The latest match-up between geographic rivals South Lakes and Herndon was never in doubt as the host Seahawks jumped to a 20 point lead in the first quarter and cruised to victory on Senior Night. The winless Hornets struggled all night and had negative yards of offense until the final play of the first half. The Hornets managed only 1.8-yards per play while the Seahawks, by comparison, generated 9.4-yards per play and were able to dictate all facets of the game. The only points the Hornets scored came in the fourth quarter when the Seahawk starters were removed from the game.
After pregame ceremonies were completed honoring the Seahawk Seniors, there was a brief moment of silence held for junior student Carter Smith who was tragically killed in an automobile accident earlier in the month. It was then down to the business at hand - getting a victory against the rival Hornets and securing a spot in the postseason for the fifth straight year.
Senior running back James Earl scored on runs of 11-yards, 68-yards, and 57-yards – the last run giving Earl 1,000-yards for the season. Senior Wilson Seneca followed Earl’s first score with a touchdown reception in the back corner of the end zone and senior Joseph Dagbe scored on a run and punt return. Coach Jason Hescock spoke about his decision to keep Earl in the game when most of the other starters were watching from the sideline. ” We try to show class and be respectful at all times but we knew James was close to 1,000 yards and we wanted to help him reach his goal. For the others, we wanted to conserve their reps since we were expecting to play next week.”
The Seahawks also got their first defensive score of the year when Ty Rankin crossed paths with the Herndon running back who was bobbling the ball after a bad exchange with the quarterback. Rankin snatched the ball from mid-air and sprinted 54-yards for the score. In addition to talking about the senior class, Hescock spoke about the need to stay on-task once the game got out of reach for visiting Herndon before the first quarter drew to a close. “We wanted to send our seniors out the right way – if we don’t win [tonight] we might not get another game. Our focus now for the seniors is how many more games do they want to play?”
Next up for South Lakes will be a visit to Chantilly in the first round of the VHSL playoffs. Chantilly hails from the familiar Concorde District, but it is the only team from the District that South Lakes has not played. South Lakes has competed annually against other members of the District in both the regular season and the playoffs but have not met Chantilly on the gridiron in well over a decade. Speaking of the match-up this week, Coach Hescock gave the following assessment. “We are the underdog and we invite that as the five seed. We’ve had similar opponents this season and our staff likes how we match up against them. As always, our goal this week is to go 1-0.”
This Friday South Lakes will visit Chantilly in the first round of the VHSL playoffs. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 PM.