Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drifters JV football soars

Leonard Banks 17.SEP.08

After coming off a tough 12-0 loss to Goochland last week, the Colonial Beach Drifters junior varsity football team bounced back to rout Charles City, 30-0. Using a revamped single-wing offense, featuring Kiante Dickerson at quarterback, the Drifters played four quarters of solid football. Every time the Panthers tried to build a pattern of momentum, the Drifters made adjustments that eventually shut the Mustangs down.

Cedric Smith and Matt Anderson scored touchdowns in the first half on offense, while Thomas Haywood and Damien Eiras scored in the second half on defense.

Making their junior coaching debuts this season is head coach, and Drifter football great, Earl Payton and his assistants, Battlefield legend, Jonathan Parker and former Drifter star lineman, Kevin Sparks. Thus far this season, the Drifters have won two games, with one lost to the Bulldogs.

Thrilled in his new role as the junior varsity quarterback, and faced with filling the shoes of former junior varsity quarterback stars such as Dylan Farinet, TT Carey and Brent Steffey, Dickerson has settled in and continues to build confidence in his new role as field leader. “I love being a leader, because people respect me, both on and off the field,” Dickerson said.

Payton has witnessed his new quarterback’s athletic growth since days of recreational football. “When he came into the program this year, I told him that I needed him to play quarterback, and that would mean less joking, and more control of the huddle,” Payton said.

After losing Paul Roberson, Dylan Farinet and Travis Cundiff to the varsity this season, many fans may have wondered if the junior varsity would be in a state of rebuilding. With Aaron Dickerson in the role of running back and linebacker and the speed of Eiras and Smith blazing down the sidelines, the Drifters could potentially give the rest of their division a run for their money towards the end of the season. Payton has already instilled the traditional iron-man style of football that will someday benefit them on the varsity level.

Payton realizes that the feeder systems associated with the Drifter football program are vital to the future of varsity football team. Fans have also become accustomed to four straight winning seasons of Drifter junior varsity football.

Recruiting players from the elementary school, where both Payton and Parker work as educators provides Payton an edge of developing a relationship within the confines of a classroom before competing on the field. Not only does Payton coach varsity level recreation football, but he has also worked as an assistant varsity coach. Given his high school, college legendary playing performances and present coaching experience, he has the right stuff to repeat the success of his predecessor, and present varsity assistant, Keith Dickerson.

Payton also understands the importance of off-season conditioning, and how strength related exercise would ultimately result in a more competitive team. “I told them, depending on what they do this season in the weight-room will determine what kind of varsity team they will be during the regular season,” Payton said.

The Drifters will host Lancaster on Wednesday, September 17, at 6:30 p.m., and travel to the unfriendly confines of Rappahannock on September 24, with the game starting at 6:30 p.m.

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