2007-10-31 / Sports

High school football update

Do Cosby, James River and Midlothian high schools have a chance at the playoffs?
By Caroline Gecker

Midlothian High School Coach Kevin Jackson confers with several team players. Midlothian High School Coach Kevin Jackson confers with several team players. The weather may be cooling down, but Friday nights on the county's high school football fields are heating up as teams clamor for the coveted Dominion District championship, and, more importantly, a spot in the playoffs. Now that each school is heading into their final regular season games, they will need to work even harder to prove themselves on the field. For three county squads - Cosby, James River and Midlothian squads this means evaluating team and individual strengths, as well as determining and correcting areas that need improvement.

Cosby Titans

So far, the Cosby Titans have had a solid second season, with an overall record of 5-2 and a district record of 3-2. Head Coach Pete Mutascio says the team's biggest strengths are in its skills positions and its defense, which has all 11 starters back from last year. He designates the team's weakness as its offense, but acknowledges sophomore running back Terry Williams as one of the team's biggest assets.

"He is the type of running back that teams have to game plan to stop," Mutascio explains. Williams had a season-best 32 rushes for 221 yards during a hard-fought loss to Monacan the last week of September.

The next two games will be crucial for Cosby, as their outcome will determine if the up-and-coming team can pull out a district championship and a shot in the playoffs.

James River Rapids

The James River Rapids are enjoying a turnaround season, with an overall record of 5-2 and a district record of 3-2 in comparison to a 5-5 final record last season. Head Coach Greg Defrancesco credits the team's success to its unity, saying his players come together to "create a collective strength that is greater than the sum of its parts."

Defrancesco also points out many players who have been consistently performing for the Rapids, including senior Grant Collins as quarterback, senior Mike Callahan on the offensive line and senior Ian Harvey at running back. Harvey was leading the Central Region in rushing after the first two games of the season, but suffered an ankle injury during James River's third game against Cosby and did not return to the field until the Oct. 19 game against Clover Hill.

As for weaknesses, Defrancesco says, "If I had to single out one thing it would be consistency of performance for all 48 minutes of the game." If the Rapids improve upon this and continue their success, they are poised for a strong district finish, but top-of-the-region competitors L.C. Bird and Manchester might keep the title - and a playoff bid - out of their reach.

Midlothian Trojans

Midlothian, with an overall record of 2-4 and a district record of 0-4, recognizes that its season will most likely be over after the last regular season game on Nov. 9, but Head Coach David Cooper is still extremely proud of his team's efforts. He cites the Midlothian squad's greatest strengths as team chemistry and work ethic, and praises his assistant coaches for doing an "outstanding" job preparing the players each week. He also says he is proud of the fact that his team "tries to do things the right way on and off the field."

However, Cooper also knows that improvement is necessary if he wants to finish the season with a winning record, saying, "[The team] needs to become more consistent. Offensively, I would like to see us throw the ball more effectively. Defensively, we need to continue to improve on not giving up the big play. [Special teams] need to do a better job of changing field position."

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