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Inside the Bay Rivers District: 10 things to watch as football practice opens

Daily Press

11:48 AM EDT, August 1, 2013

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Bay Rivers District football practice began early Thursday morning at Bruton and Warhill high schools. Lafayette, Jamestown, York and Smithfield were scheduled to start later in the day, with Grafton, Poquoson, New Kent and Tabb all slated to buckle their chinstraps for the first time early next week.

Here is a need or two to consider for each district program as it begins practice. Last year’s records are in parenthesis.

BRUTON (3-7 overall, 2-7 district): The Panthers averaged a paltry 39 yards per game passing a year ago, but athletic quarterback Bilal Wallace now has a full year under his belt as a starter and the Panthers will look to open the running game up a bit with more passing.

GRAFTON (4-7, 4-5): Will the late hiring of the new head coach Matt McLeod have an affect? And just who replaces Evan Sperling, very good in a starting role late last season, as the Clippers starting QB? 

JAMESTOWN (4-6, 4-5): A solid and competitive team most of last year, the Eagles must replace all but one starting lineman. That will be a huge focus in the preseason.

LAFAYETTE (9-2, 8-1): Lots returns, but the Rams still must replace all-district players like OL Peter Hurst (a William and Mary walk-on), TE Parker Kindley (Christopher Newport), DL Corey Stephenson and LB Carlos Coronado (Bridgewater). 

NEW KENT (0-10, 0-9): The returning QB, Luke Mechling, averaged better than 150 yards passing, but a defense that allowed 40 points per game must get better in every respect.

POQUOSON (4-6, 3-6): With almost every key player returning, the most interesting thing in preseason will be seeing how much QB Trey Hicks – thrown into the fire last year as a freshman – has improved. 

SMITHFIELD (10-2, 8-1): A defense that allowed just 9.8 points per contest replaces five first team all-district selections, bruising linebackers Chuck Sharon and Kyon Croker, the district defensive Player of the Year, among them.

TABB (4-6, 4-5): The Tigers lost state all-star game MVP QB Dan Schiele and RB/LB Jake Brown, who averaged nearly 100 yards per game rushing. Replacing their production and leadership is a must.

 YORK (9-3, 7-2): The biggest holes to be plugged are four offensive line spots and QB, where Austin Norman graduated after doing a good job of succeeding superstar Alex Johnston.

WARHILL (6-5, 5-4): Warhill’s new head coach, Obie Boykin, was confirmed barely two weeks ago. He’ll have to quickly rebuild the offensive line and find a new starting QB.