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Prep football: King George says goodbye to The Pit (WITH VIDEO)
BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH
King George’s Hunter Field is affectionately known as The Pit.
The nickname initially sprouted from the fact that the field seemed to have been dug out of the ground, with steep hills on two sides.
Over the years, however, the name lingered for less aesthetic reasons. Pockmarks became more glaring, grass was less green, and the field lost some of its luster.
But there was a time when The Pit was brand new. It was 1952, and at that time, King George played six-on-six football, and teams had to travel the width of the field rather than the length of it.
On Friday night, The Pit came full circle, as three players from the Foxes’ inaugural season walked out for the opening coin toss to help bid The Pit adieu.
And they were not alone. In all, 124 former King George football players and 33 former cheerleaders came back home to say goodbye one last time. The group included former Foxes star Jermon Bushrod, a Pro Bowl lineman for the New Orleans Saints.
The former Foxes watched King George crush Washington & Lee, 41–0, but this game was about more than the final score.
In two weeks, King George will unveil its gleaming new stadium, complete with the area’s only artificial turf field. And when the gates open and the fans settle into the luxurious confines, The Pit will become a relic.
So, for one night at least, there was an opportunity to let memories flow.
“The thing I’ll remember most was, no matter what our record was, we had people in the stands,” said King George coach Jeff Smith, who is also an alumnus. “We’ve only got one school in this county, and the county loves football.”
At school on Friday afternoon, King George athletic director Alex Fisher gathered the Foxes in the auditorium and made sure they knew what to expect in their game.
These Foxes are used to playing in front of decent crowds, but they weren’t used to scenes like Friday night’s.
Cars overflowed from the parking lots to side streets to grassy fields to the edge of State Route 3. At kickoff, every seat was taken, and everyone else found standing room somewhere atop the hills.
“It was nerve-wracking,” defensive back Austin Fisk said. “We felt a lot of weight on our shoulders, and we had to step up and show everybody that King George can still play.”
And after a scoreless first quarter, after the jitters subsided and the Foxes became comfortable in the spotlight, they gave The Pit a sendoff.
Their defense was relentless, hounding the Eagles at the line of scrimmage and extinguishing drives time and again.
“We just contained the outside and held them out of the passing game,” King George’s Jordi Estes said.
The Foxes’ offense had balance, as four different players scored rushing touchdowns.
Fisk, who wears No. 14, scored on a 14-yard fumble recovery in the second quarter, and on a 14-yard scamper in the fourth.
Jacob Baker, who already had a rushing touchdown, put an emphatic cap on the evening when he hauled in Corey Henderson’s 72-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
When it was over, Smith looked around at King George football players past and present. So many of the faces were familiar, and as time has passed, some of the names now elude him.
But the most important part was that they were all Foxes, each with his own memories of a field that is at once charming, polarizing and misunderstood.
“To see everyone come back, to see The Pit go out the way it did,” Smith said, “it was awesome.”
Washington & Lee 0 0 0 0 — 0
King George 0 16 12 13 — 41
KG-J. Estes 6-yard run (E. Chase kick)
KG-33-yard field goal from E. Chase
KG-A. Fisk 14-yard fumble recovery (kick failed)
KG-J. Baker 5-yard run (kick failed)
KG-D. Brown 14-yard run (kick failed)
KG-J. Baker 72-yard pass from C. Henderson (kick failed)
KG-A. Fisk 14-yard run (L. Armentrout kick)
First downs10 15
Rushing yardage33-140 29-140
Passing yardage8 183
Rushing:King George—Jordi Estes 13-67, TD; Austin Fisk 3-27, TD; De’Shon Brown 2-15, TD; Corey Henderson 5-14; Matt Jordan 2-9; Joshua Grant 3-7; Jacob Baker 2-6, TD. Washington & Lee—Kwame Gray 13-62; Dexter Thompson 17-55; Sam McGill 2-16; Daquan Doggett 1-7.
Passing:King George—Corey Henderson 10-17-0 183, TD. Washington & Lee—Chris Graham 1-5-2 8.
Receiving:King George—Jacob Baker 2-87; Jordi Estes 2-59; Sam Sharp 3-24; De’Shon Brown 1-11; Nate Jackson 2-2. Washington & Lee—Kevin Monroe 1-8.