Monday, December 31, 2012

A Final Look Back at 2012.....

It feels like we just christened 2012, and now it's time to say goodbye.  As we do, we'll just make a quick list of just some things we are thankful to have experienced, and covered, whether wins or losses, here on and on our Twitter feed, @hanoversports.....

---Patrick Henry girls basketball winning the Colonial District regular season crown....
---their heartbreaking loss at the buzzer to Deep Run in the tournament semifinals....
---and their 23-3 overall record.
---Watching Katie Anderson finish with 1,509 career points, knowing she was headed to Macon...

---strong performances by Lee-Davis and Hanover in wrestling action, including Tanner Tinsley of the Hawks winning the state championship at 170 pounds, a year after winning it all at 152...
---all the other wrestlers who won Capital District titles....

---Atlee sweeping the boys and girls Central Region swimming championships...

---appreciating the careers of Maggie Roy, Jillian Asay, Taylor Wieczorek, Molly Brown, Calvin Croskey and Adam Desgain at Crenshaw Gymnasium...
---Jordan Walton being named first-team all-state baseball and signing with the St. Louis Cardinals...

---great baseball pitching, including Kyle Palmer of Patrick Henry, Michael Thomas of Lee-Davis, Chris Childress of Hanover, Luke Bolka of Atlee and others...
---#3 seed Atlee winning the Capital District Tournament and a berth in the Central Region Tourney...

---an INCREDIBLE season of softball:
     ---Lee-Davis overcoming the loss of Kelly Heinz on the mound to win the Capital District regular season crown and seeing their season end at the hands of eventual state champion Cosby...
     ---Hanover being the only county team not to make regionals, even though they beat Lee-Davis, Atlee, AND Patrick Henry during the regular season...
     ---Atlee, from the #3 seed, winning the Capital District Tournament and gamely fighting Patrick Henry before falling in the regional semis...
     ---...and of course, the memorable Patrick Henry Patriots, who won the Colonial District, finished 2nd to Cosby in the Central Region, won two games in Northern Virginia, and fell in a 10-inning classic, again to Cosby, 3-2, in the state championship game.

The softball names of 2012 are many, and in no particular order: Jessica Holte, Delani Ferrar, Taylor Sutherland, Shelby Hill, MacKenzie Keyes, Lexi Cumbia, Cameron Hall, Blair Jones, Kiandra Mitchum, Shannon Albright, Erica Barrett, Brooke Throckmorton, Lynnse Caler, Maura Long, Lauren McIntyre, Haleigh Cottrell, Amy Wingfield, Taylor Deemer, Ryleigh Hawker, Lacie Madison, Casey Price, Victoria Houff, Lynsee Stonebreaker, Becca Fields, Madison Gilman, Emma Mitchell, Sam Moore, Katie Woody, Ashley Samuels, Paige Mitchell, Ellen Davidson, Hunter Glave, Allison Tingler, and so many others...

---Our summer was filled with a journey for the ages with the Mechanicsville Post 175 American Legion baseball team as they won 23 consecutive games before finishing third in the State Tournament in August.  N.C. State recruit Andrew Knizner of Hanover led the way with his bat and fine shortstop play for a team filled with some of the best players from Hanover, Lee-Davis, and Atlee high schools...

---Two trips to RIR for NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, including one race (September) that didn't end until after 12:30am due to rain delays...
---An afternoon with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Patrick Henry...

---A five-set volleyball match for the ages from Patrick Henry's boys team, falling 15-13 in the tiebreaker at Colonial District champion Douglas Freeman...then beating Deep Run on Senior Night to cement the return of the program.
---A strong run by the Lee-Davis girls volleyball team to the Central Region finals, earning a berth in the State Tournament...

---and, of course, the Atlee girls volleyball team, who swept through the Capital District and Central Region, losing only two matches during the regular season at the Tournament of Champions in Roanoke in October, then ousting Ocean Lakes in the state quarters and Stone Bridge in the state semis before falling to Kellam in five sets in the title tilt at the Siegel Center in November.  Atlee had Championship Point in the fourth set at 24-23 before falling.

We'll miss Hailey Brooks, Karlie Suber, Kayleigh Moody and Stella Thai, but look forward to the returning core of Kylah Blackmore, Melanie Snyder (who just returned from the U.S. Volleyball Training Center in Colorado Springs), Rachel Stanford, Clarke Tyler, and Molly Jarvis....

---Patrick Henry girls winning the Colonial District outdoor track crown, and the Atlee boys and girls sweeping the Capital....

---And football.

Football brought us:

---a 2,000 yard rusher in Atlee's Morris only 9 games, scoring 33 touchdowns...
---an almost 2,000 yard rusher in Lee-Davis' Chris Simpson, who helped his team clinch the top seed in the Division 5 playoffs and first home playoff game in 15 years...
---Kenner Berry, who threw for over 2,250 yards for a prolific Atlee offense, with his favorite receiver, Chad Jacob, receiving many post-season honors at tight end...
---the emergence of Travis Phillips as one of the state's best wide receivers at Patrick Henry...
---and the Hanover Hawks, who overcame a second season of injury issues, got help in week 10, made it back to the playoffs, won the Central Region on the road, and hosted their first-ever state semifinal, falling 28-21 to Stone Bridge.

Some of the football names other than those above?

Tyler Phelps, Nathan Boone, Bryson Wong, Otis Harris (who gained 1,000 yards rushing for PH), Daniel Fogleman, Josh Hutto, Thomas Brooks, L.J. Jones (3,300 yards in two years), Josh Harris, Donte Haynesworth (he'll be playing in college after this season), Brennan Gary, Usman Mahmood, Deshaun Rogers, Mark Reisenweaver, Donald Kidd, Brandon Sulser, Austin Rice, Jordon Prentiss, Blake Stattelman,   Russell Munn, Tye Burriss, Ross Gardner, Reid Ramey, Tanner Ramey, just to name a few.  :)

We've been so amazed by the stories, performances, and people from Little League to high school, college to NASCAR, and thankful to have witnessed so much in the year of 2012.

