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Football Notebook: Offensive Line Anchors Hopewell
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Oct 26, 2012, 01:32

Hopewell senior Reggie Butler (7) and junior Gabe Dupree (24) await the snap in a Central District game against Matoaca last Friday (photo by Jacob Vaughan).


CHESTERFIELD – A quick glance at the box score from Hopewell’s 38-21 road victory over Matoaca last Friday unveils several eye-popping statistics.

Take 202, for instance. That’s the number of rushing yards that stand-in quarterback Reggie Butler accumulated for the Blue Devils on the night. The senior also threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third.

Seventeen is another telling numeral. Hopewell bounced back after conceding two touchdowns in the first minute of the fourth quarter to finish the game with 17 unanswered points.

But Butler and Hopewell coach Ricky Irby attributed the victory to a facet of the game that is rarely reflected by statistics. Both identified the Blue Devils’ offensive line as key contributors to the team’s third win in as many games.

“It was all the line,” Butler said after the game. “They made me look like a star today.”

While Irby lauded Butler’s showing as “tremendous,” the third-year coach agreed with his signal caller’s assessment.

“I thought our o-line was outstanding,” Irby said. “Those guys are a tight group who went to a lot of camps together over the spring and summer.”

Starting on the day were left tackle Howard Warren, left guard Ray Paden, center Tony Chambers, right guard Jacob Roark and right tackle Matt Crawford.

JACK OF ALL TRADES

Prince George senior Caleb Johnson churned out a well-rounded performance on both sides of the ball in a 34-14 loss to visiting Thomas Dale on Friday.

On offense, the 6-2, 225-pound tight end tallied both of the Royals’ touchdowns, hauling in a pair of passes from quarterback B.J. Collins. As a linebacker, Johnson paced the Royals defense with a game-high 10 tackles.

In seven games this season, Johnson has had a hand in 59 tackles (34 solo, 25 assisted). On offense, the two-way stalwart has racked up 129 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions in the last two games.

TRI-CITIES SHOWDOWN

Hopewell senior quarterback Octavious Taylor is expected to return to the Blue Devils’ starting lineup on Friday, but Irby said Butler – normally a wide receiver – could make a cameo under center.

“With Reggie’s success, we’ve got a few creative ideas on how to use them both,” Irby said.

Hopewell will be looking to win its fourth game on the trot against Petersburg, no easy feat according to Irby.

“Petersburg is a very good football team,” Irby said. “They are very athletic and well-coached. We’re going to have to be ready to play if we want to win.”

That game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Merner Field in Hopewell.

TOP PERFORMERS

Thomas Dale senior D.J. Reid scored three touchdowns and racked up 163 rushing yards against Prince George ... Colonial Heights senior Robert Dubberly threw for one touchdown and ran for another in a loss to Dinwiddie ... Hopewell kicker Zack Hipps connected on all five of his extra point attempts and drilled a 23-yard field goal against Matoaca.

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