Dogwood Dominance

Nine. That’s the number of State Championships won by Dogwood District teams since the mid-2000s.   Gretna has three, Altavista three and Appomattox has won 3 in a row and tries to join elite company this year by winning its 4th straight State Championship.  Only two schools, Hampton and Phoebus have accomplished that goal.

Appomattox Raiders – (Class 2; Region 2C)

2017 Record:  14 – 1; 5 – 0 Dogwood District

Head Coach:  Doug Smith; 10th season overall; 7th season at Appomattox (Career Record: 74 – 36) (Record at School:  61 – 17)

2017 Points Scored:    666 (44.4 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 300 (20.0 average per game)

Won their third consecutive state championship in 2017.  Had a 32-game winning streak broken when they lost to Heritage in Week 3, but didn’t lose again and enter 2018 on a 12 game winning streak.  Smith is the latest head coach that formerly coached at dysfunctional Heritage High School in Lynchburg to have success at a lower level.  Smith replaced Chris Jones as the Pioneers Head Coach in 2012 and went 13 – 19 over three seasons before being fired.  The administration said they fired him because his team wasn’t disciplined, fumbled too much, and didn’t win but the fact is that they were put off by his religious beliefs and introduction his players to a local youth pastor.

Fun Fact:  From 2012 – 2014, Appomattox won just 17 games.  The last three seasons, the Raiders are 44 – 1

2018 Schedule: 

August 24-      vs. Buckingham County

August 31-      at Rusburg

September 7-   at Heritage

September 14- Open date

September 21- vs. Dan River

September 28- at Fork Union Military

October 5=      at Chatham

October 12-     at William Campbell

October 19-     vs.  Gretna

October 26-     vs. Colonial Heights

November 2-   vs. Altavista

 

Chatham Cavaliers: (Class 2; Region 2C)

2017 Record: 3-7 overall; 0 – 5 Dogwood District

Head Coach:  Matt Allen; 3rd season overall; 3rd season at Chatham (Career Record: 6 – 14) (Record at School: 6 – 14)

2017 Points Scored:    245 (24.5 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 432 (43.2 average per game)

Had second consecutive 3-7 season in 2017.  Started the season 2-0 before losing 7 of their last 8 games.  Need to find some defense as they gave up at least 40 points in seven games, at least 50 points in 5 games, and over 60 points twice.

Fun Fact:  In the last 18 seasons, Chatham has had just 5 winning seasons and four of those came in a row from 2004 – 2007.  The school’s best season came in 2005 they went 10-2 and lost in the Region B final all while ending Gretna’s 38-game winning streak.

2018 Schedule:

August 24-      at James River

August 31-      vs. Buckingham County

September 7-   at Martinsville

September 14- vs. Tunstall

September 21- at Gretna

September 28- Open date

October 5-       vs. Appomattox

October 12-     vs. Dan River

October 19-     at Cumberland

October 26-     at Altavista

November 2-   vs. William Campbell

 

Dan River Wildcats:  (Class 2; Region 2C)

2017 Record: 5 – 6 overall; 2 – 2 Dogwood District

Head Coach: Ferrell Edmunds – 11th season overall; 11th at Dan River (Career Record: 71 – 39) (Record at School: 71 – 39)

2017 Points Scored:    244 (24.4 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 281 (28.1 average per game)

Last year ended a streak of 7 straight winning seasons in which they went 62-27.  Started the season 5-2 and then lost their last 4 games.

Fun Fact:   Edmunds has three sons who played for him now playing in the NFL.  Edmunds was a member of the undefeated 1982 George Washington-Danville team that won the Group AAA State Championship.  Edmunds was  two-time pro-bowl Tight End in the NFL and caught 9 of his 12 career touchdown passes from Dolphins’ Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Marino

2018 Schedule:

August 24-      vs. Magna Vista

August 31-      vs. Bassett

September 7-   at Tunstall

September 14- at Halifax County

September 21- at Appomattox

September 28- Open date

October 5-       vs. Altavista

October 12-     at Chatham

October 19-     at William Campbell

October 26-     vs. Martinsville

November 2-   vs. Gretna

 

Gretna Hawks:  (Class 2; Region 2C)

2017 Record:  7 – 3 overall; 4-2 Dogwood District

Head Coach:  Cole Simpson; 5th season overall; 5th season at Gretna (Career Record: 15 – 25) (Record at School: 15 – 25)

2017 Points Scored:    267 (26.7 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 191 (18.1 average per game)

One of the most dominant programs in the state from 2003 to 2011, fell off the map in 2015 and 2016 going 8 – 13, but last year was more like it with 7 wins.  Simpson appears to finally be finding his way as a head coach but he has large steps to fill in.  Robert Senseney went 47 – 4 and won a back to back state titles in 2003 and 2004, Chris Thurman won two state championships in 2007 and 2008 and Kevin Saunders won a state championship in 2011 after losing in the state finals in 2010.