Bring on 2013!

Happy New Year from!!

Friday, December 28, 2012


Boys Basketball:

Hopewell 71, Patrick Henry 47 (1st round of Fort Lee Holiday Tournament; PH, now 3-6, battles Dinwiddie in consolation bracket Friday at 3pm.

Girls Basketball:

Atlee 56, Tallwood 52 (OT) (first win of the season for the Lady Raiders, competing at the Boo Williams/Ronald Curry Classic in Hampton.  They'll play Lakeland at 3pm Friday)

J.R. Tucker 58, Hanover 37 (semis of Clover Hill Winter Break Tournament; Hawks, now 1-5, play Clover Hill in 3rd place game Friday at 5:30pm. Glen Allen and J.R. Tucker will play afterwards for the tournament title...)

Other games on Friday:

Atlee at St. Christopher's, 7:15pm
Caroline at Lee-Davis, 7pm

Thursday, December 27, 2012

All-Metro Football Team Honors!

Congratulations to the following Hanover County players selected to the All-Metro Football Team:

1st Team Offense: Chris Simpson (RB), Lee-Davis; Morris Jackson (RB), Atlee; Sam Rogers (Utility), Hanover; Chad Jacob (TE), Atlee

2nd Team Offense: Josh Hutto (OL), Hanover; Alec Eberle (OL), Atlee; Travis Phillips (WR), Patrick Henry; Donte Haynesworth (WR), Hanover; L.J. Jones (RB), Hanover

2nd Team Defense: Donald Kidd (DL), Lee-Davis; David Crytser (LB), Hanover

Honorable Mention: Nick Clarke (C), Atlee; Russell Munn (OL), Lee-Davis

First and Second Team members will be honored at the 2013 Banquet on January 24th at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa in Short Pump.

OUR TAKE: Great call on all of the above candidates and very well deserved.  The only glaring exception is Kenner Berry of Atlee, who threw for 20 touchdowns and over 2,250 yards on a team hampered with problems on defense and special teams that weren't of his own doing.  An Honorable Mention for Berry would have been appropriate.

Congratulations to all of our student-athletes here in Hanover County!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SATURDAY WRAP: Green Dragon Relays, PH in T-DIT....

The 30th Annual Green Dragon Relays took place Saturday in Richmond's Arthur Ashe Center, with Lee-Davis and Atlee participating and turning in several strong performances!

--Madison Angus of Lee-Davis finished 3rd in the girls pole vault at 9 1/2 feet...
--Michael Doggett of Lee-Davis finished 3rd in the boys pole vault at 12 feet...
--Austin Cannon of Atlee WON the boys shot put at 50 feet, 3.5 inches, his teammate Evan Griffey placed 3rd at 44 feet, 3 inches...
--Logan Shearon of Atlee, a freshman, placed 3rd in the girls high jump at 4 1/2 feet, just ahead of Lee-Davis' Dawnyshia Griffin...
--Dallas Tennessee of Lee-Davis finished 2nd in the girls long jump at 17 feet, 1/2 inch...
-- India Lowe of Atlee was 4th in the girls triple jump at 32 feet, 7 inches, followed by teammate Cierra Shelton in 5th (32 feet, 2 3/4 inches)..
--Derek Henderson of Atlee was 4th in the boys triple jump (38 feet, 4 3/4 inches), followed by teammate Javaughn Gordon at 38 feet, 1/2 inch.

In track events....

--David Segovia of Atlee WON the boys 55 meter hurdles in 8.23; Lee Warren of Lee-Davis finished 3rd at 8.27 with Atlee's T.J. Warren 5th at 8.70.
--Bonny Turnage of Lee-Davis easily WON the girls 1600 meters (5:31.49), with teammate Hailey Warren finishing second in 5:43.82.
--Maggie Morgan of Lee-Davis WON the girls 1000 meter freshman run in 3:39.44, with 8th grader Mary Kate Roberson of Atlee placing 2nd (3:47.83) and Lee-Davis' Shelby Rathert third (3:49.82).
--Michael Bright of Atlee finished 2nd in the boys 1000 meter freshman run in 3:05.60.
--Highland Springs won the girls 4 X 200 relay in 1:54.67, but Lee-Davis and Atlee placed 2nd and 3rd respectively (1:56.29 and 1:56.37).
--Lee-Davis finished second to Highland Springs in the boys 4 X 200 relay at 1:41.85...
--Atlee cruised to VICTORY in the girls and boys 4 X 800 relays: the girls won in 10:58.34, the boys at 8:55.89.  The girls won by 30 seconds, the boys by nearly seven.
--Atlee and Lee-Davis finished one-two in the girls 4 X 400 freshman relay....
--Lee-Davis WON the boys 4 X 400 freshmen relay in 4:08.73...
--Lee-Davis took second in the girls 4 X 400 relay in 4:32.66...

And in the final race of the day, Atlee fell just short of winning the boys 4 X 400 relay, finishing second to Varina.  The Blue Devils came in at 3:46.97, the Raiders under a second behind at 3:47.63. Lee-Davis was third at 3:50.88.

Congrats to all participants!!


Unfortunately for Patrick Henry's girls basketball Saturday, their shooting was as icy as the cold drink containers in the concession stand.  Varina took full advantage of the Patriot baskets not falling to retake a lead, then hold on to defeat Patrick Henry 62-60 in the 5th place game of the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament at the Siegel Center Saturday afternoon.

Summer Price, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, poured in 32 points, half of them in the fourth quarter when the Patriots were desperately trying to erase a small but consistent Varina lead.  Jasmine Pinder had one of her better offensive outputs in some time, scoring 14.  Amber Lee had 6, low for her, as she was bit by the "cold shooting bug", as were others, in the second half.  Three-pointers, runners in the lane, even a point-blank layup for Price, all missing their mark.

