Not much needs to be said when Phoebus and Hampton are mentioned in the same sentence. This Thursday night will be no different. The Phantoms and the Crabbers will meet in the Peninsula District’s Game of the Year Thursday night with playoff seeds on the line. Both teams have already secured their spot in the Eastern Region Division 5 playoffs, but whoever wins this game will have home field advantage at Darling Stadium as opposed to Todd Stadium. Don’t expect either team to take it easy in the 36 year-old rivalry. Hampton defeated the Phantoms 13-10 in overtime of last season’s battle. The win snapped Phoebus’ 6-game winning streak in the series. Hampton will look to add to their 30-13 lead in the all-time series when the teams meet for the 44th time this Thursday.
The Hampton Crabbers will bring their 8-1 record into Darling Stadium Thursday night. The Crabbers went 9-3 last season before losing to Norcom in the semi-finals of the Eastern Region playoffs. Hampton has had a great season so far and head coach Mike Smith’s team looks poised to compete for a state title. Winning it this year would give Smith his 12th title and Hampton their state-leading 19th championship. Virginia Tech commit, senior Deon Newsome, leads the Crabbers offensive attack. Junior Marshawn Williams has shined at running back in the run-heavy offense. Seniors Daquin Moore and Trevor Arneaud will lineup on the outside at wide receiver, along with transfer Umar Muhammad-Wyatt. The story of the season so far has been the Crabber defense. Much like last season, the Crabber D has remarkably shutout 6 of the 9 teams they have faced this season. They are led up front by seniors Daunte Wilson and Joemel Redd at the end positions and Troy Garrett at tackle. Newsome and Williams will both play linebacker on top of their offensive duties. The secondary is led by Rashawn Stevens and Cal Kee. Mike Smith, the winningest high school football coach in Virginia history, is hoping to notch his first state title since the 2005 season.
The Phoebus Phantoms enter Thursday night’s game with a perfect 9-0 record. Winning is nothing new to the Phantoms, having won 4 consecutive Group AAA Division 5 state championships coming into the 2012 season. Phoebus has got to where they are this season behind their freshman quarterback Terrell Toliver. It’s a little easier playing as a freshman when you have Tony Pittman to handoff to in the backfield. Pittman will lead the Phantoms run-heavy offense. When Toliver does pass it will be to Quatez Ruffin, Troy Durham or Darius Jones at the receiver positions. Mark Wilson will anchor the offensive and defensive lines. Wilson has committed to play at Old Dominion University. Malik Hawkins returns at linebacker where he started every game last season. Ruffin and Jones will start at cornerback on defense while Robbie Robinson patrols the secondary at free safety. Regardless of the outcome Thursday, the Phantoms seem to have all the ingredients necessary to make another magical run towards an unprecedented 5th consecutive state title.
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