School and sports news for Sept. 1

Rapp football opens with a 41-12 win

In Rappahannock County athletics, varsity football takes the headlines this week on the strength of their first-ever season-opening win, a 41-12 victory at home last Friday (Aug. 26) over Grace Christian School.

Shortly after a heat- and humidity-delayed kickoff, the Warriors scored in their first possession with a touchdown on a 32-yard pass play, missing the extra-point kick. Rapp responded with an immediate and electrifying 76-yard kickoff-return touchdown by Michael Reid, and then took the lead on Jack Massie’s successful point-after kick. From that point onwards, the night belonged to the Panthers, whose points total went up as the evening temperatures went down.

Rapp’s next three possessions were scoring drives. Two of the touchdowns were the result of Jack Massie’s running, a 21-yard rumble and a 1-yard quarterback sneak; the third came on a 68-yard screen pass from Massie to Reid.

At the break, the award-winning Panther Marching Band performed their new “Bohemian Rhapsody” halftime show, a crowd pleaser made all the more special when played in front of a scoreboard showing the Panthers up, 28-6.

The award-winning Panther Marching Band perform to the home crowd.
The award-winning Panther Marching Band perform to the home crowd. By David Hong

Rapp received the second-half kickoff and picked up where they left off, with Reid returning the kick 73 yards for a touchdown and Massie nailing the extra-point kick. Both teams began to show the effects of the heat and humidity, with play stopped several times in the third and fourth quarter due to player cramps, but Rapp got back on the board in the fourth quarter on Massie’s rambling 61-yard touchdown run. After Rapp missed the extra point, Grace Christian put up the final points of the game with a 50-yard run for a touchdown, missing the extra point again and leaving the final score at 41-12.

In offensive stats, quarterback Massie rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns and also tallied 78 yards in the air and another touchdown pass. Reid returned two kickoffs for TDs, amassing 149 return yards with one 68-yard reception for a touchdown. Defensive standouts included Johnny Beard with five tackles, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and Jake Sisk with six tackles for the stalwart Panther defense, which effectively shut down the Warrior offense after giving up that game-opening touchdown.

The Panthers and the students in the crowd were filled with school spirit, due in large part to the successful pep rally held earlier in the school day, in which all the fall sports teams were showcased, and were charged up further by the football team’s inspiring performance on the field.

The Panthers return to the gridiron tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 2), taking on Bull Run District rival George Mason High School at 7 p.m. Coach Kemp Pullen, new this year but not new to Panther football (he was the original Panther football coach, leading the team from 2002 to 2006), is excited about this season’s prospects for Panther football.

Asked why he came back to coaching football at Rapp, Pullen replied that he had attended some games last fall and was convinced that the team had the talent to succeed. With almost 30 years of coaching under his belt, Pullen has clearly figured out how to best use the talent Rapp has, and hopes are high for more exciting nights like last Friday. Athletic Director Brandon Burley and coach Pullen invite the community to continue to come out and support their local team, enjoying the tradition of Friday night lights in Panther Stadium.

In other fall sports news, Rapp’s varsity volleyball team picked up where they left off last season, dominating their opponents in convincing fashion. The varsity and JV teams are 2-0 on the season, both with straight set wins over Luray and Stonewall Jackson, and return to their home gym Tuesday (Sept. 6), sharing the space with the Junior Panther squad, who start the three game afternoon at 4:30.

Varsity coach Courtney Atkins, JV coach Seth Wyatt, and J.P. coach Jeff Atkins hope the community will come out and support their successful programs

Varsity Cross Country and J.P. boy’s soccer have been working hard to prepare for their first contests. Varsity cross country has their first meet Sept. 14 at Central High School and then opens the home schedule Sept. 21, at the Blue Rock Course, the first race beginning at 5.

The JP boy’s soccer team will have their first game with their home opener Sept. 12, when they take on Chelsea Academy.

School sports schedules can be found online at Go Panthers!

— Jimmy Swindler

WCDS’ new faculty and staff

New faculty and staff have recently joined Wakefield Country Day School (WCDS) as the 2016-2017 academic year begins. The school has been serving Rappahannock county since 1972 and employs 50 people working in the areas of instruction, office operations, and transportation.

Wakefield Country Day School Head of School Jessica Lindstrom (right) welcomes new WCDS faculty and staff, including (seated, from left) Virginia Lohr and Sean Feeney and (standing) Danita Russell, Jaclyn Lawall, Tammy Vernick and Vinnie Farino.
Wakefield Country Day School Head of School Jessica Lindstrom (right) welcomes new WCDS faculty and staff, including (seated, from left) Virginia Lohr and Sean Feeney and (standing) Danita Russell, Jaclyn Lawall, Tammy Vernick and Vinnie Farino. Courtesy photo

Virginia Lohr is the second grade teacher. Jaclyn Lawall teaches upper school math, and Vinnie Farino leads middle school physical fitness classes. As IT director, Sean Feeney provides computer and network support to staff and students. Tammy Vernick maintains textbook inventory and provides administrative support to operations management, and Danita Russell coordinates transportation routes and drivers. Head of School Jessica Lindstrom is excited for families to meet these new members of the WCDS community.

— Contributed reports