That was enough of an opening to allow Varina, led by Mia Fitts' 19 points, to erase a 31-27 halftime deficit to march to victory. Varina moves to 10-1 with the win, while Patrick Henry moves to 9-2 and must next prepare to play the one team they did defeat in the tournament, Deep Run, on Thursday January 3rd when Colonial District play heats up.

Patrick Henry is alone in first in the Colonial at 5-0, while every other team has at least two district losses.  The Patriots beat Deep Run in a nip and tuck battle Friday 52-49.

Friday, December 21, 2012

PH survives "non-district" test with Deep Run....

They aren't officially meeting for the first time in Colonial District play until January 3rd in Ashland, but, Patrick Henry and Deep Run found themselves paired Friday evening in the consolation bracket of the T-DIT, attempting to avoid the dreaded 9am game for 7th place on Saturday.

The lead went back and forth much of the first half, as the Wildcats found ways to make the Patriots seem tense controlling the basketball.  But their five turnovers in the second quarter were a far cry from their 12 in the same quarter in round one yesterday against Highland Springs.

The Patriots built a four-point lead, but, Amanda Turner gave Patrick Henry nightmare flashbacks of the game-winning shot that knocked the Patriots out of last year's Colonial District tournament, nailing a half-court three-pointer at the buzzer to bring Deep Run within one at 25-24.

The Patriots played their best ball in the third and early fourth quarter, better controlling the ball and quietly building an eleven-point lead, as India Coles lit up the Wildcats for seven points during the span.  But Deep Run had one more run in them, and, four minutes later, they tied the game at 46-46 on an Alley Odell basket.

It was nip and tuck the rest of the way, Amber Lee scoring to make it 50-48 Patrick Henry, then Turner making a free throw to cut the lead to 50-49 with 49 seconds left. Tyler Pinder was fouled, but missed a one-and-one and in spite of a Lee offensive rebound not converted into points, Deep Run had the ball with a chance to win.

The seconds ticked away until, with four to go, Megan Fitzsimmons found the ball in the lane after it had been blocked by the Patriots.  Her shot from 12 feet went in.....and out of the basket.  Lee rebounded, was fouled with 2.2 seconds to go, and the junior calmly sank both free throws for a 52-49 edge.

The Wildcats got off an anemic three-point attempt at the buzzer from 45 feet that fell way short, and the Patriots breathed a sigh of relief.

Patrick Henry moves to 9-1 on the year, and now they know exactly who their #1 rival in the district will be come January and beyond.  This is no surprise, as most prognosticators predicted Deep Run would win the Colonial this season.

This tournament game does not count in the district standings, but their games January 3rd in Ashland and February 8th in Twin Hickory do.

And don't be shocked if there's a fourth and final matchup in the Colonial District tournament.

Patrick Henry will play Varina, 61-51 winners over Prince George in the other consolation bracket game, for 5th place at 12noon at the Siegel Center.  Deep Run and Prince George will tip off for 7th place at 9am.

Twas The Weekend Before Christmas.....

...and teams were busy!

Patrick Henry basketball plays Deep Run at 6pm in the consolation bracket of the T-DIT Tournament at St. Christopher's.  If they win, they play at the Siegel Center Saturday at noon.  If they lose, they'll play at 9am.  Tonight's game will NOT count in Colonial District standings.....

Atlee hosts the Raider Wrestling Duels welcoming teams from around the area and other parts of Virginia beginning at 9am Saturday.

Meanwhile the annual Green Dragon Relays, presented by Maggie Walker Governors School, take place at the Arthur Ashe Center all day Saturday.  Atlee, Lee-Davis, and Hanover are all participating.....

Hidden Gem: Atlee Falls To Hermitage in Overtime....

Going into Thursday night, all eyes were on Patrick Henry girls basketball as they prepared to face Highland Springs in a battle of unbeatens in the first round of the T-DIT Tournament.

By night's end, the Patriots were licking their wounds and another game took center stage in an overtime thriller.

Summer Price led PH with 14 points, who fell hopelessly behind, committing 21 first half turnovers due to a withering full-court pressure defense by the Springers (4-0). The final, 72-43, was Patrick Henry's largest margin of defeat in at least two years.....

The Patriots (8-1) will now face Colonial District foe Deep Run, who lost to St. Catherine's 54-43, tonight at 6pm at St. Christopher's.  The game will not count in district standings.  A win puts PH in the consolation game at 12noon Saturday, a loss means they play in the 5th place game at 9am.  Saturday's game will be played at the Siegel Center.


This reporter arrived to Hermitage High following the Patriots game to find a 12-12 tie in boys hoops action late in the first quarter.  I settled in, and watched an excellent game unfold.

Atlee looked nothing like a team on a seven-game losing streak, and Hermitage was not playing up to the potential they showed last week in their fourth-quarter comeback win over Patrick Henry in Ashland. The Raiders were pleased to take a 34-30 halftime lead to the locker room and came out strong in the second half, despite the foul totals piling up all around them.

A Quincy Randolf basket with 11 seconds left in the third gave Atlee what would be their biggest lead at 8 points, 52-44.  But credit Hermitage for a quick resurgence early in the fourth, going on a 7-0 run to make it 56-55 with 4 minutes to play.  Brian Miller sank four straight free throws in a nearly two minute stretch and the Raider defense clamped down on the Panthers, building a 60-55 edge with 2:23 to go.

Hermitage answered with five points of their own to tie the game at 1:54 left. An Atlee shot at an easy fast break layup was mishandled and Hermitage took over, but couldn't convert, and, when Miller hit two more free throws with 1:15 left, it was 62-60 Atlee.

