Big Red football garners 36 individual honors

Published 11:49 am Friday, January 12, 2024

The 2023 Southampton High School varsity football team was recognized with four Virginia High School League Class 2 all-state selections, including two on the first team; 13 All-Region 2A selections, including six on the first team; and 19 All-Tri-Rivers District selections, including four on the first team.

The Indians struggled to start the season but recovered to produce historic results. 

Big Red earned the No. 7 seed in the Region 2A playoffs and then navigated a new postseason terrain this year after the smaller student body at SHS had moved it from VHSL Class 3 to VHSL Class 2. 

The Indians traveled to play No. 2 Central Lunenburg High School in the regional quarterfinals and upset the Chargers 44-30, registering the varsity program’s first playoff win in 21 years.

Southampton advanced as far as the Region 2A semifinals and finished the season with an overall record of 6-6, including a 4-2 regular season district record.

ALL-STATE HONORS

Indians making the all-state first team included junior Steven McClenny, as an all-purpose offensive player, and senior Aaron Braid, as a punter. 

Southampton players making the all-state second team were senior Christopher Blue, as a linebacker, and senior Tremir Roberts, as a defensive back.

“I was very happy for the four players who were selected,” Big Red Head Coach Travis Parker said of his players’ all-state accolades. “This is the first year that we are in (Class) 2, so having five players nominated and four of the five players being selected is a good start. We intend to have more of a representation in 2024.”

McClenny finished the year with 1,538 all-purpose offensive and special teams yards, with 15 touchdowns. 

“Steven is a special talent,” Parker said. “His speed and quickness is unique. He loves to play football, and his work ethic is second to none. His contribution this season was paramount to our success. We are very happy that we have him for another season and expect nothing but exciting plays every time he touches the ball.”

Braid averaged 42.7 yards per punt in 2023, and his longest punt of the year went a stunning 83 yards in the season opener against host Poquoson High School.

“Aaron attained first team all-state, first team all-region and first team all-district for two years in a row,” Parker said. “What is so incredible is that he was this successful and effective for our team by teaching himself to punt. We are very curious to see how great he can become with special coaching he will receive on the college level.”

In 2023, Blue recorded 101 total tackles, including 21 tackles for a loss, four sacks, one interception, two blocked extra-point kicks and three touchdowns.

“Christopher Blue’s contribution to this team was enormous and was the ‘Man in the Middle,’” Parker said. “He put this team on his back all season long and worked hard and steady to make sure Southampton did not have a losing season. We had five games this season that our first team defense did not give up any points. Christopher was a major reason for that. We look forward to him having a very successful college playing career. He was also very productive for us on offense at fullback and tight end.”

Roberts also stood out on both sides of the ball, recording an interception on defense and gaining 954 yards on offense, having a hand in 12 touchdowns.

“Tremir Roberts stepped up during the last half of our season and saved us,” Parker said. “Our starting quarterback suffered a broken collarbone, so we had to call on Tremir to become our quarterback because of his knowledge of our offense and his athleticism. He did a phenomenal job as a fourth-year varsity player. He led us to a 5-2 record for the last seven games of our season, including the postseason.”

ALL-REGION HONORS

Indians making the all-region first team included Blue, at linebacker; Braid, at punter; senior Craig Hill, as an offensive lineman; McClenny, as both a wide receiver and all-purpose offensive player; and Roberts, as a defensive back.

Southampton players making the all-region second team were senior Levintae Brown, as both a linebacker and all-purpose defensive player; junior Timmy Jones, as a defensive lineman; junior Javonte Lynch, as a running back; senior Aaron Rawlings, as both an offensive and defensive lineman; and junior Laurence Wallace, as a kicker.

“Ten different players being selected to the all-region team in the first season of being in this region is really good I believe,” Parker said. “All of the players who received all-region honors were certainly deserving. I am pleased.”

ALL-DISTRICT HONORS

Making the all-district first team from Southampton were Blue, as a linebacker; McClenny, as a wide receiver; Braid, as a punter; and Roberts, as a defensive back.

Indians on the all-district second team included Brown, as a linebacker; Hill, as an offensive lineman; Jones, as a defensive lineman; Lynch, as a running back; McClenny, as a punt returner; Rawlings, as both an offensive and defensive lineman; and Wallace, as a kicker.

Big Red players receiving all-district honorable mentions included sophomore Kelin Benjamin, as a linebacker; Blue, as a running back; junior Lavon Lashley, as a defensive back; senior Carl Phillips, as a defensive back; Roberts, as a quarterback; junior Xavier Tyler, as a wide receiver; and Wallace, as a defensive back.

“I must say that I expected some better results for the all-district selections,” Parker said. “Our players performed very well this season, individually and collectively, and I was hopeful that a few more players were selected to the first team. However, we are happy for the honors that these players received.”