October 22, 2010

Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

They always say throw out the records in rivalry games.

But after Hampton (Va.) Phoebus overpowered and overwhelmed Hampton (Va.) High in what was built up as two evenly matched and undefeated teams, Hampton just might want to throw out the game tape.

It was that bad.

Hampton suffered a 37-12 thumping at the hands of the state's top-ranked team - and the No. 6 team in the country in the RivalsHigh 100.

The loss, Hampton's first of the season, was the proud program's worst since Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor handed Hampton a 34-7 loss to end its season in Oct. of 2008.

The result showed what many have felt for a few years. A Tidewater-area tussle once owned by Hampton (which won 25 of the first 26 meetings) has turned. Phoebus has now won the last five games.

This game was as one-sided as the final score indicated. Even if the stats tell a different story.

Phoebus was held to just 133 rushing yards and 60 passing yards while improving to 8-0. But the truth is, it didn't need to go very far to score. And twice scored with its offense on the sideline.

To top it off, its defense may have made the biggest difference.

The Phantoms entered the game with the No. 1 rush defense in the state and thoroughly dominated Hampton and its No. 1 ranked rush offense from the gun.

In the first half, Hampton had six offensive possessions. None started outside of the Crabbers own 20-yard line. Penalties pushed many of those drives back closer to the end zone.

Most ended with Phoebus having short fields. The Phantoms did not waste time driving the ball, scoring on drives of one play, three plays, and four plays to take a 24-6 lead into halftime.

Then Breon Key went to work.

Key took back the opening kickoff of the second half back 80 yards for a touchdown and a 30-6 lead. Any chance Hampton had to chip away and gain momentum was over.

Key added another special teams touchdown with a 76-yard punt return at the end of the third quarter to extend the lead to 37-6 and seal the victory.

Phoebus' 250 yards on returns in the game was the difference.

Hampton standout quarterback David Watford was just 5-of-18 for 83 yards in the game star tailback Dallas Cogdell was silent carrying the ball just four times all evening. The team did not get a first down in the second half until midway through the fourth quarter.

The win was as surprising as it was dominating and will slide Phoebus closer to the Top 5 in the RivalsHigh 100, but the Phantoms are unlikely to jump any of the current teams despite their performance on Friday night.

The loss likely will slide Hampton out of the Top 10 in Virginia heading into the playoffs, but the Crabbers figure to see Phoebus again, possibly as early as the second round.

As for the rest of the state the rankings likely will remain the same.

RivalsHigh's No. 60-ranked Chesapeake (Vir.) Oscar Smith defeated Nansemond River, 50-0.

At press time the No. 70-ranked Ashburn (Vir.) Stone Bridge was comfortably leading Langley.

And No. 71, Richmond (Vir.) Hermitage bettered Douglas Freeman, 48-0.

Of course the rankings don't mean much this time of year. And with the playoffs just around the corner, the likelihood is that Phoebus will see Stone Bridge in the Division 5 final and Oscar Smith will face Hermitage in the Division 6 semifinal.

These rankings will be decided on the field.

MORE: For more coverage of this game, visit VirginiaPreps.com.


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