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The (Lynchburg) News & Advance
Jefferson Forest QB Ryan Crist
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Coach: Don Rice (10th season)
Record at Jefferson Forest: 51-46
Last season: 6-6, 1-5 (lost in Region III Division 4 semifinals) Returning offensive starters: 8
Returning defensive starters: 9
Players to watch: QB Ryan Crist (5-11, 175, sr.), LB Jesse Stevens (6-1, 225, sr.), LB A.J. Zellars (6-1, 195, sr.), DT Chris Tidwell (6-0, 255, jr.), OT Nick Gehman (6-6, 235, sr.), FB Michael Foster (5-10, 185, sr.), HB David Abeson 5-10, 175, sr.), HB Jason Ayers (6-0, 175, jr.), SS Lucas Tribble (5-10, 175, sr.), C Eric Johnson (6-1, 230, sr.)
2012 summary: Crist replaced a three-year starter at quarterback and promptly set the Jefferson Forest single-season record for passing yards. Foster was lost for the year after the first game in which he ran for 150 yards, but Abeson stepped up with a 1,000 yard season on the ground. The Cavaliers had no problem scoring, but youth on defense led to some long nights. JF gave up 62, 56 and 61 points in consecutive losses to Amherst County, Heritage and Rustburg and ultimately bowed out with a 44-10 loss to the Lancers in the second round of the playoffs.
Outlook: The lumps JF took on defense last year should pay dividends now, as experience will help minimize the blown coverages that stung the team too often. Stevens is the latest in a long line of JF middle linebackers who know how to direct a defense. The Cavs lost two college-bound wideouts but have tall, athletic replacements ready to provide Crist a good target. With Foster back to full strength, the Cavs have a potent running game that will help form a balanced attack. In the rugged Seminole District, a .500 overall record should be enough for a playoff berth. The Cavs have the talent to get at least that.
Coach: Chris Watts (12th season)
Record at Liberty: 87-43
Last season: 7-5, 3-3 (lost in Region III Division 3 semifinals) Returning offensive starters: 5
Returning defensive starters: 5
Players to watch: RB Matthew Smith (6-1, 205, jr.), QB Austin Porter (6-1, 190, jr.), DE/TE Jamaal Preston (6-3, 215, sr.), LB Dustin Hiner (5-11, 195, sr.), RB/LB Devin Carper (5-8, 190, soph.), DT Danny Orange (6-4, 265, jr.), OL Lee Oversteet (6-0, 265, sr.), OL Ben Goad (5-10, 250, sr.), DE Mason Wolk (6-2, 220, soph.), DT Kenyan Orange (6-1, 220, sr.)
2012 summary: With the help of a dedicated, 14-man senior class, the Minutemen rebounded from an anomalous 1-9 campaign to return to their familiar spot in the postseason. Smith eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards while Porter emerged as a capable dual threat in his first full season as the starting quarterback. Liberty averaged 31 points per game, but issues with ball security (six fumbles in a loss to Heritage) and big-play prevention (late blown lead vs. Harrisonburg) limited the team's progress to the second round of the postseason.
Outlook: Porter, who began starting midway through his freshman year, returns to pilot Liberty's option attack. He'll have two power backs at his disposal in Smith and Carper. The defensive line should be a strength; Liberty hopes to get more pressure on the quarterback with the help of Preston, Wolk and both Oranges. A Week 2 game against Rockbridge County is a rematch with the team that eliminated Liberty from the playoffs. The depth of the Seminole District will give the Minutemen plenty of opportunities to accrue VHSL points, and they should win often enough to qualify for postseason play.
Weather JournalMidday update: More ice likely later