations. The Drifters girls middle school basketball defeated Lancaster to win their district championship. The varsity high school cheerleading team beat out the rest of the Northern Neck to win the coveted crown. The Drifters (218) narrowly defeated district runner-up Essex (215) by three points. Jennifer Grigsby completed the Drifter sweep by winning Coach of the Year.
Within the small network of sports teams associated with Colonial Beach is sense of resilience and fortitude. Although the six-year reign of Drifters gridiron dominance ended on losing note to W&L (41-0), they will remember images of senior running back Travis Cundiff finishing the season with 996 yards on 125 carries — including 13 touchdowns. Cundiff was the heir apparent to former Drifter great and all-time rushing leader Foster. Cundiff is a rare football commodity. Constantly put to the test, Cundiff consistently punished opposing defenders with a slashing style of movement that made life difficult for opposing teams.

During the game against Surry, he rushed for 151 yards, scoring two touchdowns, and grabbing one interception against Surry High School last week. The U.S. Army Baltimore Recruiting Station announced Colonial Beach running back Travis Cundiff as the “Army Iron Man of the Week,” and the best two-way high school football player in the battalion’s northern Virginia recruiting territory. Cundiff is the sixth player this season to receive this prodigious honor.
In the true fashion of iron man football, Cundiff returned l1 kickoffs for 236 yards. On the defensive side of the ball Cundiff showed no mercy. Wherever the ball was on the opposing rival side of the field, you can be assured that Cundiff was in the vicinity or lurking in the shadows of a rival ball carrier.
Equally as tough was No. 16, also known as the Drifters “Miracle Worker” Dylan Farinet. Throughout the years, since the time he entered the Drifters football program, Farinet has worn the badge of courage through injury, triumph and defeat. Limping from a nagging leg injury throughout the season, Farinet never complained. The basketball star turned quarterback nearly led his team to the regional championship in 2008; however, through attrition and entering a new league that featured tougher competition, the gridiron star and his team were left with a 2-3, 4-6 record to remember. Farinet finished his senior season completing 62 passes for 879 yards, featuring 13 touchdowns — and averaging 87.9 rushing yards per game and 120 passing yards per game.
After losing the first games in the final quarter by less than touchdown, and rallying late in the season to fight for playoff spot, the Drifter head coach Jeremy Jack is proud of his team’s first year back in the Northern Neck Division.
“Although we entered a new district this year I thought our play was fairly good,” Jack said. “We could have very easily finished 8-2 had we eliminated turnovers and kept our lead in the King George, Manassas Park, Geroge Mason and Lancaster games.”
Throughout his coaching career, Jack has encouraged his coaches and players to focus on the challenges ahead.
“This year we won the easy games, but when it came to push and shove, we unfortunately were the team being shoved, but next season we will return our entire offensive line from tight-end to tight-end, which is very exciting as they are battle tested — and provided their effort in the weight room this off season, we should do well next year,” Jack said.
The Drifters primary feeder program is their junior varsity, but due to low numbers in participation, half of their season was canceled.
The Drifter volleyball (0-10, 2-13) program may not have produced a winning record, but they did demonstrate teamwork and an innate sense of resilience throughout the season.
“This year was definitely a learning experience for us,” Drifter volleyball head coach Casey Johnson said. “We played in an extremely talented district this year, our first in the Northern Neck. I think that our girls learned that it will take a lot of work in order to be competitive.”
He added that every player on roster got better individually. The three seniors, Melissa Webb, Britni Devers, and Candi Jackson, provided great leadership throughout the season. The Drifters began the year with 15 girls and ended with 15, which shows their commitment to getting better. Of the 15 girls who played this year, two thirds of them were playing for the first time. Johnson has indicated that he is excited about returning next season as the Drifters head coach.

Leonard M. Banks
The Journal

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