25 seconds later, again, Miller reached the charity stripe.  This time, though, he couldn't convert on the front end of a one-and-one, and Hermitage took full advantage.  Nico Johnson's drive to the hoop drew a foul, and, with 25 seconds left in regulation, Johnson calmly sank both free throws to tie the game at 62-62.

The Raiders set up a play for the game-winning shot, and, after multiple attempts to drive, Miller found an opening, got inside the lane, but his running floater at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim.


Atlee, who lost one player to fouls in the 4th, lost two more in overtime, severely hampering the rotation.  Hermitage took its first lead since the first half 18 seconds into the extra session. Atlee spent most of the overtime playing the role of Hermitage, keep pacing but not overcoming the deficit.....until, when Miller's two-pointer tied the game at 68-68 with 1:52 left.

From there, the Panthers went on their final run, getting two baskets on tip-ins, rebounding the ball on Atlee at the offensive end at will, to built a 72-69 lead.  The Raiders cut it to one on free throws with 26 seconds left.  Nico Johnson hit one of two free throws and it was 73-71, 18 seconds were left, and Atlee had the ball.

Brian Miller calmly brought the ball into the frontcourt, Atlee ran their offensive, trying to get Miller loose for a jumper, but the Panthers wisely kept him in check, and, when his desperation shot wedged between the rim and the backboard as the buzzer sounded, the game ended in a thud, literally and figuratively.

Frustrations were high as the Raiders left the Hermitage court knowing they let one get away in a season where, especially in their district, wins will be hard to come by.  Miller led the Raiders with 26 points, but certainly wishes he was better than 7-for-13 at the charity stripe.  Rashaun Winters added 16 points and played great late-game defense in spite of being hampered with four fouls.

Atlee, now 1-8, rest for Christmas, then return to practice to prepare for a game at St. Christopher's on Friday, December 28th. The Saints rolled over Thomas Jefferson 67-38 Thursday in the first round of the boys bracket of the T-DIT.

The Atlee girls also fell at Hermitage Thursday night, losing 73-61.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lee-Davis Splits With Dinwiddie.....

The home teams held court on Wednesday night......

In Mechanicsville, Imani Boothe had 14 points while Kerstin Winston dropped 11 and Olivia Tuck 10 and Lee-Davis kept the Dinwiddie Generals girls' team winless in 2012-13 with a 51-36 victory.  The loss snapped a losing streak, improving the Lady Confederates record to 3-6.

In Dinwiddie, Ladarein Autry poured in 29 points and Josh Brown added 11 but it wasn't enough as Dinwiddie defeated the C'Feds 78-62 to go to 3-5 on the season.  The Confederates started hot, grabbing a seven-point lead after one quarter, a three point edge at the break.  But Dinwiddie roared back after scoring just 29 in the first half to score 23 in the third quarter and 26 in the fourth to break the game open.

Lee-Davis returns to action next Friday 12/28 when they host Group AA Caroline......

JV Boys Basketball Final: Dinwiddie 63, Lee-Davis 50......

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Randolph-Macon Plays Complete 40 Minutes....

Though Randolph-Macon could point to its amazingly difficult schedule to explain its 3-5 start (the combined record of their first nine opponents was 59-19), the Jackets were much more introspect coming into the home game against 9-1 Salisbury (Md.) Wednesday night.

"We worked hard to play our game," said forward Andre Simon, a game consisting of pressure defense, transition, limiting opponents shot opportunities and counting on their inside-out approach to generate offense.

The Jackets fired on all cylinders Wednesday, defeating Salisbury 77-55 to improve to 4-5 overall.

"Tonight was the first time this year we played consistently our game over 40 minutes," said Randolph-Macon head coach Nathan Davis.

Facing another possible mountain to climb when the Sea Gulls took a 24-17 lead halfway through the first half, the Jackets went on a 22-6 run in the last 8:56, fueled by two straight traditional three-point plays by Simon to give R-MC a 25-24 lead.

Dylan Robeson answered with a three-point shot to give Salisbury what would be their final lead at 27-25. The Jackets rallied in a stretch that included a basket by Simon, a Dylan Cole block, two missed free throws by Salisbury center Trent Epps, and a stretch where Joe Hassell tallied a basket, two free throws and three rebounds. When Hassell ended the scoring with a layup with one second left, the halftime tally was 39-30.

The Jackets quickly opened the lead to 12 before Salisbury mounted its best comeback attempt of the second half, scoring seven unanswered to cut the Macon lead to 47-43. But the Jackets stopped the rally, and went on a tear.

Over the next 5 1/2 minutes, the Jackets went on a 14-0 run, and when the Sea Gulls took a timeout at 6:53 to go, it was 61-43.

Transition baskets picked up in the final minutes as, eventually, benches were emptied and everyone got playing time.  The Jackets found it a much easier go cutting toward the basket for extra passes to open teammates for layups, including two by Andre Simon that were eye-popping.

Also in double figures were Hassell with 13 points and Connor Sullivan with 10.  The Jackets outrebounded Salisbury 41-28.

Tomorrow begins a mandatory week off for the Christmas holiday.  The Jackets return to practice on December 27th to prepare for their annual Coaches Classic, which begins December 29th at 3pm when R-MC takes on Washington College.


The Patrick Henry girls basketball team was finally back at full strength and, though they struggled in the second half, they maintained their first half lead to hold off Mills Godwin 50-39 Tuesday to improve to 5-0 in the Colonial District, 8-0 overall.  This gives the Patriots a two-game lead in the district over four teams with two losses: Deep Run, Godwin, Hermitage and John Marshall.  Patrick Henry has defeated the latter three and will host Deep Run on January 3rd.

The Patriots next meet Highland Springs in round one of the 2012 Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament, Thursday at 6pm at Benedictine.

In other action, the Lee-Davis girls were overwhelmed on the road at Glen Allen 59-18. The Confederates, now 0-3 in the Capital District, 3-6 overall, next face Dinwiddie tonight (Wednesday) at 7pm....

