Isle of Wight Academy standouts emerge in fall athletics
Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022
By James J. Lidington
Isle of Wight Academy
When Isle of Wight Academy began this varsity football season 0-4, it was with something other than surprise.
The Chargers had lost a considerable number of seniors from the previous year and were coming off a 2020 campaign that had been wiped out due to COVID-19. They lacked depth at skilled positions, including their offensive line, and had a sophomore signal caller in Coach Dale Chapman’s son, Jason, just up from the junior varsity team.
IWA had also absorbed losses against perennial state powerhouses such as Fredericksburg Christian School, Atlantic Shores Christian School and Portsmouth Christian School, with the Patriots and Seahawks both claiming Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association titles last season. But those contests imparted their share of lessons on the young Chargers. They carried that new knowledge into the annual homecoming game on Oct. 7 versus Norfolk Christian School and defeated the Ambassadors, 35-14.
They would go on to win three more games in a row against Christchurch (by a 23-7 score), Fuqua (49-7) and Fishburne Military (21-12).
“Our team this year literally grew up right before my eyes,” Coach Chapman said. “Our team was so young we had to grow up fast, both physically and mentally. Our few seniors all contributed to the team’s success.”
A top-notch senior core was led by running back Jackson Cofer, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards on the year and caught 15 passes for 165 yards, largely after the team got its offense together and beat the streak.
The team also finished third in the VISAA Division III state poll.
Senior Dorien Batten keyed a stingy IWA defense with 41 tackles on the year. Cofer added 35, and junior Will Bauman was third with 32.
“I am so proud of this team this year and all they have accomplished,” Chapman said. “Our coaches and myself look forward to what we can do next year.”
The following athletes were honored at IWA’s Fall Sports Banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 23:
Offensive Player of the Year: Jackson Cofer
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Dorien Batten and Jude Powell
MVP: Jackson Cofer
JV GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
MVP: Kailey Morgan
VARSITY GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Defensive Player of the Year: Taylor Boutin
Offensive Player of the Year: Claire Askew
MVP: Elizabeth McBee
Most Valuable Runner — Boys: Pierce Cutler (Personal record time: 17:52)
Most Valuable Runner — Girls: Hannah Edwards (PR: 20:00)
Most Improved — Male: John Butler (PR: 18:22)
Most Improved — Female: Grace Garzon (PR: 35:12)
FALL JV CHEER
MVP: Tatum Zyliak
Most Improved: Avery Rock
FALL VARSITY CHEER
MVP: Aftyn Bracy
Most Improved: Madison Zyliak