football

2014 Denbigh Patriots Preview

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none'>2014 Tidewater Football Schedules
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115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>2013 Tidewater Football Schedules & Results
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Grxajcv1cjqg7klh06nc
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Peninsula
District, Class 4A, Region 4A South
Head Coach: Marcellus Harris III

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Recent
History:
2011 - -
"Verdana","sans-serif"'>0-10 (missed playoffs)
2012 - - 2-8 (missed playoffs)
2013 - - 8-4 (lost to Heritage 32-29
in regional quarterfinals)

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Rewind:
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style=>
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>It was a historic season
for Denbigh in 2013 and their best in school history.
style=> For the first time since 1992, they made the
playoffs and for the first time since 2006 they finished above the .500 mark with
a winning record. Along with that came a
six-win improvement, the most in the Peninsula District, a 22-point victory
over the VHSL's winningest program in Hampton, and the school's first ever
playoff victory when they beat Glen Allen 42-19 in the opening round of the
4A-South regionals.

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Offensive Outlook:
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style=> Gone are 24 seniors from Denbigh's best team, several
of which were vital contributors to an offense that put up 36 points and 348.3
total yards per game. Three guys are vying
to replace Terrence Dingle, two of which are sophomores in
normal'>Shaquan Jones (6-1, 170) and Marquis
Rhoades (5-11, 160). The other is
junior Casey Vick (5-11, 180).
style=> "We're still working some things out," Harris
said of that battle. What is sure with
four receivers gone that put up over 2200 yards and 27 touchdowns they won't
have near the wealth of experience and talent at that spot.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Junior
Donavyn
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Johnson (5-10, 160), one of their best
route runners, is likely the go-to guy with senior
normal'>Keith Lee to get his fair share of passes as well.
style=> A freshman they're excited about is
class=SpellE>Pysheim
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Parker (6-1, 165).
style=> But don't expect them to average 27 pass
attempts per game. "We're definitely
going to look to establish the run a lot more this year, especially since this
is probably the best offensive line I've had since I've been there with the
guys we have returning and new guys coming out," Harris noted.
style=> "That's probably going to be the strong point
of our offense and we need to utilize those guys as best we can."

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>DeMarco
Brown-Negron
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:
minor-latin'>(6-0, 305) is a four-year starter and senior center
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Ethan Clarin (5-7,
225) will be a three-year starter on the offensive line.
style=> Senior Jamison
Webb (6-0, 285) gives them another valuable returnee in the trenches.
style=> They also have
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Savaughn
normal'> Brown, a "nice sized kid who can move very well," and junior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Ian Cox, who is "one of the biggest
guys that I've had since I've been here," according to Harris.
style=> Taking the bulk of the rushes are going to be
senior Malik Sparks (5-8, 160), who
had a 100-yard rushing performance spelling Pat Alston in a game last year, and
junior Elijah Rice (5-7, 155), who
transferred over from Bruton.

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Defensive Outlook:
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minor-latin'> As much production as
Denbigh lost to graduation a year ago on offense, they also lost their two most
consistent defensive players in Chris Peace (UVA) at defensive end and
linebacker Patrick Prosser, a tackle machine that made 130 stops.
style=> Senior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Dishon
normal'> Staton (6-3, 215) "could be in that
Chris Peace mold," and one of the leaders on the d-lien with Cox, Webb and
sophomore Cameron McFarland (5-8,
228) helping out.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Harris
is also high on freshman defensive end Alex
Holiday (6-1, 175), who's described as, "long and just keeps coming,
bringing energy to that side of the football for us."
style=> At linebacker, senior
normal'>Davon Stephens (5-10, 195) and junior
normal'>Gabe Boyd (5-11, 190) will flag carriers while they rotate guys in
and out until they find a definite third starter there.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>In
the secondary, Rice will man a corner spot and opposite him is senior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Aaron Rowe (6-2, 165), who played rugby
last year. Harris calls him "long, rangy
and athletic." Senior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Javon Brown (5-7, 165) packs a punch at
free safety. Stopping the run is first
and foremost, and the numbers show it translates into wins and losses.
style=> They are 1-11 the past two seasons when
allowing 200-plus yards on the ground compared to 9-1 when they hold teams
under that mark.

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Date to Circle:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:
minor-latin'> August 29 vs. Tabb.
style=> Despite getting out-gained 262-247, the
Patriots edged the Tigers 28-21 a season ago.
With Tabb returning most of its skill players and Denbigh breaking in a
bunch of new faces offensively, it's a rare time where a Peninsula District
school might go in as the underdog against the Bay Rivers District.
style=> Win this game and Denbigh will probably feel
they are further ahead of schedule with many of those underclassmen than some
anticipate they will be.

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Hat's Hit:
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'> Entering
their seventh season under Harris, the Patriots have made considerable strides
considering this program was winless just three years ago.
style=> He's really done a masterful job molding them
into a competitive team in a tough PD.
Now, you hate to say it, but this might be a re-building year with so
many seniors gone and a ton of underclassmen, including two freshmen that could
be starting before season's end in WR Parker and DE Holiday.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Harris
understands that the expectations won't be exactly the same as they were in
2013 with a senior-laden squad either.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>"It's
basically a whole new group of kids, but of the guys we do have returning we're
excited about what we have. Everybody's
working hard and with the youth we have I think they've been real receptive to
the coaching thus far," Harris said. "We
don't have as much talent as we did last year in certain spots, but what we
lack in talent we have some guys that have been working their tail off and that's
all we can ask for as a coaching staff."

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>It
may be another two-year cycle before we see Denbigh challenging with some of
the better teams around in 4A locally.
However, in the meantime, since 16 teams go to the postseason in 4A, the
postseason is attainable as long as they keep mistakes to a minimum on offense
and finds way to slow power running teams down with limited depth at their
disposal defensively.

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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
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has covered football and basketball since 2004 for
href="http://www.virginiapreps.com">
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the Rivals.com
Network. Check out
href="http://www.twitter.com/hatfieldsports">
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text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related updates,
and you can also read his work in the
href="http://www.suffolknewsherald.com">
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To contact Matthew, please e-mail
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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, and don't forget to listen to him
on High School Sports Talk Saturdays at 10AM on
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