In boys action, Glen Allen bested Lee-Davis in Mechanicsville 68-51 in Capital action, while Patrick Henry lost their fourth straight at home, 54-46 to Mills Godwin.

COLLEGE: In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Randolph-Macon women's basketball team fell to 1-10 with a 70-56 loss to Curry College.  Hannah Livermon led the Jackets with 16 points, followed by Sarah Parsons with 15. The Jackets are off until January 5th when they return to ODAC play at Guilford.

Monday, December 17, 2012


HIGH SCHOOL: Atlee boys overwhelmed by turnovers and the speed of Varina tonight, with the Blue Devils winning 87-44 to move to 7-1 on the year. Brian Miller scored 14 for the Raiders, while Quincy Randolph added 10.

Armstrong handed Hanover its first loss of the year, both overall and the highly competitive Capital District, defeating the Hawks 79-69.  The Hawks are 1-1 in district, 3-1 overall...

GIRLS: Varina remained unbeaten by defeating Atlee 75-47....

COLLEGE: In college basketball, Catholic held off Randolph-Macon in men's action on the road tonight 67-55. Andre Simon led the Jackets (3-5) with 16 points. They return to Crenshaw on Wednesday to face Salisbury. The R-MC women, participating in the Cruzin Classic in Fort Lauderdale, FL, fell to 1-9 losing to Hartwick College 61-49, as Hannah Livermon and Katie Anderson each scored 11 points.

The women compete again in the Classic tomorrow at 4pm against Curry College.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hawks, Patriots Split in County Hoops Showdown

Trayvonte Brown scored 30 points as Hanover used a 27-13 third quarter to roll past county rival Patrick Henry in boys basketball Wednesday night, 88-65.

Lucas Pienkowski led Patrick Henry (3-3) with 22 points, but most of those came in the second half with the outcome no longer in doubt. Pienkowski picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter, forcing him to the bench and forcing the Patriots to lean on the drive and dribble skills of Khalil Mock exclusively.  Mock had a great night shooting, 7-of-11 from the field on the way to 19 points.

Hanover (3-0) as a team shot 50.6 percent, but much hotter inside the arc as they only made four of 24 three-point attempts. Patrick Henry's Wes Toro led all rebounders with 11.

The Patriots remain home for a Colonial District matchup versus Hermitage Friday night at 7:30, following the PH/Hermitage girls showdown at 6pm.

The Hawks next go into a brutal Capital District stretch with a trip to Armstrong on Monday night. Armstrong upset Highland Springs 79-58 Tuesday to remain unbeaten on the year, including a victory over Thomas Jefferson.


The Patriot girls traveled to Hanover and came away with their sixth straight win to open the season, 51-31 over the Hawks.  Amber Lee led the Patriots with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocks as the Patriots played without point guard Summer Price who was ill.  This marked the second straight win for a depleted Patriots roster.  Patrick Henry will host two pivotal home games before the Christmas break, Friday versus Hermitage and their transfer sensation Destini Walker, then Tuesday night against Mills Godwin.

BREAKING: Hailey Brooks Named Gatorade State Player Of The Year!!

Atlee High School has its first-ever Gatorade State Player of the Year, and it is volleyball superstar Hailey Brooks, who captured the award for 2012, it was announced today.

Brooks, who found out about winning the award on Tuesday afternoon, told exclusively about the honor.

"It is awesome, just awesome. It's all because of the wonderful people who recommended me. Their recommendations are what gave me this incredible honor," Brooks said.

The official press release can be found at this link!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Now, About Those All-Region Teams.....

As the parent of a member of the cast of "It's A Wonderful Life" at Glen Allen High School this weekend as well as with the two breaking stories from Patrick Henry today, it put my column regarding this week's release of All-Central Region teams back awhile.

But now I'm ready.

When the announcements were made by and (two separate awards, the latter done on coaches voting), the immediate reaction with regards to Hanover County was very quick and very sharp.....

"Why isn't Morris Jackson on the first team??"

The Atlee senior tailback, who was hurt in 2011, as well as down on the depth chart behind senior Jarred Hall, flew very, very low under the radar coming into the regular season.  In his own county there was much more buzz surrounding Hanover's L.J. Jones, coming off an 1,800 yard season in 2011, and the Lee-Davis tandem of Deshaun Rogers and Chris Simpson.

But after Jackson scored two touchdowns in Atlee's opening week win over Deep Run, he followed it up with his coming out party in Ashland, rushing for seven touchdowns and 284 yards in Atlee's 56-35 win over Patrick Henry.  Jackson was on his way to a season where, in only nine games, he would rush for 2,029 yards, scoring an amazing 33 touchdowns, averaging over 3.5 touchdowns PER GAME.

Surely this type of explosive, consistent performance should earn Jackson First Team All-Region honors, even in a crowded race of deserving hopefuls, right?


Paul Robertson of L.C. Bird grabbed one of the two VirginiaPreps running back slots and one of three from the Times Dispatch.  Although Robertson has had a legendary run in the playoffs, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards against the likes of Hermitage, Varina and Oakton, he finished the regular season over 200 yards behind Jackson, and, now through 13 games, has still scored two less touchdowns that Jackson did in 9 games.

We understand that post-season is taken into consideration by these award presenters, and don't begrudge Robertson his accolades.

Our contention is simple: Based on performance, Morris Jackson should have been named first team All-Region running back.....and not Derrick Green of Hermitage.

Sacrilege, you say?  I expect to be a "lone wolf" in this defense and have no problem with that.  But consider the following....

1) Green had 21 touchdowns, Jackson had 33.
2) Green was taken out of the second half of many games, while Jackson was not. 
3) Green had the benefit of playing on a team with a good defense.  Jackson did not, and, subsequently, found himself the spotlight in several track meets.
4) Green finished the regular season average 130 yards a game, Jackson averaged 225.4, nearly 100 yards MORE than Green.

