The defending state champions aren’t going to rest on the laurels of 2012.
“We want to be good again, and we have to work for that,” said Bedwell. “We’re not last year’s team and we haven’t done anything yet.”
After a perfect season defeating Ocean Lakes in the state championship, Bird graduated many key players but has the personnel to fill in the gaps. Replacing Paul Robertson will be a running back rotation. Robertson was recently named starting running back at Hampton as a freshman.
“We’re not going to have one guy pounding the ball 35 times a game,” said Bedwell. “We’ll spread the ball around.”
Bird looks as if they can make a return to the postseason if they can stay healthy and things come together. A repeat in any sport is difficult, but for one of the most enthusiastic fan bases in the area, nothing would be better.
Bird opens the season at home in the Battle of Chester September 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Quarterback: Terrance Ervin leads the offense.
Running back: Three players figure to be in the mix for carries in 2013. Senior Rasheed Worsham, the teams “utility player” figures to get carries in addition to Meadowbrook transfer Earl Hughes. The 5-9 160 pound running back has explosive speed and is a threat to score any play. Junior Stephen Mines (5-10 170) had a great 2012 with junior varsity and has played well in scrimmages and practices.
Wide Receiver: Worsham (6-0 175) is an athletic target and was a standout receiver in 2012. The senior ranked hauled in the most touchdowns and was second on the team in receptions. Shawn Payne (6-4 175) is a big target and junior Tyler Wilkins (6-2 180) has surprised the Skyhawk staff in camp, doing a little bit of everything consistently well.
Offensive Line: The ‘heart and soul’ and field general of L.C. Bird football returns in 5-11 230 center Josey Davis. “Whenever he talks, people listen,” said Bedwell. Junior Andre Davis will start at right tackle, and two sophomores will battle for time at left tackle- Patrick Gibson and Trey Ramsey.
Defensive Line: Senior Mike Harris is the leader of the line. Harris made big plays in the playoffs and the state championship game last season. Junior Rashard Jones (6-1 220) has enjoyed a good camp, and will start the the other end.
Linebackers: Senior Darius Gillus (6-1 210) was an All-District selection the past two seasons, and is a leader on defense. Jalen Lassiter (6-2 235) is an imposing, prototypical middle linebacker. A freshman will start in Rayshard Ashby (5-10 180). While undersized, Ashby has time to grow and has an outstanding nose for the ball.
Defensive Backs: Shawn Payne, a Virginia Tech commit, leads the secondary. Jaqan Clay earned a starting cornerback job early last season and didn’t give it back, coming up with big plays all season. Daijaune Dorsey, a junior transfer from Meadowbrook, should be solid addition.
ON THE RADAR
Terrance Ervin, Senior
6 foot 3 inches, 215 pounds
Liberty University commit
Terrance Ervin was the piece of the puzzle that Bird had been missing. After 12 straight Dominion District titles, Bird would fall short in the postseason until last year.
“I think he made the difference on last year’s team versus other Bird teams,” said head coach David Bedwell.
In 2012, Ervin made big plays and ran the offense efficiently after transferring from Henrico. As the season wore on, his leadership developed.
“He’s more comfortable being a leader,” said Bedwell. “He’s a lot more confident in himself.”
Bird’s running game historically carries the team, but the work ethic and talent of Ervin put Bird in a position where both the run and pass demanded respect- that will be key this season as well.
“Terrance was able to make plays in the passing game and manage the game,” said Bedwell. “With a year of experience under his belt, he should be better.”
The standout committed to Liberty in July and is looking to turn in another stellar season before ascending to the next level.
9/6 vs. Dale 7:30 p.m.
9/13 @ Wythe 7:30 p.m.
9/20 @ James River 7:30 p.m.
9/27 @ Monacan 7:30 p.m.
10/4 @ Lake Taylor 7:00 p.m.
10/11 @ Midlothian 7:30 p.m.
10/18 vs. Huguenot 7:30 p.m.
10/25 @ Cosby 7:30 p.m.
11/01 vs. Clover Hill 7:30 p.m.
11/08 vs. Manchester 7:30 p.m.