Yorktown quarterback Jordan Smith remembers suffering a hip injury and watching from the sideline last season as the Patriots’ dominance over Washington-Lee came to an end with a 28-7 loss in the opening round of the regional playoffs. The senior has payback on his mind, but beating W-L would count for only a small part of his prediction of perfection.
Linebacker Josh Bunche found motivation in last year’s loss to the Generals, using a negative to better prepare himself for football after high school.
Head coach Bruce Hanson said losing to W-L for the first time during his nearly-three-decade tenure as leader of the Patriots was tough, but the team takes pride in its 2010 accomplishments. Hanson even showed a sense of humor toward the defeat, saying he no longer had to worry about others talking about his flawless record against the Generals.
Yorktown lost to W-L for the first time in 28 years last season, making for a sour end to an otherwise successful campaign. The Patriots went 9-1 during the regular season — including a 14-0 win over W-L — and captured the National District championship before falling short in the playoffs. While the Patriots would enjoy getting back at the Generals, Yorktown’s primary focuses are repeating as district champions and competing at the regional level.
"Certainly, that loss was a tough loss for us to take," Hanson said. "I think our kids won’t take W-L lightly ever again. … [The Generals] played really well that day and we didn’t play very good. They deserved to beat us.
"We still take great pride that we were district champs and beat them for the Arlington County championship. They stuck it to us in that playoff game, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re not going to cry over that. We’re going to try to win the district again and try to beat W-L again when we play them."
Leading the way for Yorktown is Smith (5 feet 7, 140 pounds), who enters his third year playing quarterback on the varsity level. A threat to run with the football, Smith said he wants to maintain his success on the ground while improving as a passer in the team’s spread offense.
After being forced out of last season’s playoff game with a hip injury that required surgery, Smith has his sights set on improving on last year’s 9-1 regular season record.
"Right now we’re not thinking about W-L, but when it comes down to it, we’re going to beat them," Smith said. … "I think last year [The Connection] interviewed me and … asked me [to predict] the season. I gave … my prediction: I said 9-1. We went 9-1. This year, we’re going to go 10-0."
Fullback Austin Browne (senior, 5-11, 230), running backs Josh Bunche (senior, 5-6, 175) and Micah Gregory (junior, 5-10, 155) and Bishop O’Connell transfer Marvin Stewart (sophomore, 5-11, 160) are playmaking candidates for the Patriots.
Nick White (5-8, 216), Mason Snider (6-2, 205) and Charlie Whelden (6-0, 280) return on the offensive line.
Defensively, Bunche is a key athlete who will move back to outside linebacker after playing inside linebacker last year. Bunche said he gained 10-15 pounds from working out — due in part to the experience of losing to W-L — and hopes to get noticed by colleges.
"Literally, right after that day, I just told myself I’m not going to lose [to W-L] my senior year," Bunche said. "I saw how bad it hurt the other seniors, so from that day on I’ve … just been working out [really] hard. … I don’t want to beat [the Generals], I want to embarrass them."
Yorktown will scrimmage against Forestville on Aug. 20 at home and against St. Albans on Aug. 25. The Patriots will open the regular season on Sept. 1. at home against Wilson, and begin district play at home on Sept. 9 against Wakefield. Yorktown host Washington-Lee on Nov. 4.