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Region I, Division 3 Football: JM’s Scroggins was ready to be next man up

SEE ALSO: Region Final Week Stories

QB’S SUCCESS EXAMPLE OF JM’S ABILITY TO THRIVE DESPITE MANY INJURIES

BY NATHAN WARTERS

THE FREE LANCE–STAR

James Monroe was grooming sophomore Jay Scroggins to be its quarterback of the future, but serious injuries to its first two options at the position sped up the process.

The Yellow Jackets knew Scroggins could be a great quarterback, but they thought his time would come later.

Scroggins’ time is now, and he has done nothing to disappoint.

    FRIDAY’S GAME

    Northwest Region, Division 6 final

    C.D. Hylton 23, Colonial Forge 13

    SATURDAY’S GAMES

    Northwest Region, Division 5 final

    Mountain View (8–4) at North Stafford (10–1), 2

    Region I, Division 4 final

    Courtland (8–4) at Smithfield (10–1), 1:30

    Region I, Division 3 final

    Park View–South Hill (10–2)

    at James Monroe (10–1)

    SEE ALSO: Prep pairings

“We knew he was good, but we didn’t think he’d be this good when he was coming up,” JM senior Tony Scott said.

Scroggins is 6–1 as a starter and has helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the Region I, Division 3 championship game for the second straight year. JM (10–1) hosts Park View–South Hill (10–2) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Maury Stadium.

“The reason [Scroggins] hasn’t missed a beat is because he always was a student of the game,” Yellow Jackets coach Rich Serbay said. “Even when he was listed as our No. 3 quarterback, he’d go to the meetings. He’d pay attention.

“He’s a very smart kid, in the National Honor Society. He listens to [offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eddie] Haynes very intently in every one of their meetings, and I think that was the big thing.”

The Yellow Jackets have dealt with attrition at a staggering rate this season. They lost starting quarterback DeMontaz Brown to a knee injury in the preseason and All-Area cornerback Julian Bumbrey to a knee injury in week four.

And that’s just to name a few of the players lost for a significant amount of time.

Bumbrey also started at quarterback in place of Brown for the first four games, so his injury left big holes on offense and defense.

“I wish he was back, because he was the best athlete in the Battlefield District when he was healthy,” Serbay said of Bumbrey.

James Monroe has been resilient in the face of adversity this season. Scroggins has made it easy for the offense to maintain its success. He confidently took over at quarterback and has grown into the position with each successive game.

“I think I’ve been making smarter decisions. I think I’ve gotten better timing with my receivers, and I know my offensive line and running backs better, too,” said Scroggins, who has passed for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 147 yards and two scores.

Serbay said he’s been impressed by the progress Scroggins has made throwing the ball. He credits Haynes for the quarterback’s quick maturation.

“The more he plays, the better his arm strength is getting,” Serbay said. “He’s getting used to throwing the ball. He’s making great reads, and he understands where he has to throw the ball.”

Scroggins not only has built up his confidence as a field general, but he has gained the confidence of his teammates as well.

Scott was sold a month ago when Scroggins led the Yellow Jackets to a hard-fought 10–7 victory at Courtland.

“Everything wasn’t going right, but he just hung in there and hung in there and won us the game,” Scott said.

Scroggins is just one of the JM players who has stepped up to account for injured teammates. Serbay praised the way his defensive secondary—cornerbacks Darryl Dyson and Steven Bryant and free safety She’Mar Ellis in particular—has played without Bumbrey, who led the Fredericksburg area in interceptions last year.

Injuries haven’t kept the Yellow Jackets down all season, and they’re not about to let that change now.

“We kind of stole the motto from the New York Giants, you know, ‘Next Man Up.’ We incorporated that into the kids’ heads. Next Man Up.

Somebody’s gotta step up. Somebody’s gotta play. We can’t go out there and play with 10. We’ve got to get somebody to take his place,” Serbay said.

“And it’s worked perfectly. The kids bought into it and they’re still buying into it, because every now and again we lose a kid here, we lose a kid there, but somebody steps up and plays and that’s what I like about this group of kids.”

Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442

nwarters@freelancestar.com

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