School & sports news for Oct. 27

Rapp sports update

As Rappahannock County’s fall regular seasons wind down, Senior Nights and Homecoming activities dominate the sports news this week, with postseason tournaments coming up soon.

A Kenston Forest running back tries to get past Panther lineman Josh Bennett by going airborne at last Friday’s Homecoming game at Rappahannock County High School; it was a short flight. The Panthers shut out the Kavaliers, 44-0. More photos and other sports news, including RCHS’ still-undefeated District-champion volleyball team, on pages A10-11.Photos by David Hong
A Kenston Forest running back tries to get past Panther lineman Josh Bennett by going airborne at last Friday’s Homecoming game at Rappahannock County High School; it was a short flight. The Panthers shut out the Kavaliers, 44-0.

Last Friday (Oct. 21) was varsity football’s Homecoming game, and between the 44-0 victory and the pomp and circumstance of senior night and homecoming court presentation, it was in fact quite the homecoming for Rapp sports fans.

The game itself was preceded by Senior Night recognition for the football and cross country teams as well as band. Seventeen seniors in all, along with their parents and escorts, were honored by Principal Mike Tupper and Athletic Director Brandon Burley. Recognized for their contributions to their sport and to the athletic programs in general, all seniors and their parents were presented to the standing-room-only crowd just before the start of the game.

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Cross country seniors included Gavin Jenkins, Jake Demory, Jacob Love, Justin Ramey and foreign exchange student David Hong (whose excellent pictures have graced this newspaper’s pages). Football seniors included Jack Massie, Chris Corbin, Nich Hitt, Nich Strosnider, Walter Burke and Chris McCullough. Band seniors included Nich Hitt, Taylor Callahan and Gabe Hernandez.

As the seniors and their escorts left the field, the varsity football team took to it, determined to maintain the crowd’s ebullient mood with a standout performance. And the Panthers did not disappoint. The first quarter was scoreless, with the both teams looking for advantage points, but the Rapp squad quickly figured out how to handle the Kenston Forest Kavaliers, scoring twice in the second quarter to take a 14-0 halftime lead.

fball-7Quarterback Jack Massie connected with receiver Ryan Atkins on a 22 yard pass for the first score. Linebacker Nick Strosnider added a second TD with a pick six — a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown on the last play of the first half. The cheering crowd was then treated to the Panther Marching Band’s final home performance and then to the presentation of the RCHS 2016 Homecoming Court.

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As play resumed in the third quarter, Rapp added to their lead with a 40-yard field goal by Jack Massie and then notched 7 more points on Jack Massie’s 1-yard quarterback sneak, a score set up by lineman Jake Sisk’s fumble recovery. In the fourth quarter the floodgates opened, with Chris Corbin scoring on a 24-yard run, Jack Massie scoring again on a 12-yard run and Elijah Johnson wrapping up the scoring with a 7-yard scamper.

Offensively Jack Massie led the way with 143 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. Defensively, Nick Strosnider had three tackles, one assist and an interception returned for a touchdown. Additionally on defense Jack Massie had nine tackles and Dalton Hitt had four tackles and one assist. The varsity team has won four of its last five games with an overall record of 5-4. During that stretch they have outscored opponents 169-32, achieving three shutouts.

The team has a bye this week and then travels to West Virginia Nov. 5 to play Hundred High School for the final game of the season. Win or lose next Friday, the football team has posted its best record ever and congrats go out to Head Coach Kemp Pullin and all the players, coaches, parents and fans who contributed to what has become a very special season.

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Back to halftime, the 2016 Homecoming Court included eighth-graders Jaesean Yates and Rosie Ochoa, freshmen Phillip Wyatt and Kayla Compton, sophomores Stuart Bailey and Katie Sharp, juniors Jake Sisk and Tatyana Yates and seniors Ethan Foley, JoJo McKinney, Alyssa Rodgers and Jessica Thorne. Once the entire Court was assembled on the field, Ethan Foley and Alyssa Rodgers were announced as King and Queen of the Homecoming Court. All the court and their student attendants enjoyed the rest of the varsity game and then further enjoyed the Homecoming Dance, held Saturday night at RCHS.

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Coach Rich Hogan’s Junior Panther football team wrapped up their season this past Monday, hosting Locust Grove Middle School. It was an exciting and competitive game, with the Rapp JP squad holding their own against a much larger team, both in size and numbers. Rapp scored first and made the two-point conversion but Locust Grove matched that score on the ensuing kickoff to tie things up. The visitors put another touchdown on the board to take a 14-8 halftime lead but Rapp came out in the second half and scored two touchdowns to the visitor’s one, taking a 24-20 lead late in the game. Another big run led to another score for Locust Grove and Rapp had the ball late but an untimely turnover led to the final score of 24-26.

The JP squad was led on offense and defense by Taven Murrah and Brian Leidenhiemer, with Mason Ramey also completing some nice passes to Riley Owens. Strong play by linemen Austin Kennedy, Kent White, Jesse Foster, Matthew Sisk, Austin Clem and TJ Keane — all of whom played both ways — helped to sustain Rapp’s drives and keep them in the game. Congrats to the coach and team for a successful season and fans are looking forward to seeing these players in future varsity contests.

Wrapping up a special season of their own, Coach Courtney Atkins’ varsity volleyball team improved their record to 18-0 last week, adding victories over William Monroe at home last Tuesday and Clarke County on the road last Thursday. Coach Seth Wyatt’s JV squad again matched their varsity mates victory for victory, avenging one of just two losses on the season with their win at Clarke.

This past Tuesday the teams had their final regular season home game vs. Central (results too late for this article). Tuesday was also Senior Night and the senior players and escorts were recognized for their contributions to the team’s success. Seniors recognized included Julia Estes, Ellie Young, Kayla Robey, Kayla Brown, Brianna Settle and Jessica Thorne. Congrats to the seniors for their outstanding high school careers and best of luck to them as some look to take their talents to the collegiate level.

Rapp will host the Conference 43 volleyball championship, with games scheduled for Nov. 1, Nov. 3 and the championship Nov. 5

Varsity cross country had their final regular season race last Tuesday, participating in a multi-team meet at Fishburne Military Academy. The girls’ team finished second out of eight teams, with Jacklyn Humphries placing third overall, and Skylar Culbertson just behind her in fifth. Other finishers included Savannah Hensley at 16th, MacKensie Haunold at 17th, Danielle Fryant at 28th, Camryn Clarke at 30th, Caragh Heverly at 32nd and Carly Dudley at 48th.

On the boys side of the course Gavin Jenkins once again cruised to a first-place finish, leading his team to a second-place showing against 10 other competing squads. Gavin’s teammates helped secure the team’s second place standing, with Sam Barnes finishing eighth, Dalton Renner 19th, Justin Ramey 20th, Christian Poffenbarger 28th, Jake Demory 29th, Itsail Arellano 42nd and Connor Culbertson 50th, rounding out the top 50 in a field of 122 runners.

This Tuesday the teams competed in the Cross Country Conference Championship at Lancaster High School (results too late for this article). While Coach Kenny Burt is confident that many of his runners will qualify for the next level, hopes are high that both squads will qualify as teams for the regional event, to be run on Nov. 1 at Panorama Farms in Albemarle County.

Stay current with the latest Rapp scores and schedules via rappahannockcountyhs.rschoolteams.com, where Athletic Director Burley has all the latest news and information. See you at a game soon, maybe a playoff game, where we hope you’ll join us in cheering “Go Rapp!”

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