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Hayfield Should Find National To Its Liking

Between 2005 and 2008, when neighboring South County opened and bit into its enrollment area, Hayfield went 4-36. So it was happy to bolt the Virginia AAA Patriot District this fall for a new home in the less demanding National District.

But who knew that the Patriot might have been just as happy to see Hayfield go?

The Hawks (2-1), whose loss this season was by five to No. 18 Lee, a Patriot team, have rolled up 35 points in each game this season and Friday play their biggest game in years when they go to perennial National contender Yorktown (1-2) to run their triple-option attack on the Patriots’ turf field.

Hayfield, which had 12 seasons of finishing .500 or better between 1990 and 2004, before South County opened, has the chance to start 3-1 for the first time since 2003.

The Hawks went 0-21 in the district their last three years in the Patriot, with their only wins those seasons coming against nondistrict opponent Wakefield, a National team.

Not only does Hayfield have the talent to contend in the National this season, it likely would have been more competitive in the Patriot, where the Hawks were outscored, 983-402, the past four seasons.

They like their new home is just fine, thank you.

“We’ve hung through thick and thin for a long time,” Hayfield Coach Billy Pugh said. “It’s a pretty exciting thing for everything to be kind of coming to fruition. It’s been a long four years, no question about that.”

It has been a long four quarters for the Hawks’ opponents so far. Senior quarterback Anton McCallum, a three-year starter, sophomore fullback Steve Lynch and senior tailback Rayshawn Rigans toil behind a veteran line with enough depth to replace a starter by choice if a guy has an off night. Junior Tae Choi and senior Justin Sommers are two of the top guys up front. No lineman starts both ways, a departure from past seasons.

“It’s pretty exciting, to tell you the truth,” Pugh said. “Those running backs and that quarterback can play. They can run. I don’t know if I’ve ever had anybody better in space [than Rigans]. He’s going to make the first guy miss, and he might make the second guy miss.”

Rigans and Lynch each scored two touchdowns last week in a win over Washington-Lee.

Even though a lot of the Hayfield players are holdovers from last year's 1-9 team, the attitude is new. That’s what happens when you know you will be playing a National schedule instead of a Patriot schedule.

“It’s a great situation right now,” Pugh said. “The kids feel good about themselves. That’s a product of the [district] change, and I think some hard work, as well. It’s definitely a different bunch, a different mindset. They believe they can win, and that’s a big part of the battle.”

By Preston Williams  |  September 24, 2009; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  Hayfield , Lee , South County , Washington-Lee , Yorktown  
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