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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Vikings’ DTs were too tough in trenches for JM

LYNCHBURG—It’s difficult to overstate the impact Northside defensive tackles Chance Hall and DeAnthony Muse had on Saturday’s 3A state championship game.

It’s not even a difficult argument to make, to say that pair—and James Monroe’s inability to keep the two Division-I recruits off of quarterback Jay Scroggins—were the deciding variable.

JM couldn’t block Muse and Hall, and that was almost enough on its own.

“The bottom line, the biggest problem we had was No. 62 [Muse] and No. 77 [Hall],” James Monroe coach Rich Serbay said. “If they’re going to give an MVP to Northside, they ought to give it to those two kids.

“They dominated our offensive line and it put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”

Hall is a 6-foot-5, 298-pound junior with a five-star resume and scholarship offers from just about any school that values super-sized linemen who can beat blockers off the snap and fly to the football. Muse is 6–1 and 286 and will play with James Monroe receiver Jarmal Bevels next year at the University of Richmond.

Together they give the Vikings an almost unblockable pair up the middle.

“That’s just a solid

D-line,” James Monroe offensive tackle Troy Thomas said. “Those dudes are college athletes. They have speed. They have talent. And it just didn’t go our way.”

Muse got to Scroggins twice. Hall had three sacks, including one for a 6-yard loss on JM’s last-gasp drive in the fourth quarter.

And it wasn’t trickery or scheme or some secret blitz that freed the two linemen.

“They didn’t run any stunts,” Serbay said. “They didn’t do anything fancy. They just turned those two loose in the middle.”

Beyond the sacks (Vikings sophomore Aaron Freday also had one and Eric Johnson had two tackles for loss) the duo should also get credit for many of Scroggins’ 18 incomplete passes and three interceptions. With Hall and Muse able to get home, Northside started the game with a four-man front and seven other players dropped into coverage.

And in the second half, the Vikings put Muse at nose tackle, Hall at a defensive end and had eight players

to cling to the Jackets’

receivers. It was a look they haven’t used much this season, but it was effective on Saturday.

“When you have two

Division I guys in the middle, they’re a mess to handle,” Northside coach Burt Torrence said. “That’s a huge part: When you don’t have to blitz, it enables you to play some multiple coverages, and that’s what we did against a really talented football team

“Scroggins is the real deal and he threw the ball extremely well in awful conditions.”

Torrence said the Vikings’ aim was to just make sure the James Monroe QB had to look to his second and third options.

“We tried to make him hold it for a second,” he said. “If he had to hold it for a second, we felt like our horses could get there.”

Hall gets a lot of the attention, because of his impressive frame and the five stars recruiting websites put next to his name. But their coach said Muse is the one that really makes the defensive front work. When James Monroe had three players blocking the senior, it gave Hall a one-on-one matchup on the edge.

“That’s the horse that runs the show,” Torrence said of Muse. “To see where he’s come from, I’m just so blessed to be a part of his life. The University of Richmond is getting an absolute stud in DeAnthony Muse.”

As he wound up his postgame remarks, Serbay looked towards next year. He’s got a good core of players returning. He also knows the Jackets have to get better up front, because they’ll see players like Hall and Muse again next year.

“A lot of ifs. A lot of coulda, woulda, shoulda,” Serbay said, clearly disappointed with Saturday’s result. “But you’ve got to give credit where it’s due: They deserved to win the


“I haven’t seen two better defensive tackles. Those two big boys can play.”

Justin Rice: 540/368-5045