RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) —
2014 was a special year for the James River Rapids, but it certainly didn’t start out that way. Head Coach Greg DeFrancesco’s squad was the last two qualify for the 6A South playoffs. Then the magic happened.
The Rapids went on the road and upset C.D. Hylton. They then played at rival Cosby and beat the Titans as well. Eventual state champion Ocean Lakes demolished them in the state quarterfinal match up, but the season had already become something of lore by then.
This season, the Rapids are trying not to talk about last year, and that shouldn’t be too hard because most of the players that made 2014 happen are gone. That includes star QB Q Chung.
This season, James River returns just one starter on offense and five on defense. Each of the six returners is either an lineman or a linebacker.
DeFrancesco believes his secondary will feature some athletes, regardless of experience. He’s also happy with his quarterbacks, despite the fact that there is an open competition at the position.
Senior defensive tackle Korey Singh summed up the team’s attitude pretty well: “It was a great season last year, and we’re bringing the fire back this year.”
The Rapids’ schedule is more favorable this season, and the defense does look strong, so Singh may be on to something.
The Armstrong Wildcats reached historic heights in 2014, defeating Capital District rival Varina for the first time in school history and making the playoffs.
The offseason was not kind to Armstrong.
First, Head Coach Kedrick Moody resigned to take over at his alma mater, Meadowbrook. Moody will now not coach anywhere this season after an arrest. Mack Anderson replaced Moody, and says, “We’ve only got five kids back from last year’s team, and only three of them played.”
The heart of those returners is starting center Horace Kimbrough. He’s not scared of 2015.
“We will make it to the playoffs, and we will try our hardest to make it to the championship and get a ring,” Kimbrough told 8Sports.
On the subject of all the new faces, Anderson isn’t phased.
“It makes it kind of exciting for us because everything is new. I’m a new coach. They’re new players. It’s a new attitude. It’s a new program. So it’s kind of exciting,” Anderson said.