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2012-01-04 / Sports

Titans wear Chesterfield Quarterback League crown

By Fred Jeter
CONTRIBUTING WRITER


No. 99 Connor Grant (from left), No. 5 Jacob Baldwin, No. 14 Matthew Duignam, and No. 6 Garrett Lucas, pictured here after the December Super Bowl, helped bring the Weaver Titans to a 46-2 record over the last four seasons. 
Photo courtesy of Steve Davies No. 99 Connor Grant (from left), No. 5 Jacob Baldwin, No. 14 Matthew Duignam, and No. 6 Garrett Lucas, pictured here after the December Super Bowl, helped bring the Weaver Titans to a 46-2 record over the last four seasons. Photo courtesy of Steve Davies The football balance of power in Chesterfield County may be shifting — albeit slowly — from south to north.

That distant sound you hear might be the cavalry charge of Bettie Weaver’s Titans coming to rescue struggling programs at James River and Midlothian highs.

The Weaver Association just put the finishing touch on an inspiring four-year Chesterfield Quarterback League run in which it posted a 46-2 record with four Super Bowl appearances.

Coach Jeff Baldwin’s Titans won this past Senior (ages 12-14) Super Bowl at old Clover Hill High, 18-0, over Matoaca.

“When we got started, Weaver’s reputation around the county was ‘soft and slow,’” said Baldwin.

“What we’ve done is change the culture.”

If there was a Mt. Rushmore of Weaver football, it would feature chiseled mugs of Connor Grant, Garrett Lucas, Matthew Duignam and Jacob Baldwin.

That foursome became the first group to play eight straight seasons (Flag through Senior) for an Association that started in the early 2000s.

Here are Baldwin’s thumbnail assessments of his “Un4gettables.”

Grant: “Extremely tough, deceivingly quick … he gets so low coming out of his stance you could eat off his back.”

Lucas: “A quiet leader … everyone’s best friend … he made the pivotal play in the Super Bowl with a 40-yard reception.”

Duignam: “Our vocal leader … field general … has a nose for football and scored all three of our touchdowns in the Super Bowl.”

Baldwin (coach’s son): “Jacob is a grinder who never takes a play off … others see how hard he works — that makes them go harder.”

Grant, Lucas and Duignam live in the James River High district; Baldwin in Midlothian.

James River and Midlothian have been relatively irrelevant in football for longer than most care to recall.

Meanwhile, high schools from the CQL’s southern tier have sparkled. Meadowbrook won a state title in 2004; Thomas Dale followed with a State crown in 2009.

Matoaca was a two-time state runner-up,’ 92-’93.

L.C. Bird has won 11 straight Dominion District titles.

The vast CQL, with 32 associations, is divided into North and South.

From 2001 through 2005, South teams won five straight Super Bowls (three by Matoaca, one each by Harrowgate and Marguerite Christian).

From 2006 on, North Seniors have prevailed four of six years and Chalkley (2010 champ) is northern-most of the South schools (partial feeder to Manchester High in North).

James River and Midlothian must hope Weaver’s success can do for it what the Clover Hill Association has done in boosting its parent high school, Cosby.

Clover Hill’s Bulldogs won the 2009 Super Bowl and enjoyed a four-year stretch similar to Weaver’s. This past fall Cosby went 9-1.

Senior Bowl success is an indicator of what will happen on the high school level — but no sure thing.

Other factors enter into the equation.

For example, Manchester High coach Tom Hall had 23 eighth graders on his freshman team this past fall. That group could have opted to play with CQL instead of at Manchester, and made a difference.

Other factors that muddy the waters in predicting what is to come are address changes (from one school district to another) and the specialty schools.

For example, a boy may live in the northern end of the county but go to Bird for its engineering program.

Then there is the possibility of private schools.

Coaching staffs at James River and Midlothian are wishful Weaver’s football stalwarts stay at home.

They’re hoping those pounding hoof prints, getting louder and louder, are headed in their direction.

Super Bowl history

Here is a list of Chesterfield Quarterback League Senior Division Super Bowl champs since 2001. In parenthesis is North-South affiliation.

2001 – Matoaca (South)
2002 – Marguerite Christian (South)
2003 – Harrowgate (South)
2004 – Matoaca (South)
2005 – Matoaca (South)
2006 – Gordon (North)
2007 – Woolridge (North)
2008 – Marguerite Christian (South)
2009 – Clover Hill (North)
2010 – Chalkley (South)
2011 – Bettie Weaver (North)

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