Green played well, very well, this year for a 10-0 district champion. But, in my view, some of the accolades being given to Green are also because of everything else surrounding his impressive senior season.  Few kids in the Central Region begin their final football season playing on Friday, then hopping on jets to places like Oregon, Auburn, and Michigan for Saturday football games.  But that's what Green experienced, and deservedly so.

But, the bottom line is, although Green's recruitment has helped keep the U.S. Postal Service solvent, while Jackson has been continually passed by, Jackson's numbers are simply more productive.

Could Green have broken 2,000 yards by playing 40 quarters?  Maybe.  But remember, Morris did it in 36, missing one game.

So, had yours truly had a vote in all this, Morris Jackson, and not Derrick Green, would have earned All-Region First Team.

Does that mean Jackson is better than Green?  No.  It means he had a season more worthy of a first-team honor.  Green's collegiate career may far outshine Jackson's, but that's not our concern here.  Our concern here is 2012 on the field, and, in my view, 2,029 yards and 33 touchdowns in NINE games, constantly being asked to help a team with defensive woes stay in games, those are characteristics worthy of first-team honors.

In closing, Atlee fans.....Imagine the 2012 offense with the 2011're smiling, aren't you?




First Team:
WR: Travis Phillips, Patrick Henry (Sr.)
TE: Chad Jacob, Atlee (Sr.)
ATH: Sam Rogers, Hanover (Sr.)
DL: Donald Kidd, Lee-Davis (Jr.)

Second Team:
RB: Morris Jackson, Atlee (Sr.)
RB: Chris Simpson, Lee-Davis (Sr.)
WR: Donte Haynesworth, Hanover (Sr.)
OL: Josh Hutto, Hanover (Sr.)
OL: Russell Munn, Lee-Davis (Sr.)
LB: David Crytser, Hanover (Sr.)


First Team:
WR: Travis Phillips, Patrick Henry
RB: Chris Simpson, Lee-Davis
Utility: Sam Rogers, Hanover
DL: Donald Kidd, Lee-Davis

Second Team:
OL: Josh Hutto, Hanover
OL: Russell Munn, Lee-Davis
TE: Chad Jacob, Atlee
WR: Donte Haynesworth, Hanover
RB: Morris Jackson, Atlee
RB: LJ Jones, Hanover (Sr.)
LB: David Crytser, Hanover
LB: Sam Rogers, Hanover

UPDATE: Patrick Henry Approved To Move Conferences...

From the December 5th executive meeting minutes released today.....

"Approved the Final Conference Alignment Plan for 2013‐14 and 2014‐15 including moving Patrick Henry (Ashland) from 5A South to 5A North and from Conference 11 to Conference 16 and moving Caroline from 4A North to 4A South and from Conference 22 to Conference 20."

A link to the minutes released is HERE.

BREAKING: Hart Out; Patrick Henry Seeks New Football Coach (UPDATED: Hart To Baseball, Report)

Late this afternoon, we broke the news on Twitter (@hanoversports) that Hanover County Schools has posted the job opening on its web site for a head varsity football coach for Patrick Henry High School.

Sam Hart's tenure in the position is over after three seasons and an overall record of 10-20.  Hart was the longtime assistant to Ray Long, the Central Region's all-time winningest head coach who led Patrick Henry from 1982 to 2009.

Hart's first season, a 5-5 mark, was an improvement over Long's final season in 2009 when Patrick Henry went 3-7, their first losing season since 1992.  But the Patriots slid back precipitously in 2011, falling to a 2-8 campaign, only defeating Thomas Jefferson and J.R. Tucker.  With all three other county schools making the playoffs in 2011, the pressure was on in Ashland.

Coming into 2012, the football season lost one athlete to transfer (Raymon Minor), who never left his mark on the football field for the Patriots as he did on the basketball court, two young quarterbacks, and little experience on either line.  They took their lumps early, losing to Hanover 41-0, then to Atlee at home 56-35 when Morris Jackson rushed for seven touchdowns.

A furious second half comeback in Mechanicsville in the Tomato Bowl fell 15 yards short and the Patriots were again swept in the county with Lee-Davis winning 27-20. After a loss to John Marshall in their Colonial opener, the Patriots were impressive at Douglas Freeman, winning 45-28 against a team that had defeated Atlee and would go on to finish 6-4.

But the Pats weren't able to capitalize on that success, losing close games to Deep Run and Mills Godwin to ensure their third losing season in four years.  They finished with a loss at Hermitage.

The position is open until January 4th and currently, no word on any possible replacements.  There is also no word on the fate of Hart's staff, which included first-year offensive coordinator Matt Crenshaw, previously the head coach at J.R. Tucker.

NBC12 (@MattLincolnTV) is reporting, thus confirming, a report we received from a reliable source a few weeks ago, but could not make public until now, that Hart will return to coaching the Patriots baseball team, where he was a coaching standout for over a decade. That position had been open since last summer.

The job opening is posted HERE.

Gymnastics: Atlee victorious in quad meet Tuesday

Congrats go to the Atlee Raiders gymnastics team for their early season win, defeating Lee-Davis, Douglas Freeman and Henrico on Tuesday night.  The Confederates finished second, just 1.7 points behind the Raiders.

Atlee 133.85
Lee-Davis 132.15
Douglas Freeman 123.30
Henrico 119.25


Beam: Jordan Lam (LD) and Derika Banks (A)....8.5
Floor: Kinsee Stonebreaker (LD).......................9.15
Vault: Becca Fields (LD)...................................8.95
Bars: Kaitlyn Ball (A)........................................8.25

All-Around Individual: Derika Banks (A): 34.45


In Colonial District action, Patrick Henry fell to Deep Run and Mills Godwin in a district meet Tuesday.  Final team scores were Deep Run 132.2, Mills Godwin 131.45, Patrick Henry 36.2.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

All-Central Region Football Teams....

