Indians fall narrowly in Region 2A semifinals

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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Southampton High School’s varsity football team fought hard in the Region 2A semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17, showing it belonged among the top teams in the wider area. But the No. 7 Indians did ultimately fall, ending a historic playoff run with a narrow 14-8 loss to host No. 3 Amelia County High School.

Travis Parker, Southampton’s head coach, was straightforward when he assessed what the deciding factors were in the outcome of the contest.

“We just lost the game,” he said. “Hats off to Amelia for executing their game plan against us and making the big plays that needed to be made to beat us. Unfortunately there were miscues and missed assignments that we made that helped them, of course. There were big plays that we needed to make that were not made as well and some other things that could have played a factor, but one is only able to recognize them by looking back at that night. 

“However, I am proud of our players and coaches, and we will be a better and stronger team going forward because of this playoff experience,” he added. “Everything happens for God’s reason.”

The coach noted that he did not yet have individual statistics he could cite from the Nov. 17 game, but he said the Big Red defense definitely did its job against the Amelia Raiders.

“Amelia did not score their touchdowns on our defense,” Parker said. “Seniors Chris Blue, Levintae Brown and Aaron Rawlings led the defensive charge against Amelia and shut them out.”

The No. 3 Raiders (9-3) are set to face host No. 1 Poquoson High School (9-3) on Friday, Nov. 24, in the Region 2A championship game.

The Indians improved their win-loss record to better than .500 for the first time this season when they defeated host No. 2 Central Lunenburg High School (8-3) in the Region 2A quarterfinals on Nov. 10, giving the Southampton varsity football program its first playoff win in more than two decades. Big Red ultimately finished the year with an overall record of 6-6, including a 4-2 mark in the Tri-Rivers District.

Looking back on the season as a whole, the key word that shaped Parker’s evaluation of the 2023 Indians was “resilience.”

“This team came together after a 1-5 start to the regular season and went on a five-game winning streak to make the playoffs and win the first playoff game in 21 seasons here at Southampton,” he said. “No one will be able to take their accomplishments this season away from them. The 2023 Southampton Big Red Machine put us back into the ‘playoff talk’ for seasons to come.”

He then shared some insights on what kind of adjustments helped produce the turnaround.

“Once this coaching staff was able to put the right players in the right positions, we took off,” he said. “With so many of our players playing varsity for the first time, along with the injuries we had to deal with to key starting players, we had to ‘shift things up,’ and that took time. I am very proud of this team and what they have accomplished. They should be proud of themselves.”

Ten seniors finished the season with Southampton and will be moving on from the Big Red gridiron. Those student-athletes include Tremir Roberts, Levintae Brown, Christopher Blue, Carl Graves-Phillips, Kemon Eaton, Jacob Peden, Kashawn Marrow, Aaron Rawlings, Craig Hill and Aaron Braid.