Big Red earns first playoff win in 21 years

Published 5:36 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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Southampton High School’s varsity football team took the program to a level it has not been at for more than two decades on Friday, Nov. 10, when the No. 7-seeded Indians earned a playoff victory, upsetting host No. 2 Central Lunenburg High School 44-30 in the Region 2A quarterfinals.

The playoff win was Big Red’s first in 21 years, with its last postseason triumph coming via a 21-7 result against Greensville County High School on Nov. 15, 2002.

“It is very exciting and rewarding,” Southampton Head Coach Travis Parker said of the 2023 squad’s achievement. “However, we realize that it is not easy. But that is what makes this win that much sweeter, because it is something that has to be worked hard for. 

“(Offensive Coordinator) Xavier Scott always tells the guys that ‘football is the ultimate team sport,’” Parker continued. “This statement is so true. Winning a football game takes a team where everyone does their job, and they are good with that. 

“The awesome gratification of winning this game with this group of coaches and players hit me like a ton of bricks in the final minutes of the game once we had it in hand,” Parker said. “This win means a lot to us and the Southampton Football Program.”

The victory came against a Chargers team that entered the game with an overall record of 8-2.

“We believe that we are meant to be the ‘underdog’ in this playoff season for a reason,” Parker said. “There are those who ‘wrote us off’ when we started the season 1-5. But we ‘didn’t write back!’ Everything happens for God’s reason.”

The No. 7 Indians (6-5) will now visit No. 3 Amelia County High School (8-3) in the Region 2A semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. Amelia advanced out of the quarterfinals by winning 24-20 against visiting Greensville, a team Southampton defeated 43-0 on Oct. 13 to kickstart the turnaround to its season.

Parker said preparation, execution and resilience were the key factors in Southampton achieving the win over Central Lunenburg.

“We were so focused on knowing everything about Central Lunenburg that it was all the players and coaches could talk about the entire week,” he said. “We had enough players to successfully do their job. We never gave up during that game. We believed that we were meant to win that game that night. There were many times during the game where we could have ‘thrown in the towel,’ but quitting was not an option.”

Parker noted that his players made the plays that needed to be made, and he shared some key examples:

  • a fumble recovery and touchdown run by Timmy Jones;
  • a fumble recovery by Levintae Brown;
  • an interception by Carl Phillips;
  • Tremir Roberts running for 125 yards and two touchdowns;
  • Steven McClenny running for 142 yards and a score;
  • Javonte Lynch running for 101 yards and a score; and
  • Chris Blue scoring a touchdown.

Southampton’s defense made Central Lunenburg expend extra energy on long drives to get its 30 points, Parker said. Meanwhile on offense, Big Red piled up 407 yards and five touchdowns while practicing perfect ball security, recording no turnovers or fumbled snaps in the game.