Football junkies rejoice — your favorite pastime has arrived. The NFL’s exhibition season is in full force. And ESPN’s college opener (which, for some reason, is Abilene Christian vs. Georgia State) is next Wednesday night.
But you don’t have to wait that long. Friday night at Todd Stadium, the high school season gets off to an early start as Menchville hosts Maury.
It’s been eight months since Heritage lost in the Group 4A state semifinals, which officially ended the Peninsula District’s 2013 season. So here’s a primer, by the numbers, heading into ’14.
1 — Interception thrown by Phoebus quarterbacks in 202 attempts over the last two seasons. If you go back two more years, it’s 10 picks in the Phantoms’ last 490 passes. They don’t throw much, but they throw efficiently.
2 — Number of postseason games played by Menchville in 44 years of football. Both came in 1993, when the Monarchs beat Maury in the Eastern Region Division 6 semifinals before losing to Indian River.
3 — PD quarterbacks who threw for at least 300 yards in a game last season — Kecoughtan’s Desmond Savage (398 vs. Heritage), Hampton’s Jovonn Quillen (354 vs. Woodside) and Denbigh’s Terrence Dingle (335 vs. Woodside).
6 — Consecutive seasons in which Bethel had finished above .500 until going 5-5 in 2013.
8 — Number of the 10 Peninsula District teams that, barring weather postponements, will conclude their regular seasons in October. The only game scheduled for November (the 1st, a Saturday) is Heritage-Warwick.
9 — Touchdowns Phoebus’ Robbie Robinson vows to score in a game this season, which would break the school (and Peninsula District) record set by Marshawn Williams last season. Robinson is expected to return punts and kicks and play more at receiver.
9.7 — Percentage of Denbigh’s 4,234 total yards in 2013 that were gained by players returning this season. The Patriots lost 28 seniors from a team that won eight games, including the program’s first postseason victory.
11 — Consecutive years Kecoughtan has missed the postseason. It’s the third-longest playoff drought in the Peninsula District, behind Gloucester (27 consecutive years) and Menchville (20).
12 — Increase in Heritage’s win total from the 2010 season to ’13, marking the best three-year turnaround in district history.
26 — Points scored last season by Warwick kicker Grayson Hubbard, 14 more than any of his teammates. Eighteen came on six field goals, the longest being a 45-yarder against Hampton.
26.7 — Percentage of Timothy Holden-Bethea’s 34 touches on plays from scrimmage that resulted in a touchdown for Heritage. Those nine TDs covered 385 yards (42.7 per).
57.6 — Average distance, in yards, of the five touchdowns scored by Gloucester’s Devon Pullen last season. Three came on runs, one on a kickoff return and the fifth on an interception return.
91 — Coaching wins for Woodside’s Danny Dodson, who needs only 354 to overtake Hampton’s Mike Smith as the VHSL’s all-time leader.
792 — All-time wins for Hampton’s football program, which played its first known season in 1899. The best we can tell, that ranks the Crabbers 10th among all high schools in the U.S.