Jackets ready to open up district play on the road

Williamsburg senior quarterback Dalton Ponder will try to lead the Yellow Jackets past Harlan today during both teams' first district matchup. Ponder leads Williamsburg with 1,735 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes. | File Photo

WILLIAMSBURG — Jerry Herron’s Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are looking to continue their District 8 dominance today when they go on the road to face Harlan.

The Yellow Jackets (4-2) have strung together three consecutive district titles which include an 11-game win streak against district opponents.

Their last loss to a district team came back in 2015 against the Green Dragons.

But things are different than they were four years ago. Williamsburg will enter the game as heavy favorites after getting off to a 4-0 start.

The Yellow Jackets have dropped two consecutive games since, losing to both Somerset and Lexington Christian, but look to be ready to go against a Harlan squad that enters today’s matchup with a 1-5 record.

“We are excited for district play to begin and we know there is still a long road ahead,” Herron added. “We know we need to get back on track and win some games so we can improve our RPI which will help us maybe host some playoff games in the postseason. We know we have tough district games coming up. This group of seniors has won three district titles with hopes of winning a fourth. Pineville is improved tremendously and Lynn Camp has had some really good teams the past few years. Harlan is improving each week, so by no means is this district going to be easy.”

Williamsburg has put up good numbers on both sides of the ball this season with senior quarterback Dalton Ponder’s 1,735 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes leading the way. Receivers Gavon Thomas (26 catches, 545 receiving yards, and five touchdowns) and Caleb Rose (25 catches, 699 receiving yards and five touchdowns) have turned in impressive seasons as well along with Chris Howard, whose 62 tackles leads the team.

The Green Dragons look to be in rebuild mode but turned in a stellar effort last week before losing to Virginia’s Thomas Walker, 44-26.

Harlan is led by quarterback Connor Scearse, who has 155 passing yards and one touchdown while Ethan Clem leads the Green Dragons with 381 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Herron said last week he could see the improvement his team has made since its loss to Lexington Christian a few weeks ago.

“We had two tough games in a row, and in both of those games, it allowed us to see some of the weaknesses we have. We need to work on pass coverage, and picking up blitzes,” he said. “We’ve also worked on a lot of other things which has made the kids hungry and excited because they see that they are getting better.”

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