More victories and more positive signs were racked up by our Rapp Sports teams in the past week.
Junior varsity and varsity volleyball traveled to defending Bull Run District Champion Madison County last Friday and dropped two close ones. J.V. lost in three games, again going to extra points in the third, but still suffering their first loss of the season. Varsity lost in three but all were within five points against a very hard hitting Madison squad.
Both teams bounced back strongly with convincing wins Monday night at home against Culpeper, winning by sweeps. Taking to the road, they traveled to traditional foe Strasburg for a district match on Tuesday where the JV girls got another win and varsity defeated the Rams in a five-game thriller, our first victories at Strasburg in more than a decade! It’s Wakefield Country Day later today (Thursday, Sept. 12, joined by the Junior Panther squad after their week off) and W&L Montross on Friday (Sept. 13).
Cross country traveled to Eastern View last Wednesday (Sept. 4), participating in a quad meet with Eastern View, Liberty and Fauquier — all much larger schools than Rapp — where the girls team again took first place and the boys team missed first by just two points.
Julia Wood led the girls with a first-place finish and Gavin Jenkins did the same on the boys side, both mirroring their finishes of last week at Luray and again ably supported by their teammates’ strong finishes. The J.P. teams took their first victories of the season, winning over an Eastern View club squad. Varsity had the week off this week while J.P. hosted a Valley Middle School Conference meet on Tuesday at home.
Junior Panther boys soccer had two games in the past week, losing to a very strong Fresta team at home on Friday night (Sept. 6) and then losing 4-2 to county competitors Wakefield Country Day on Monday (Sept. 9). Our young boys soccer team, improving with every game, travels to Mountain View for another VMSC match later today.
In football, our J.P. and varsity teams both had road games last week, both again falling short in the win column but continuing to show improvement. J.P. racked up positive net yardage and made some nice defensive stops last Wednesday against traditional middle school powerhouse Floyd T. Binns of Culpeper. Varsity traveled to Bull Run District opponent George Mason on Friday, coming up on the short end of the score to an older and larger team, but again showing heart and determination by refusing to quit and grinding out some positive accomplishments by game’s end.
Junior Panther football has their home opener tonight (Thursday, Sept. 12) at 5 against Harpers Ferry while varsity opens their home season tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 13) at 7 against Cumberland High School. Panther Stadium will be ready to host our community today and tomorrow and both football teams are hoping for large crowds to support their efforts on the field.
— Jimmy Swindler
Every year, thousands of football coaches choose a word or phrase for their team, something to unite and galvanize them. Most of the coaches have their seniors pick the “motto”; I’m usually one of them. However, with only one senior and us getting a late start, I went ahead and picked the word, “Believe.”
I chose it for a few reasons, but the most important is that I do believe in this team. And I want them to believe in themselves — as individuals, as teammates, in the systems we try to install, their school, their community.
In building a football program, a successful one, the first thing that needs to be changed is usually the attitude. Not just of the players, but their classmates and even parents. Once a team begins to lose, players come to expect it and, worse, accept it; as do their classmates. If the opposing team scores first, you can almost see the air come out of them as they think to themselves, “Here we go again.” That’s what needs to change: attitude.
This brings us to the game against George Mason last Friday night. Let’s get straight to the ugly part: George Mason won 48-0. However, there was some good to come from the game. After halftime, the boys seemed to come together as a team and held Mason to just a single touchdown in the second half.
It was also the first time they had put together multiple first downs in a nice 36-yard drive, ending, however, in a fumble. Other highlights saw Gus Norris run for a combined 73 yards in rushing and return yards; James Grigsby gained 20 yards on five carries; Ben Montgomery had 38 yards on six carries. Due to a steadfast defense in the second half, Mason turned the ball over four times on downs and Shane Meredith was credited with one pancake block on a kickoff return!
The Panthers take on Cumberland this Friday in their first home game of the season. Come out and support the boys!