Coming off of the first undefeated district campaign in school history, the Park View High School varsity football team is much younger this season but looking to continue the success it found last year.
The Dragons went 8-3 capturing the Tri-Rivers title but saw its season come to an end following a tough 17-14 loss at York HS in the first round of the Class 3, Region A playoffs.
“Last year we were coaching, this year has been a lot of teaching,” said second-year skipper Tony Whittingham, Jr.
He said he is pleased with the progress the team has shown in the first two scrimmages.
A bonus for a young team is that Park View’s bye actually happens during the first week of the season.
“At this point, I am pleased with the effort and desire of our players,” said Whittingham. “I have also been happy with the parent involvement.”
Whittingham said the team tries to do at least one activity a month outside of football to help build team cohesiveness.
“This month we are going to a movie for team bonding,” he said. “I think it’s real important. It’s more than football to me. I know the challenges I had growing up in a small town.”
Whittingham said he is delighted with his talented coaching staff this season.
Newcomers to the stable of coaches include former head coach Kelvin Hutcheson, Benjamin Banks, Austin Michaels and former Park View player Holden Sykes who returned to the school as a teacher this year.
They join the returning cast of coaches that include Kevin White, Matt Shearin, Dwight Phillips, Wayne Jackson, Brian Rogers and Dakota Mitchell, who will coach the JV team.
“Everybody is excited going into the season,” he said.
Whittingham said focus and concentration will be paramount for the team entering the new campaign.
“Coach (Glover) Powell stressed to me that you constantly need to remind your team about focus and concentration,” he said.
Adam Crabel and Tyler Turman have split time at quarterback during the two scrimmages but Crabel will likely get the start under center in the first game of the season at Bluestone while Turman rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered in the scrimmage at Matoaca.
The Dragons have a number of talented backs in camp and speedster Josh Boyd will be one of the key offensive players heading into the campaign.
The defense should get better as the season goes along and is anchored by senior L’Anthony Joyner who has played varsity for four years.
Whittingham said he looks for the Tri-Rivers District to be even stronger this season.
“A lot of the team were young last year,” he said.
The Dragons will open their campaign on September 6 at Bluestone HS in the annual “King of the County” contest.
“Every team is different,” Whittingham said of his young squad. “We want these kids to ask themselves how they want to be remembered. I want them to go into every game and play their best.”