Woodbridge Vikings 2002 football preview
By LACY LUSK
The 2002 Woodbridge team didnƎt wait until the middle of a challenging football season to rack up a list of injuries. The Vikings were banged-up even before their first scrimmage.
That was bad but not necessarily debilitating news for Viking coach Keith King, who came over from Prince William County rival Potomac prior to last season. Woodbridge opens this season at Potomac, and the teamƎs first order of business was to have everyone ready for opening kickoff of the regular season.
“I believe when all our skill people are healthy, weƎre pretty athletic,” King said. “Our practices slowed down a little because of all the injuries, but this year the kids have picked things up faster.
“I think last year they began to understand what we wanted them to do and they got better at those things. They finally started to worry about their jobs and not what everyone else was doing. ThatƎs when they came a long way.”
After going 2-8 in coach Ron DavisƎ final season, Woodbridge also went 2-8 last year. In the VikingsƎ first game, they lost 51-7 to senior-laden Potomac. Following wins over Osbourn and Osbourn Park, Woodbridge lost its last seven games one by one point, one by two points and three others by less than 10 points.
Tailback James Terry, who has verbally committed to play at Virginia, is expected to lead the running game. Newcomers David Walker (a senior who transferred from Hayfield High School) and Andre Bratton (a sophomore who made his mark on the VikingsƎ varsity basketball team last winter) add excitement to the receiving corps. Woodbridge lost Super 45 all-star offensive guard Travis Patton to graduation, so the offensive line is a slightly unsettled area as the season begins.
Of the players who are returning, Terry has been bothered by a strained hamstring, senior wide receiver/defensive back Adam Rotruck by a pulled groin and sophomore linebacker Derrick Holt by an ankle injury.
Despite the health setbacks, Woodbridge has an advantage in preparation over last year. The players have been able to study the Slot-I offense and 5-2 defense for a season. Rather than learning plays for the first time, the Vikings spent the preseason working on what they already knew.
“ThereƎs a lot less time on minor adjustments,” Rotruck said. “We already know the coaches and what theyƎre expecting. WeƎre a lot farther ahead.”
On offense, Terry, Rotruck and senior quarterback/wide receiver Robert Thompson are the only returnees. Defensively, Holt and Terry return at linebacker. Rotruck and fellow seniors Brandon Hessing and Vandy Luseni give the Vikings an experienced secondary. Luseni was honorable-mention all-Cardinal District in 2001.
“Last year, everything was like starting a new team,” Terry said. “It was a major drawback because we had to learn so much in such a short time. As soon as practice started [in August], thatƎs when we started learning. We should be a lot better, I think, because we just didnƎt know how to win last year.”