Rapp sports update
The last several weeks have been banner weeks for Rappahannock County athletes with almost all competitive teams posting victories.
Varsity football takes the lead this week with their first road win in many seasons, followed by another one this past Monday, bringing their victory tally to three for the season. Traveling to the Tidewater area to face Portsmouth Christian for a rare Saturday night game Sept. 24, the Panthers showed the effects of a long bus ride, giving up the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter. The tide began to shift almost immediately, however, as the special teams squad was able to block the point-after kick, keeping the home team’s lead to just six points.
In the second quarter the Panthers struck back when quarterback Jack Massie scored on a 15-yard run. With the Panthers’ own extra-point kick blocked, the teams went into halftime tied at 6-6. In the third quarter, Massie got his team some points from the defensive end with his 44-yard interception return for a touchdown. Again the extra-point attempt failed, but the Panther defense kept the home team from scoring in the quarter.
Rapp scored again in the fourth quarter on a 59-yard run by Massie, and this time the point-after was good, giving Rapp a 19-6 lead. Portsmouth Christian was able to drive the field and score again, but the game ended with a 19-12 road victory for the Panthers.
Massie was the stats leader for the game, racking up 138 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. On the defense, Johnny Beard led the team with eight tackles; Jake Sisk had two sacks and forced a fumble. The entire team did an outstanding job keeping their composure and focusing on their assignments, efforts which paid off well in the face of an undisciplined opponent that had two players ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The varsity squad continued their winning ways this Monday (Oct. 3) with a 48-0 triumph over King and Queen High School (details unavailable at press time) and remain on the road the next two Fridays with games at Massanutten Military Academy and Quantico High School. The team returns Oct. 21 for the Homecoming game versus Kenston Forest at 7 p.m.
Junior Panther football also got a win last week, a 32-8 victory over Locust Grove last Thursday in a game dominated by the interior linemen, who paved the way for the Panthers’ scores. J.B. Leidenhiemer scored two rushing touchdowns and defensive linemen Andrew Hitt, T.J. Keane and Kent White led a strong defensive effort that resulted in several sacks and a fumble recovery.
Varsity cross county was well represented last weekend at the 19th annual Stonewall Jackson Invitational at the New Market Battlefield. The girls’ race was run first and Skylar Culbertson was Rapp’s top finisher, placing 10th in the 1A/2A division and 27th overall in a field crowded with runners from almost two dozen other schools. Continuing to set personal records, the lady Rapp runners also met their team goal of beating Luray, a team that had run very well against them two weeks earlier. Jacklyn Humphries, Savannah Hensley, Camryn Clark, MacKensie Haunold and Brooke Athelli crossed the finish line in that order and contributed to the team’s strong showing.
On the boys’ course, Gavin Jenkins easily won the varsity race, finishing a half minute in front of the second-place runner. Taking top honors in a field of 130 runners from 1A through 3A sized schools, this was Gavin’s first invitational win and a sure sign of more good finishes to come. Teammate Sam Barnes finished 14th in the 1A/2A division and 25th overall, a very respectable showing for this up-and-coming sophomore. Christian Puffenbarger, Jordan Rector and Hunter Nicodemus also completed the race with strong showings. In the Developmental Race, Rapp runners Carly Dudley and Estaban Arellano, David Hong, Conner Culbertson and Grant PerDieu all competed, continuing to improve their times.
Coach Kenny Burt reports that all of his runners are looking forward to continuing to whittling down their times as they are finally able to enjoy the cooler fall racing weather. Both squads returned to their home Blue Rock course Wednesday, Oct. 5, hosting the Patriots of George Mason High School (results too late for this report) but that home event served as the final warmup before the Bull Run District championship next Wednesday (Oct. 12) at Central High School.
The Junior Panther harriers, led by Coach James Sharpe, competed in a Valley Middle School Conference meet Tuesday Sept. 20 on their home course. On the girls side Rachel Weghorst finished second, Lily Jenkins sixth, and Cassia Gainer and Olivia Gibson ninth and 10th to round out the top 10 placers. Jaden Cillo, Caitlyn Clark, Sarah Dodson and Ava Genho rounded out the Rapp placers, all helping to lead Rapp to a girls’ team victory. Chase Wharton and Luke Ellis finished third and fourth in the boys’ race, respectively, to lead their team to a second-place finish. Teammates Nicholas Grigsby, Jaden Torosian and Nicholas Plaskin rounded out the scoring in a crowded field of almost 50 runners. The JP harriers completed in their final VMSC regular season race this past week, with the championship race scheduled for Oct. 13 at Randolph-Macon Academy
In volleyball, varsity and JV teams continue to rack up the wins, adding Bull Run District rivals Madison County, William Monroe, Clarke County and George Mason to their vanquished list last week. Injuries to key players on the varsity squad led to some lineup adjustments, but Coach Courtney Atkins’ squad dug deep, mentally and physically, to prevail over the Mountaineers and the Green Dragons. Matching the varsity squad win for win, Coach Seth Wyatt’s JV team maintained their standing atop the Bull Run District.
Last week’s varsity contests against Clarke and Mason featured the meetings of the only undefeated teams in the Bull Run and at week’s end, only the Rapp squad could continue to claim that title. JV split their games last week, dropping a close one to Clarke and then defeating Mason in two sets, to maintain their first-place standing in the JV standings.
At the Junior Panther level, Coach Jeff Atkins’ team continued their winning ways, avenging their only loss of the season with a win over Madison County at home last Tuesday and then following that up with a victory over William Monroe last Thursday. The JV and varsity squads return to the home court tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 7) when they host conference rival Northumberland; the JP squad returns home Oct. 11 to host the first round of the VMSC tournament.
Wrapping up a week of Rapp victories, our Junior Panther Boys’ Soccer team travelled to VMSC rival Fresta Valley last Friday and came home with an 8-1 win. Coach Paul Paratore reported that all team members recorded significant playing time and that Matthew Paratore, Luke Jung and Nick Barnes each contributed a goal while Nick Paratore scored a hat trick plus two, notching five goals on the day. The team went back to Fresta on Tuesday, Sept. 27, taking another win in the process, but then dropped their first game to county opponent Wakefield Country Day School this past Monday. Like their volleyball counterparts, the team is expected to host at least a first-round playoff game on Oct. 11.
Stay current with the latest Rapp scores and schedules at rappahannockcountyhs.rschoolteams.com. Go Rapp!