I mentioned on Twitter last night I would be discussing the various All-Central Region football teams that came out over the past 24 hours or so today here on the site.

I still plan to do it, but am working on some additional research to verify my opinions before stating them.  I highly respect the people who create these lists, work in tandem with many of them, and, as always, want any of my opinions to be backed with credible information, and not an emotional response.  The task of naming these teams is daunting every year, and 2012 provided some especially dicey situations.

Thanks for your patience, as we continue to make this site, and our Twitter feed (@hanoversports), one where you get information, analysis and opinion, but all three in a proper journalistic manner.  :)

COLONIAL: Patriots Sweep Tigers In Hoops....

Summer Price poured in 27 points and Patrick Henry survived a slow start to dispose of J.R. Tucker 53-40 Tuesday night to stay unbeaten at 2-0 in the Colonial District, 4-0 overall.  Amber Lee chipped in 9 points and 16 rebounds and baskets at key times by India Coles, and the Pinder twins, Tyler and Jasmine, helped keep the Tigers at bay.

Jessica Lee's basket with 4:57 left in the 3rd move Tucker to within two at 33-31 before the Patriots went on an 8-0 run in just two minutes to create a gap that Tucker would not dissolve.

Patrick Henry finally enjoys their home opener this Friday when they face John Marshall at 6pm.

In boys play, Lucas Pienkowski and William Holman each contributed 15 points as Patrick Henry subdued Tucker 49-37, overcoming a cold shooting first half with relentless defense and occasional full-court pressure. Khalil Mock, who scored 30 points in the win Saturday night over Lee-Davis, was held to 8 points but contributed several very timely rebounds, especially in the second half, to keep Tucker from ever mounting a serious comeback.

Now 1-1 in the Colonial and 3-1 overall, the PH boys also finally get their home opener on Friday, as John Marshall comes to Ashland for a 7:30 contest.  The Justices are favorites with Thomas Jefferson to win the Colonial, and Patrick Henry's only loss came opening night eight days ago to TJ, 93-55 on the road.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Southerner Tip-Off Classic: Patriots Get Better Of Confederates

They weren't on each other's regular season schedules.  So the only way long time rivals Lee-Davis and Patrick Henry could meet this year on the hardwood, barring post-season matchups, was by reaching the finals of this past weekend's Southerner Tip-Off Classic at Lee-Davis.

The Patrick Henry girls and boys disposed of Colonial Heights on Thursday and Friday, respectively, as Lee-Davis did to King William, and the matchups were set.

In the nightcap, the boys final was highlighted by physical play, lots of whistles, and two teams still trying to develop chemistry.  In those situations, a single player can make the difference, and Saturday night was no different.

Khalil Mock stood head and shoulders above the rest from the start, scoring 8 of his game-high 30 points in the first quarter, as Patrick Henry withstood several Lee-Davis runs to win the tournament, 63-48.  The game was closer than the 15-point final indicates.

Mock's early outburst gave PH a 15-10 lead after one, but a crucial scoreless stretch for Lee-Davis over the final 3:37 of the second allowed the Patriots to build an 11-point halftime lead at 26-15.  After Ladarein Autry's two free throws made it 21-15, the Confederates went silent until after halftime.

A William Holman trey opened the third quarter, and, after a Mock basket with 3:13 left in the period, Patrick Henry was still comfortably ahead at 38-26.  But Lee-Davis ended the third with a 6-0 run, as a Josh Brown basket cut it to 38-32 with 14 seconds left.  The Patriots seemingly forgot to try to get a shot off before the buzzer, but the ball landed in Mock's hands, and, with under two seconds to go, he launched a three, and it hit the bottom of the net.

Six unanswered from Mock to open the fourth seemed to finish things at 47-32, but Lee-Davis did cut it to seven three times in the final stanza before hit free throws in the final 90 seconds to extend the margin of victory.

Autry led the Confederates (2-1) with 20 points, followed by Brown with 14.  After Mock, Patrick Henry's leading scorer was Lucas Pienkowski with 16.  All four players were named to the All-Tournament Team, and Mock was named MVP.

"We have a whole new cast, so this is a great tournament to help us grow up," said Randy Anderson, head coach of the Patriots (2-1). "This weekend helped us to focus on not only how to keep a lead, but how to build on a lead."

For the home team, the learning curve continues for a squad short on height, but tall on grit.

"Our inexperience is still hurting; we seem to get out of the gates really slow," noted new Lee-Davis coach Rob Rice.  "We're small, but for us, playing hard will equal wins."

The Confederates already have a feather in their cap, opening their season last Tuesday with a road win over J.R. Tucker from the Colonial District on the same night Patrick Henry opened with a 38-point loss at the hands of Thomas Jefferson, easily one of the top five teams in the Central Region.

The Patriots next go to Tucker to face those same Tigers, while the Confederates get four days to practice, learn from the weekend of experience, and get ready for Capital District play when Varina visits Mechanicsville Friday night.


In the girls final, Lee-Davis got off to a torrid start, leading 11-6 after a quarter, but the veteran Patriots settled down, taking a 27-21 lead to halftime en route to a 55-37 win.

The defining moment of the game was actually eight minutes in length, as the Patriots only allowed a Confederate free throw in a third quarter where they threw down the gauntlet and clinched the victory.

Not surprisingly, point guard Summer Price led the way with 32 points and was named tournament MVP.  Inside, Rachel Adams (who is off to a solid start defensively) and Amber Lee had five each while Ashley Samuels continued her stellar defensive start with 10 rebounds and five steals.

"We're still working on our rotation," noted PH head coach Phillip Cobb afterwards, and the Patriots have liberally used all ten players on their roster in the opening week.  Now 1-0, 3-0, the Patriots return to the Colonial Tuesday for a 6PM date with J.R. Tucker.

