South Lakes High School
By Chris Colston
RESTON, Va.—For the fifth time in the last six years, the Baron Cameron Cup will reside in Reston.
It’s the trophy given to the winner of the annual crosstown rivalry matchup between South Lakes and Herndon high schools. After Friday night’s 42-6 win, the Seahawks have now won it for three consecutive years.
“My first year here, we lost 49-0,” South Lakes Coach Trey Taylor said. “But since then, we’ve had good luck. It’s great for these seniors. For the three years most of them have been playing varsity football, they’ve been able to keep the Cup in Reston, so I’m happy for them.”
South Lakes (9-1) won its regular-season finale despite playing without senior running back Albert Mensah for the second consecutive game. But, again, senior Spencer Alston stepped up, gaining 174 yards on 15 carries and scoring three touchdowns, and catching two passes for 51 yards and another score. Sophomore Andy Akeutteh again filled in for Mensah, carrying 11 times for 67 yards and catching one pass for 12.
“He’s still learning,” coach Taylor said, “but he’s done really well and we’ve been leaning on him a lot.”
Quarterback Devin Miles was again quietly efficient, completing 7-of-11 passes for 122 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Receivers Noah Seneca and Xavier may each caught two passes and scored a touchdown. Seneca scored the first touchdown of the game—a reward for his strong downfield blocking on a 28-yard Akeutteh run that set up the score.
The Seahawks defense played well enough for what could have been their third shutout of the year, but the Hornets (4-6) blocked a late South Lakes punt that senior Josh Harris returned for a touchdown.
Seniors Spencer Coppage and Chris Logan led the Seahawks with three tackles apiece. Coppage added a sack, while sophomore Cris Smith had two sacks and senior Kojo Kumi-Darfour had one. Senior defensive back Eddie Mohler had a late interception.
In addition to Mensah, the Seahawks played without two senior wide receiver/defensive backs, Dave Hagengimana and Chris Ezidinma, who decided to leave the team. Hagengimana had been a starting wide receiver who had 19 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Ezidinma had one catch for three yards.
“Anytime you have guys who haven’t bought in, when they’re gone, the team does get closer as a result,” coach Taylor said. “They left, and we came to practice the next day and people kept working and life goes on. It’s the whole next-man-up mentality.”
After the game the Seahawks celebrated the Baron Cameron Cup and unfurled the Liberty District Championship banner. “It’s great to win the trophy,” senior center Jacob “Bean” McCarty said. “But we’re really focused on what’s coming up—the playoffs.”
They will host a first-round playoff game Friday against Yorktown, a school South Lakes defeated on the road 52-14 just two weeks ago. Game time at Patricia A. Bergan Stadium is 7 p.m.
When asked if he thought his team’s performance was where he wanted it to be for the stretch run, coach Taylor said, “In some aspects. I don’t think we’ll know until we get into a slugfest what we can do for four quarters. I wasn’t happy with a lot of our mistakes in the first half tonight. In the playoffs, those kinds of things can cost us a game, so we have to get that ironed out.”
South Lakes plays in Class 6, the highest VHSL classification. For the playoffs, Class 6 is split up into four Regions—A, B, C, and D—with eight teams in each region. The Seahawks are ranked second in Region D, behind No. 1 Westfield and ahead of No. 3 Centreville, No. 4 George Marshall, No. 5 Patriot, No. 6 James Madison, No. 7 Yorktown, and No. 8 Battlefield. If South Lakes beats Yorktown, it would face the winner of Centreville-Madison.
Any region that includes Westfield has to be considered a tough one. The Bulldogs have won the last two state titles, beating Oscar Smith both times. They have won 10 consecutive playoff games and are ranked the No. 10 team in Virginia among all classifications and No. 2 in Class 6. According to MaxPreps, the No. 1 team in the state is Colonial Forge, which gets a first-round bye in Region B, which only has three first-round matchup games.
MaxPreps has South Lakes ranked No. 8 in Class 6, behind Colonial Forge, Westfield, Freedom (seeded No. 1 in Region C), Oscar Smith (seeded No. 3 in Region A) Thomas Dale (seeded No. 3 in Region B), Manchester (seeded No. 2 in Region B), and Centreville.