The weather cooled down some last week, but Rapp sports teams continued to turn up the temperature on their opponents, bringing home more victories and fighting hard in some close losses.
Varsity football leads the way this week, coming off a thrilling — albeit heartbreaking — game with Grace Christian last Saturday. As Coach Mark Heinle said, attendees were treated to a great show, with four lead changes and the win still up for grabs in the closing minutes of the game.
Our Panthers were short four key starters due to injury, leading to some other players stepping into unfamiliar positions, which they did with success. Running some new wrinkles in the offense, the Panthers gained over 200 yards through the air and another 100-plus on the ground — not including a beautiful 70-yard run by Dakota Woodward that was called back on a penalty.
The defense stepped up as well, batting down several passes (notably Gary Jenkins) and for the most part stifled the running game of the Warriors. Big plays, or rather untimely errors that led to big plays, resulted in the score, with three Rapp visits to the red zone resulting in no points.
But many positives came out of the game: Quarterback Aaron Dodson had 191 yards passing with two TDs; 142 of those (and both TDs) went to receiver Jackson Strickler, who made some amazing acrobatic catches in traffic. On the ground, Jackson added almost 50 yards in kick returns, complementing the 49 yards and touchdown recorded by Woodward.
Logan Aumock also ground out some rushing yards, while Drake Lynn and Jack Massie were key components of the passing game, netting 32 and 17 yards receiving respectively, with Massie averaging 38 yards with his punts. The coaches will be working with the players all week on their new offensive strategies and look forward to putting on another impressive show at 7 p.m. tomorrow night (Friday, Sept. 26) in the Homecoming game against Victory Christian.
J.P. football again came up on the short end of the score in their contest against Prospect Heights Middle, but Coach Dave Whorton was pleased at the team’s continued improvements. Brandon Wood gained some positive yardage playing fullback for the first time; again the team’s workhorse, Michael Reid rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown. J.P. travels to Locust Grove today (Thursday, Sept. 25) at 4:30, and takes the home field for the first time on Thursday, Oct. 9.
Our varsity and J.V. volleyball teams had a split week, going 1-1 in the win/loss columns. J.V. prevailed over their counterparts from William Monroe on Sept. 16, but varsity fell to the Bull Run District leaders, coming up on the short end of a 3-1 final tally. Last Thursday (Sept. 18), roles were reversed, as J.V. (missing a key starter) fell to Warren County, while varsity took a convincing 3-1 victory over the Wildcats.
With the halfway point of the season approaching, J.V. sits atop the Bull Run District while varsity is in third place in the nine-team district. Both teams traveled to Central Woodstock on Tuesday (Sept. 23) and are home tonight (Thursday, Sept. 25) against George Mason.
Our Dig Pink games are also on the horizon; varsity hosts two games next week — Thursday (Oct. 2) against Manassas Park and Friday (Oct. 3) against conference powerhouse Northumberland. The team (with tremendous community support) has been working hard to beat last year’s fundraising efforts of $4,000 (all money goes to breast cancer research). Word on the street is that if they eclipse last season’s mark, I’ll kiss a mule at the beginning of Friday’s game. Make plans now to support these worthwhile fundraisers and your hometown volleyball teams!
J.P. volleyball continued its unbeaten streak, scoring wins last week over VMSC opponent Randolph-Macon Academy, and non-conference opponent King George Middle School. J.P. hosted two home games this week (Sept. 22-23 against Front Royal Christian and United Christian) and take to the road tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 26) to face Mt. View. J.P.’s Dig Pink game is Oct. 6 against Buford at 4:30. Come out and watch Coach Mylene Whorton’s squad as they continue to rack up wins and prepare for the VMSC postseason.
Our harriers took to the courses again last week in road contests. Many of our varsity runners participated in the prestigious Oatlands Invitational last Saturday, where Gavin Jenkins turned in a personal record of 17:40 in the varsity “A” race.
On the girls’ side, Emily Allen came in second in the varsity “B” race, with Emma Endre posting a 24th place finish — outstanding performances in a very tough field! Last Wednesday (Sept. 17), varsity traveled to Manassas Park for a Bull Run Meet with Manassas Park and Madison. Jenkins took first place on the boys’ side, with teammate Jordan Rector also posting a top 10 finish; the boys’ team finished third overall.
On the girls’ side, Allen took first place with Endre taking third, Katelyn and Kathryn Fisher taking 12th and 15th, and Brooke Athelli finishing 16th. Caragh Heverly, Kelsie Strobel and Elizabeth Fisher rounded out the top 25 to help lead the team to a second-place finish. Yesterday (Sept. 24) varsity teams hosted William Monroe and George Mason on the Blue Rock Course (results in next week’s article).