Lee-Davis (1-2), already suffering from early season nicks and bruises, including a sore elbow suffered by Kerstin Winston in the Patrick Henry loss, must travel across town Monday night to battle Clover Hill before opening Capital District play Friday night at Varina.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Era Ends: Stone Bridge 28, Hanover 21

It's not every day you walk onto your high school field to play football in December, much less line up against a team whose quarterback will be playing for the Stanford Cardinal in 2013.

That is just part of the mammoth assignment that the Hanover Hawks gladly accepted Saturday afternoon, hosting their first-ever home state semifinal after playing three in five years on the road, facing the unbeaten Stone Bridge Bulldogs, favored to win the state championship.

Stone Bridge jumped on Hanover early, then the Hawks calmed down, clawed back into the game, fell behind again, fought back, then simply ran out of time as the Bulldogs escaped Mechanicsville with a 28-21 victory to advance to next Saturday's Division 5 State Final against Lake Taylor (who, too, escaped on the road with a 23-21 win at North Stafford) at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.

How close Hanover came to victory is a microcosm of how their season has played out: a team overcoming adversity and, again, coming up just short in a game where they played equal to their opponents.

But it didn't start that way.

Stone Bridge took the opening kickoff and drove quickly, keyed by a 45 yard run by Sterling Dailey run from the always-confusing and rarely seen in high school single wing formation. Dailey scored on a 10-yard run and the Bulldogs took the lead.

Hanover did respond, moving as far as the Stone Bridge 11, but a 28-yard completion to Mason Bazala at the 11 was called back due to an ineligible receiver downfield, and the drive stalled.

Stone Bridge, in three plays and 31 seconds, found the end zone again on another Dailey run, this time of a yard.  The big strike on the drive was a 51-yard pass play from Stanford commit Ryan Burns to Jimmy Higgins to set up the second score.

Just 7:36 into the game and Hanover was down 14-0.  Was Hanover Head Coach Josh Just having flashbacks to last year's state semi, when the Hawks fell behind 24-0 to South County in the first half, eventually falling 38-22?

"Absolutely not," Just said. "This is a different team."

And they proved it, beginning on defense, stopping a would-be third straight touchdown drive on downs early in the second quarter, then driving down the field themselves.  Sam Rogers found Donte Haynesworth on a slant route sliding in the end zone for a seven-yard score, and it was 14-7 at halftime.

Hanover couldn't ask for a better start to half #2, driving 4:38, culminating in a Rogers 3 yard TD run, and it was 14-14.  But credit the Bulldogs for punching back, answering with a 6 1/2 minute drive capped by a Christian Strahin 2-yard TD run to make it 21-14.

Hanover had held Stone Bridge scoreless for 27 minutes.  Now the offense had to punch back.  But, this one time, they couldn't.

Stone Bridge got the ball back, drove quickly, and a D'Ante Yarborough 5-yard TD run with 6:57 to go seemingly put the game out of reach at 28-14.

But Rogers and company weren't done, as the Hawks traveled down field as quickly as their offense would allow, but after great defensive stops by the Bulldogs, Hanover faced 4th down and 24 and the Stone Bridge 27.

Rogers, in what would be his final high school pass, dropped back, rolled left, bought time, then launched a laser to Donte Haynesworth who beat two defenders in the back left corner of the end zone, retained possession, and cut the Bulldog lead to 28-21 with 4:10 to play.

The Hawks' attempt at an onside kick was recovered by Stone Bridge. The Bulldogs slowed their offensive rhythm down, and, with each passing first down conversion, killed the clock.  They forced the Hawks to use one timeout, then they sat on the other two.  But when Burns rushed for 12 yards for a first down at the Hanover 20 with 1:08 left, it sealed the Hanover fate.

Burns took three knees, Hanover ran out of time outs, and, ran out of time.

Coach Just and Rogers shared a long embrace in an emotional moment on the field after the final whistle, before the traditional post-game handshakes.  Rogers was too emotional to speak to us as he left the field for the final time in uniform.

Rogers finished 11-of-22 for 164 yards with two touchdown passes, and with 24 carries for 129 yards and the one rushing score.  A key to Stone Bridge's ability to hang on for the win was keying on Rogers' rushing, as he only gained 23 yards in the second half, compared to 106 in the first.

Another problem for Hanover was in the second quarter when, on a run that resulted in a first down, tailback L.J. Jones re-aggravated the ankle injury he suffered two weeks earlier in the Lee-Davis regional semifinal.  Jones would not return.  His replacement, Lamont Stubbs, rushed five times for 18 yards.

Dailey finished with 20 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Bulldogs, now 14-0.

Hanover finishes 2012 at 9-4, with the losses coming in the following fashion:

--After leading the whole game without Sam Rogers, Highland Springs defeats them 24-21 scoring a touchdown as time expired.
--A sure overtime was taken away on a roughing the kicker penalty against Varina, giving the Blue Devils a second chance at a game-winning PAT.  They made it, Varina won 21-20.
--Arguably Hanover's worst game, the 10-6 loss at Lee-Davis where Rogers returned at quarterback, but a combination of lack of rhythm on offense and a stingy Lee-Davis defense spelled doom.

And now tonight, their biggest loss margin of 2012.....just seven points.  Just one more defensive stop giving Rogers and company the ball back, and Hawk Nation was sure Rogers would find the magic again.

But Stone Bridge ran out the clock, the rabbit never came out of the hat, and an amazing era in Hanover County high school football comes to an end.


CLICK HERE to listen live to the Stone Bridge at Hanover State Group AAA Division 5 Semifinal this afternoon, live from Hanover High School, starting with pregame at 3:30!

WHAN Radio, 102.9 FM and 1430 AM in Ashland/Richmond, provides on-air coverage with Rob Witham bringing you all the action as the Hawks host their first-ever home state semifinal game, looking to finally make it to the state championship game on their fourth-ever try!

Good luck to the Hanover Hawks!!