With Jamestown and Grafton winning their Group 4A South Region semifinals Tuesday, the Bay Rivers District is assured of at least two teams in the Virginia High School League state girls volleyball tournament in Richmond next week. That number could more than double on Thursday.
Warhill (26-1) plays William Monroe at Spotsylvania High in one 3A East Region semifinal, with a state berth on the line. Lafayette (21-6) is at Kettle Run in the other semi, with that region’s other berth at stake.
In addition, Bruton (10-14) plays at Luray in a 2A East semifinal for a state tournament berth. Should all three win, the Bay Rivers will exceed its number of four state semifinalists of a year ago, which was considered extraordinary at the time.
“I think it helps us to all play together in the regular season,” Lafayette coach Keith Nowadly said. “The matches make you a seasoned team.
“Even Bruton is a tough match in the Bay Rivers, and that’s why I expected them to go far. They are better than their record.”
Nowadly hopes the experience of hitter Abby Oren, setter Julia Howard and blocker Shaylee Ruescher will help lift his team to a second consecutive state berth. The Rams, Warhill, Grafton and Jamestown all played in the semis at the VCU Siegel Center a year ago, with Jamestown (Group 4A) and Warhill (3A) reaching the finals.
“I would not be surprised if one or two or even three Bay Rivers schools win state championships,” Nowadly said. “The district is that good.”
Rams want XC title
Lafayette finished second in the 3A East Region boys cross country meet to Brentsville District a week ago, but Rams coach Craig Wortman hardly sees that as a huge impediment to defending the state crown. The Rams were second to Brentsville in the regional a year ago and went on to win their first cross country state title.
“We have to put all of the pieces together, but right now we’re looking and feeling good,” Wortman said. “When we lost to Brentsville last year, we were ranked fourth going into the state meet and won.
“We’re going up there (to the Great Meadow course near Warrenton) talking about winning it.”
Konrad Steck, who was third in the regional, will aim for a top-five finish. Wortman hopes that Steck, James Hart and Andrew Loper can lead four Rams into the top 15 and put them ahead of Brentsville and the other contenders.
Blacksburg’s girls are favored in 3A, but Wortman hopes his girls run the “perfect race” to push them and, if not, at least finish in the top three. Both Lafayette teams run Friday.
Hornsby wins football crown
Hornsby won the Bay Rivers District middle school football title by beating Toano 9-0 in the championship game Saturday at Bailey Field. The win avenged an 18-0 loss to Toano during the regular season.
Two special-teams plays were crucial for the Hawks. Jabray James and Timothy Gillen were credited with recovering a misplayed punt by Toano, which led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Tyrone Fletcher (11 carries, 55 yards).
Caleb Massie added the extra point to give the Hawks (8-1) a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Massie tackled the Toano punter in the end zone in the fourth quarter for the Hawks’ other score.
That was enough for a Hornsby defense that allowed only 36 points on the season. Massie, Tyler Neville, Ronnie Metzger, Treyvion Canady and Chase Dively all played well for the defense. Linemen Rafael Nieto, Jake Richardson, Ed Coombs and Ryan Pastirik paved the way for tailback Canady (40 yards rushing) and quarterback Ramsey Hayyat (70 yards rushing) in the ball-control offense.
RUSHING: Donald King, Smithfield (1,325 yards, 18 touchdowns); Chris Spruill, York (1,291, 13); Ethan Bryce, Poquoson (1,201, 14); Trent Orie, New Kent (1,166, 13); John Douglass, Lafayette (1,047, 11); Bailey Hicks, Tabb (944, 8); Trevaun Walker, Grafton (791, 7).
PASSING: Brendan McGinty, Lafayette (52-of-92 passing, 987 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs); Alec Kurek, Tabb (33-of-64, 923, 11, 6); Nick Turner, Smithfield (44-of-67, 833, 7, 4); Greg Dockery, Bruton (54-of-147, 557, 4, 2); Cole Lytle, York (26-of-55, 498, 3, 3).
RECEIVING: Brandon Villanueva-Pernell, Lafayette (30 receptions, 727 yards, 9 TDs); Chris Pierce, Smithfield (44-662-8); Luke Gilbert, York (22-494-4); Nick Hunter, Tabb (8-310-5); John Atwood, Tabb (11-221-3); Aaron Leonard, Grafton (15-215-2); Matt Blaser, Poquoson (15-214-3); James Green, Smithfield (22-207-2).
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.