Fun Fact:  Gretna once lost a then state record 44 games in a row in the 1990s, but from 2001 to 2011 the Hawks went 129 – 16 with 5 State Championships.  Former Coach Robert Prunty is now a college head coach after taking the job at FCS Hampton earlier this year.

2018 Schedule:

August 24-      vs. Brunswick

August 31 –     at Tunstall

September 7-   at Nottoway

September 14- vs. Radford

September 21- vs. Chatham

September 29- at Altavista

October 5-       vs. William Campbell

October 12-     vs Altavista

October 19-     at Appomattox

October 26-     Open date

November 2-   at Dan River

 

Nelson County Governors (Class 2; Region 2C)

2017 Record:  3 -7 overall; Did not play a district schedule

Head Coach:  Matthew Hicks – 3rd season overall; 3rd season at Nelson County (Career Record: 3 – 17) (Record at School: 3 – 17)

2017 Points Scored:    274 (27.4 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 379 (37.9 average per game)

For the second straight year, Nelson County has declined to pay the required Dogwood District games in favor of an Independent schedule and thus will start 2018 not eligible for the VHSL Playoffs.  The chances of the Governors making it would have been slim anyway as this is another text book example of why the VHSL needs to go to an 8-man football division for smaller schools to have a better chance to compete.

Fun Fact:  By playing an independent schedule Nelson County avoids Dogwood powers Gretna and Appomattox and instead plays Craig County and Massanutten Military.  Of their 274 points scored last season, 82 were scored against Massanutten which equates to 30% of their total points scored for the season.

2018 Schedule:

August 24-      vs. Bath County

August 31-      at Page County

September 7-   at Craig County

September 14- at George Mason

September 21- vs. Parry McCluer

September 28- at Covington

October 5-       vs. Madison County

October 12-     vs. Massanutten Military

October 19-     vs. Strasburg

October 26-     Open date

November 2-   vs. Rappahannock County

 

Altavista Colonels (Class 1; Region 1B)

2017 Record: 3 – 9 overall; 1- 5 Dogwood District

Head Coach:  Andy Cox – 1st season overall; 1st season at Altavista

2017 Points Scored:    211 (17.6 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 438 (36.5 average per game)

Mike Scharnus called it a career as a Head Coach at Altavista after 11 seasons and 3 state championships.  His last Altavista team showed all the signs of a team that suffered major losses to graduation going 2-8 in the regular season before going 1-1 in the playoffs.  The Colonels lost in the Regional Semi-Finals to eventual state champion Riverheads 49 – 0.  Cox returns to Altavista where he was an assistant on three state championship teams and he comes from Appomattox where he won three more titles as an assistant.  Last year’s record was Altavista’s worst since going 2-8 in 2007, which was Scharnus’ first season.

Fun Fact:  From 2013 – 2014 Altavista went 29-1 with back to back state championships.  The Colonels were led by Quarterback Juan Thornhill who is now a Senior Defensive Back at the University of Virginia and don’t be surprised if he’s not an All-American this season.

2018 Schedule:

August 24-      vs. Central-Lunenburg

August 31-      at Prince Edward County

September 7-   vs. Staunton River

September 14- at Rustburg

September 21- at William Campbell

September 28- vs. Gretna

October 5-       at Dan River

October 12-     at Gretna

October 19-     Open date

October 26-     vs. Chatham

November 2-   at Appomattox

 

William Campbell Generals (Class 1; Region 1B)

2017 Record:  9 -3 overall; 4-1 Dogwood District

Head Coach:  Danny Broggin – 3rd season overall; 3rd season at William Campbell (Career Record: 14 – 9) (Record at School 14 – 9)

2017 Points Scored:    434 (43.4 average per game)

2017 Points Allowed: 326 (27.2 average per game)

The spread offense and points in bunches is back in Naruna.  Broggin is a former Brad Bradley assistant at William Campbell and when he got the head coaching job, he junked the single wing offense the Generals had been using and went back to the spread.  After a 5-6 first season, the Generals won 9 games last year scoring at least 30 points in 8 of their 12 games.  The Generals lost in the Regional Finals to eventual state champion Riverheads in which they were held to just 14 points, their lowest total of the season.

Fun Fact:  Under Bradley from 2002 – 2008, William Campbell was 75 – 16 with two state championships.  In the 9 seasons since he left, William Campbell has had 7 losing seasons.

2018 Schedule:

August 24-      vs. Randolph-Henry

August 31-      at Central-Lunenburg

September 7-   at Patrick County

September 14- Open date

September 21- vs. Altavista

September 28- vs. Parry McCluer

October 5-       at Gretna

October 12-     vs. Appomattox

October 19-     vs. Dan River

October 26-     at Thomas Jefferson-Richmond

November 2-   at Chatham

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