For King George, tonight is night to measure progress
High school football: Foxes primed for big test
Date published: 10/12/2007
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
The King George High School football team pointed to tonight long before the season even began.
Foxes third-year head coach Bill Dignan looked at its home date with James Monroe as a measuring stick for progress.
Dignan knew King George would be better this season than his previous two years, and the Foxes (4-1) haven't disappointed him.
Tonight at 7:30, they'll begin their Battlefield District slate with undefeated James Monroe (5-0).
The Foxes entered this season on a miserable 23-game losing streak, but are confident they can jump-start a run in the district tonight.
"People think that JM is probably the team to beat in the Battlefield because they have so many athletes," Dignan said. "Many teams can't match up with them. But we feel we have as many athletes as they do."
King George's array of running backs and tall, fast wide receivers is where Dignan is resting his hopes.
They've helped the Foxes average a Fredericksburg area-best 41.2 points per game.
The Foxes defeated William Monroe 67-28 last Friday, while scoring their most points since they beat Manassas Park 72-16 in 1977.
"I think people that haven't seen King George play expect JM to come in and beat the crap out of us," Dignan said. "But I think if you talk to [JM coach Rich Serbay], he'll tell you we're probably the toughest team he's faced all year."
Serbay does have high praise for the Foxes.
He said their offense is very "diversified" and that, "they've got the complete package."
The Foxes use four- and five-wide receiver formations and they also run the single-wing and offset-I.
It's enough to have Serbay concerned.
"They score a lot of points. They're a big-play team," Serbay said. "They can score from anywhere on the field--kick returns, punt returns, hand-offs, passes. We've got our work cut out for us."
James Monroe's players aren't looking past King George, either.
Standout wide receiver/defensive back P.J. Hayden said practice for the Foxes has been much more intense this year than in the past.
"[In previous years], it was just a relaxed week, like we knew we were going to win," Hayden said. "It's different this week. We've got to come out and play our hardest."
King George's solid start may have caught some people off-guard, but not Dignan.
When he accepted the job three years ago, he figured this would be the team's season to shine.
He knew standout running back Tremayne Dameron (632 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns) would be a senior.
But what he didn't anticipate was the talented wide receivers that would come his way.
The Foxes boast four of the top 12 receivers in the area. Dameron, DeAndre Scott, Donta Smith and Jamal Lucas all have at least 200 yards receiving.
Senior quarterback Shane Houck is second in the area in passing with 972 yards and eight touchdowns.
Dignan said the best thing about his receivers is that they've got a height advantage over just about every defensive back.
"Most teams have cover guys who are 5-8," Dignan said. "So we've got a little bit of an advantage there."
The 6-foot-2, 150-pound Smith runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and has a 40-inch vertical leap, Dignan said. He caught two passes for 106 yards against King William last year, but had his season cut short when he suffered a broken collarbone the following week in practice.
Scott is a 6-foot-4, 165-pound senior, who hadn't played football since he was a seventh-grader, but has settled in nicely.
"Shane is just throwing it up and letting me go get it," Scott said. "He knows if he puts it out there, I'll come through for him."
Dameron excels as a running back, but with the emergence of junior Jericho James at that position, Dignan has been able to spread him out at wide receiver.
At 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Lucas isn't as tall as the others, but may be the team's best route runner.
"They're going to be hard to stop," Houck said of his receivers.
Added Dignan: "If you put six in the box, we're going to run on you. And if you put seven in the box, you're saying you've got four guys that can match up with our four guys."
Dignan said if any team can match up with his receivers, it's James Monroe.
Tonight, he and his players will see if what they've been looking forward to all year was worth the wait.
"Even if we were to lose another game this year, I don't believe nobody is going to walk all over us like they had been doing," Dameron said. "We've got more than one weapon. If they stop one thing, we can go somewhere else. That's the difference in us now than in the past."
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526
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