The postseason is upon us, as Rapp sports teams compete in Bull Run District playoffs and championships followed by Rappahannock River Conference events, the springboard to states.
Varsity football leads the news this week, with the team coming off their final home game and heading into their last game of the regular season. Last Friday was Senior Night for our gridiron gang, facing Saint John Paul High School, and our seniors did their part to put some points on the scoreboard. Senior Aaron Dodson ran a spectacular 80-plus yards off a handoff from the quarterback to put the Panthers on the board, running around the line and then sprinting past John Paul’s secondary for the score. Senior Gary Jenkins added to the scoring with a running touchdown, and classmate Ben Montgomery, while not reaching the end zone, made some spectacular moves en route to racking up significant yardage in his first game back from injury. Seniors Dylan Stewart, Jacob Devine and Bobby Nordin also contributed to the Rapp effort, and Jackson Strickler added some underclassman contributions with two touchdowns — one off an interception and one off a beautiful pass from quarterback Jack Massie. Despite the offensive fireworks, victory again eluded our Panthers, but hopes are high for a season-ending win this Friday as they travel to Frederick, Md., to face the Maryland School for the Deaf in their season finale.
The Junior Panthers football squad had their last game this past Monday, facing a huge Locust Grove team. While victory also eluded our young footballers, points were put on the board as a result of solid running by Brandon Wood and standout quarterback Michael Reid. Coach Whorton’s team has put the pads away for the year and looks forward to seeing the team and parents next Monday at Rappahannock’s Fall Athletic Awards Celebration. Kudos also go out to our J.P. cheer squad, who did an outstanding job cheering on our football team and showing school spirit.
The varsity volleyball squad completed their regular season last Thursday with a strong win over Bull Run District opponent Central High School. A disappointing loss earlier in the week to Warren County led to a fifth-place district finish, which resulted in our varsity squad traveling to Warren County this past Tuesday for a BRD quarterfinal playoff game. At the time this article was written, the results were not yet in, but a win Tuesday would put the team in action Thursday, tonight, at Madison, game time at 6 p.m. Regardless of the outcome of the BRD tourney, our varsity squad will host a Rappahannock River Conference volleyball playoff game next Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. Be sure to come out and support our team as they look to advance to next Saturday’s (Nov. 8) semifinal and final games at Northumberland, and from there perhaps a berth in the regionals.
Our junior varsity volleyball squad also wrapped up their season, finishing up with two wins (over Warren and Central) and cementing their position as the Bull Run District J.V. champs. Their season finales were nail-biters. First they avenged a rare loss from earlier in the season with a three-set win over Warren on Tuesday. Then they scored a victory over Central, with Virginia Wyatt sealing the come-from-behind win in the third set with six straight serves for points. While no playoffs await them, Coach Wyatt is immensely proud of the girls and their achievements and promises more good things to come as they rise to the varsity level next year and the year after.
The varsity cross country team hosted the Bull Run District Championship last Wednesday with almost predictable results, as Rapp runner Julia Wood took first place (and the Bull Run District Female Runner of the Year trophy!) in the girls’ race and Gavin Jenkins finishing a close second in the boys’ race. Both teams continued to work hard in practice, tuning up for the Rappahannock River Conference meet, which took place yesterday at W&L High School in Montross (results in next week’s article). Coaches Sharpe and Ramey are hopeful that both individuals and teams will advance to the regional championship, which will take place next Wednesday (Nov. 5) at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield.
The Rappahannock Athletics Department will host its Fall Athletic Awards Celebration at 7 p.m. Monday (Nov. 3) in the high school auditorium. The public is invited to attend and watch as our student athletes are honored. And winter sports tryouts are right around the corner — Monday, Nov. 10 — and many of our coaches are sponsoring open gyms to get our teams ready for the season. As always, please monitor our website for the latest news and information about Rapp Athletics.
On Sept. 25, the 40 students enrolled in the Headwaters After-School Program welcomed amateur geologist Patricia Lessard. The afternoon began, as usual, with a healthy snack, some fresh air, and 30 minutes of individual homework help. Teen mentors and adult volunteers also help students without homework as they review math facts and sight words. This fall’s group has been especially focused, making good use of the time and extra help. But this session, even these usually diligent students were distracted by the amazing collection of rocks, minerals and fossils Lessard was arranging on the RCES cafeteria tables.
Finally, homework time ended and the students gathered around the tables for a hands-on geological presentation. Lessard has been collecting rocks her entire life, and has brought the collection to elementary and middle school children, scouting groups and senior citizens. Her passion was evident in her extensive knowledge. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and soon the students were leaping up to be the next to have a turn holding the rock samples.
Students learned about igneous (volcanic) rock, sedimentary layers of rock in the earth’s mantle and metamorphic rocks that combine both. They held crystals of all kinds, and fossils, including fossilized dinosaur poop. They saw floating rocks, rocks that glow in black light, and obsidian (glass-like rock formed in volcanoes). The students were able to hold a small piece of a meteorite and a rock from the Grand Canyon, a gift to Lessard from a National Park Service ranger for her work as an educator.
The presentation was a wonderful act of generosity on Lessard’s part. The lucky students’ good fortune continued as she passed out small sample bags for each child to take home. The bags contained a crystal and several samples, including at least one with the scientific identification included. Even the program director received a bag with a clear quartz crystal and a tiny pink opal from Peru.
On days when After-School participants are not treated to an expert visitor like Ms. Lessard, we break into small enrichment groups. This session we’ve had groups for tennis, ukulele, mosaic making, and three groups of LEGO education (on simple machines, alternative energy and robotics.) Our next session begins Nov. 4 and will include LEGOS, mosaics, basketball, French and percussion. Registration forms are available at Headwaters’ website, headwatersfdn.org or RCES office.
— Dabney Kirchman