Tanaya Seldon, the district’s leading scorer, brings the ball up court against Mathews.

Tanaya Seldon, the district’s leading scorer, brings the ball up court against Mathews.

With the newly arranged high school sports season as directed by the Virginia High School League, fall sports began practice last week. Everyone got in at least two practices, one indoors and the second, for those who will play outside, a practice outside. One coach, Mark Fridenstine of the girl’s field hockey team was happy with the weather predictions for this week. The Northumberland Indians football is set to open their season this Saturday at 1 p.m. at home against 2A Luray.

The ladies field hockey team got in two practices with the second being outside when it was sunny; the temperature was 30 degrees but the wind was not blowing. In the words of Coach Fridenstine, “It was beautiful.” They have 18-19 girls out with the expectation of having just a varsity squad this year. “We have an experienced offense, a lot of returnees,” stated Fridenstine, adding, “I think we are going to be alright.”

Ladies Volleyball Coach Anjelica Scott stated they have 24-25 young ladies out with three seniors returning to give the team leadership, Ashley Burgess, Rianne O’Bier and Kiley Wallace. They are looking forward to March and the start of their season. Rappahannock (Warsaw) is also expected to form a team.

With only one full practice actually conducted but the promise of a warm week ahead, the varsity football team will begin play this Saturday against 2A Luray. The game is set for one in the afternoon to take advantage of both a warmer time and less night time travel for the visiting team.

Once again this year, the key word for the Indians will be “speed.” And with eight starters returning from the 5-6 Indians squad, it appears on paper at least, that Aaron Lewis and staff have the horses. Denzel Palmer, a rising junior, will step into quarterback’s shoes. Palmer showed in brief appearances in the 2019 season, he had the ability to run when he needed to. His passing ability will be put to the test early with several excellent receivers headed up by sophomore Cameron Seldon with an already proven track record. Also in the back field to run with the ball will be Lavar Churchill. Churchill took  the opening kickoff in the 2019 game at Surry County  to the house to show both his speed and agility. Anchoring the line will be Nick Mothershead, a four-year starter at center and second team all district. He will also be a middle linebacker again this year. Another returnee on the offensive line is Trenton Liner. Coach Lewis stated he had “three or four others” the staff was looking at. Lewis had previously said the Indians had a year to outgrow their youth and inexperience. “I expect a great year from us.” They have 25 candidates at this point with a possible five more, a number Lewis describes as “comfortable.”

Rappahannock High in Warsaw is the only other team within the Northern Neck District that is fielding a football team as of this writing. They return All District quarterback K.J. Gaines with a couple of skilled receivers.

The Indians golf team begins practice this week under new Coach Dickens. They are moving their home course to Quinton Oaks for the 2021 season.

  This past week marked the closing of the Class 1 basketball playoffs. In the region 1A finals, the Mathews girls topped the Rappahannock ladies, 54-21, and the Mathews guys beat West Point, 55-50. Both claiming the Region 1A title. In first round state payoff action, region B champ Altavista guys eliminated the Mathews guys, 58-52. Region B ladies champ Riverheads sent the Mathews girls out, 60-39.  In the championship game, for the girls, Honaker beat Riverheads, 81-56, and Parry McCluer topped Altavista 56-39 in the guys final.