Blue Devils Earn Regional Recognition
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Dec 8, 2012, 17:59
Hopewell High School football coach Ricky Irby was named Central Region Division 5 coach of the year (file photo).
HOPEWELL – Their season is over, but the accolades are still rolling in for the Hopewell High School football players.
Wide receiver Tabyus Taylor was named to the All-Central Region First Team this week. Two of his teammates claimed second-team honors while four Hopewell players garnered honorable mention recognition.
Hopewell coach Ricky Irby was named Division 5 region coach of the year. Under Irby’s leadership, the Blue Devils surged to a 7-3 regular-season record, won their first playoff game since 2004 and reached the region title game.
Irby said the postseason awards “validate all the hard work these players put into this season,” and added that he was not expecting to win himself.
“I was surprised to receive the regional coach of the year,” Irby said. “I’m very blessed to have a job that I truly love. I have a great group of assistant coaches that did an outstanding job this year. Not to mention, it helps to have good players.”
Hopewell seniors Reggie Butler and Tyler Smith were second team inclusions, as was Thomas Dale punter Trevor Luke.
Tabyus Taylor – a 6-1, 195-pound junior – led Hopewell’s receivers with 57 receptions for 960 yards and 12 touchdowns in a dozen games this season.
Though he was recognized as a defensive back, Butler’s largest contributions came at quarterback. He started taking snaps in a Week 7 win over Matoaca and accrued 1,043 yards and 14 touchdowns by season’s end.
On defense, the 5-9, 182-pound jack of all trades hauled in seven interceptions, three more than he threw in 115 pass attempts. Smith – a 6-3, 275-pound lineman – registered six sacks and 38 total tackles through the Blue Devils’ first 11 games this season.
Octavious Taylor, who had a hand in 15 total touchdowns for Hopewell, received honorable mention recognition as a utility player. Offensive lineman Howard Warren and linebacker Terence Terry earned the same distinction.
Tabyus Taylor, who is currently the leading scorer on the Hopewell basketball team, also was named to the honorable mention unit for his efforts as a defensive end.
“This is the most we’ve had on the all-district and all-region team since 2004,” Irby said “I’m looking forward to continuing to have players receive these awards. We’re excited about our younger players that were able to learn from our older kids about hard work and commitment.”
The other first-team honorees from the Central District included lineman Lavonte Hicks (Meadowbrook), quarterback Gerard Johnson (MBK), defensive end Quadree Walker (Petersburg), linebacker Darius Johnson (Dinwiddie) and linebacker Emmanuel Henry (MBK).
Butler and Smith were joined on the second team by center Caleb Wright (MBK), lineman Toddrick Bugg (Din.), defensive back Rashaad Goodwyn (Din.) running back Sadarius Williams (Din.), defensive lineman Jacory Fitzgerald (Din.) and defensive lineman Raquan Peoples (MBK).