Our Junior Panther runners continued their winning ways against St. Joe’s last week in a VMSC Invitational, with our girls’ team taking first and the boys taking third. On the boys’ side, Sam Barnes again claimed a first-place finish, while Luke Ellis came in sixth. On the girls’ side Makenzie Haunold again took first-place honors, closely followed by Skylar Culbertson and Savannah Hensley, who finished third and fourth respectively. Coach Mark Ramey and his young charges hosted a VMSC Invitational on Tuesday (Sept. 23) and travel to R-MA on Monday (Sept. 29) for another conference meet (results in next week’s article).
Last, but certainly not least, our Junior Panther boys soccer team has been practicing hard for their next game — Monday (Sept. 29) at 4:30 against R-MA. Coach Paul Paratore looks forward to returning to the pitch at Panther Stadium. Unfortunately our team has seen multiple games on their schedule get cancelled due to other schools’ troubles fielding teams. Stay tuned to rappahannockathletics.org, where some late-season additions will (hopefully) be forthcoming.
Again, the Homecoming football game is tomorrow night (Friday, Sept. 26)! Kickoff, against Victory Christian, is 7 p.m. The award-winning Panther Marching Band will be on hand and all Rapp alumni are encouraged to come out and support their team. And as always, the latest schedules and information can be found on the athletic website.
— Jimmy Swindler
Varsity volleyball: The Wakefield Country Day School Lady Owls hosted an undefeated Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy team on Sept. 15, dropped a close first set 25-20. Ashlyn Ramey’s first serve in set two gave the Lady Owls a 1-0 lead before the Patriots scored nine straight. The Owls battled back, however. Ramey’s serve notched the game at 17; two service from Kendall Carroll tied it again at 20. Monica Marciano gave the Owls a 22-21 lead they would never relinquish. Maeve Dale’s two aces help put the Patriots away, 25-22.
The Lady Owls rushed out to an 11-0 third set lead, but the Patriots battled back to tie it at 18-18. Hitting errors marred the match, and the Patriots took a hard-fought 29-27 win. Strong serving marked the fourth set, as Carroll’s (five) and Dale’s serves (nine) combined for 14 points. A kill by Marciano extended the girls’ lead to 20-6. Anna Clark served two service points with an ace before Dale put the game away at 25-14. The girls got down early, 5-2, in the deciding fifth set, following four spike kills by the Patriots. The Owls trimmed the lead to 9-6, but gave the Patriots the game with a service error (15-7).
The Lady Owls bounced back the next day hosting Chelsea Academy in a tough five-set non-conference match on Sept. 16. The girls dropped the first, hard-fought, set 25-19. They raced out to an early 10-8 second-set lead; the Knights stormed back and took a 13-10 lead before the Owls’ Carolina Leonard and Josephine Burns took over. Leonard and Burns combined to serve the Owls’ last nine points, giving them a 25-12 win.
With the match tied at 1-1, the Knights took an early 11-6 lead in the pivotal third game. Carroll served two aces to tie it at 16-16; three hitting errors on Dale’s serve extended the Owls’ lead to 21-17. The Knights roared back, however, and scored five straight points to take the set 25-23. With their backs against the wall, the girls rallied to take the fourth set, 26-24, en route to a thrilling fifth-set victory, 15-12.
Three days later, the Lady Owls hosted another non-conference game against Saint Michael the Archangel High School. Ramey had an incredible, record-breaking performance, holding her serve for 24 straight points (and 13 aces), and giving the Owls an extremely rare 25-0 win. The shutout was the first in WCDS history. Riding the opening set’s momentum, the Owls handily won the second set, 25-12, and finished the Warriors off in set three, 25-13. Their record is 5-2.
Varsity boy’s soccer: The Owls traveled to Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy for a non-conference game on Sept. 15. Unable to find the net against a strong Patriots squad, the Owls ultimately lost 6-0.
The Owls then hosted Massanutten Military Academy on Sept. 17, overpowering MMA en route to four first-half goals. Tim Johns netted a hat trick; goals by Ryan Brown, Campbell Baker, Gage Landis, Abe Nolan and Nile Patel (assisted by Spencer Bryan) gave the Owls an 8-3 victory. The Owls are 2-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Rappahannock County eighth-graders were found smiling, working diligently and fully engaged on Wednesday, as the classroom walls were removed and students headed outdoors.
Thanks to the high school’s counseling department, principal Michael Tupper and the curriculum enrichment fund, 76 students and 11 chaperones traveled to Rixeyville and Verdun Adventure Bound for a unique learning opportunity. There, Verdun facilitators led groups of 10 or so through team building, trust, communication, transition and problem solving activities across their campus.
Between presentations (including several by Verdun director Dr. David Snyder) and lunch, students could be found suspended 50 feet above the ground or swinging through the air; singing, rolling, frolicking, partnering, climbing, deciphering and learning every step of the way.