Disappointing loss not fatal for SA

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By losing 14-6 to Hampton Roads Academy on Friday night, Southampton Academy did not hurt its chances at a Virginia Independent Schools Division III playoff spot because HRA is a larger Division II school.

However, if the Raiders had knocked off the Navigators — and they should have — it would have helped tremendously. The VISAA gives a smaller school more points when it beats a bigger team.

The Raiders spoiled a nice effort by running back John Hinkle, who rushed for 95 yards on 13 carries. Hinkle, at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, is not easy to bring down and runs a lot like Larry Csonka. Hinkle had some big runs Friday night, including a 5-yard touchdown on SA’s first series.

The Raiders have some huge games coming up and need some wins leading up to those games to stay in the postseason hunt. Unfortunately, Southampton Academy plays the two toughest teams in the Virginia Commonwealth Conference the last two weeks of the season, so a cushion would not hurt. The Raiders play at Isle of Wight Academy on Oct. 24 and host Blessed Sacrament Huguenot on Oct. 31.

Hampton Roads Academy head coach Tom York gave credit to SA for hanging tough.

“They have a good team. “We’re the same. They have a lot of sophomores that play, and we have a lot of sophomores that play,” he said.

In the huddle after the game, Dale Marks, Southampton Academy head coach, told his players to not hang their heads. York acknowledged that tight games like Friday night are tough to lose.

“You lose a game like that and it’s demoralizing and you win a game like that and it’s so uplifting,” York said. “It’s crazy.”

Whether a young Southampton Academy team can bounce back from such a loss remains to be seen.

■ Speaking of huge games, Franklin has three straight contests that could have an effect on the postseason. This week, the Broncos host West Point, an undefeated team. Then, on Oct. 3, Colonial Beach visits Franklin for a rematch of last season’s two grudge matches. Colonial Beach, which has only given up seven points in its three games, beat Franklin twice last year, once in the playoffs. On Oct. 10, Franklin travels to Surry County, which is always a tough game. Surry has struggled so far this year against larger schools and is 1-3.

■ Despite its 0-3 record, Southampton continues to improve. The Indians have some winnable games approaching against sub-.500 teams, including a game at Grafton (1-3) on Saturday. Southampton will also host Warhill on Oct. 3 and play at New Kent on Oct. 17.

■ A really cool feature of the Chowan University Web site is a live, free, webcast of all the Hawks football games. You can listen to the games by going to http://www.futuremediaworld.com/chowan.htm. Gattis Hodges, a longtime announcer in the Murfreesboro area, does the play-by-play.