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Group A, Div. 2 Football: Trojans’ QB eyes VHSL record

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

Robbie Jenkins wasn’t on the Essex High School football team’s coaching staff at the beginning of the 2011 season.

The Culpeper County native was the Trojans’ head coach in 2010, but stepped aside at the end of a 6–4 season.

    SATURDAY’S LOCAL STATE SEMIFINALS

    —GROUP AAA, DIVISION 5—

    Lake Taylor (13–0) at North Stafford (11–1), 2

    —GROUP AA, DIVISION 4—

    Courtland (9–4) at Briar Woods (13–0), 1:30

    —GROUP AA, DIVISION 3—

    Kettle Run (11–2) at James Monroe (11–1), 1:30

    —GROUP A, DIVISION 2—

    John Battle (12–1) at Essex (13–0), 1

    SEE ALSO: VHSL State Playoff Pairings

Jenkins was still working in the Essex school system last fall, so he decided to rejoin the coaching staff midway through the season.

It was near the same time the Trojans were grooming junior varsity quarterback Domenik Broaddus to take over varsity as a freshman.

“I’ve played quarterback all my life,” Jenkins said. “So if I could coach one position I hope that would be the one I could coach.”

Jenkins is a former standout quarterback at Culpeper High School and Bridgewater College. He played professional indoor football and previously served as an assistant coach at Caroline.

And this season, with Jenkins’ guidance as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, Broaddus is on the verge of setting a Virginia High School League record for touchdown passes in a season.

The sophomore has thrown for 3,427 yards, 47 touchdowns and eight interceptions as the Trojans (13–0) prepare to host John Battle (12–1) Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Division 2 state semifinal.

Broaddus needs one more touchdown pass to tie former Dinwiddie quarterback Adam Morgan (48 scoring passes in 2008) for the all-time state mark regardless of classification.

“Robbie has worked with him a lot, being a former quarterback, and that’s really helped him,” Essex head coach John Fulks said. “He and Domenik are on the same page. It’s really been a fun thing to be a part of.”

Jenkins has had plenty of fun, too.

He said he’s never had so many weapons to call plays for. The Trojans also boast 1,000-yard rusher Raheim Rolling.

And Broaddus has a handful of talented receivers to throw to, including stalwarts Keith Bundy (20 touchdown receptions) and Dartanious Jones (13 receiving touchdowns).

“This year, I was like ‘We’ve got a lot of good receivers, so I know we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do,’” Bundy said. “But I didn’t know he was going to break records. He’s impressed me with breaking records.”

Broaddus has already eclipsed the all-time Group A single-season record of 44 touchdown passes, which was set by former Eastern Montgomery quarterback Shawn Christian in 2010.

His exploits come as a surprise to those who know him. Broaddus (5-foot-9, 150 pounds) is soft-spoken and unassuming. Fulks said that helps on the field because he always keeps a level head.

“I don’t brag. I’m not really cocky or anything,” Broaddus said. “So I don’t really talk about [setting records].”

Broaddus said he first played left tackle in Essex Parks & Recreation leagues before he was moved to running back.

He was moved to quarterback when he was 12 years old and has loved playing the position ever since. His dad, Russell Broaddus, trains him at home by setting up tires for him to throw through.

However, he said Jenkins has helped take his skills to another level. The two bonded over the spring and summer.

He said Jenkins has taught him how to read defenses and how to find holes in the opposing secondary. Broaddus is also a shortstop and second baseman on the Essex baseball team, so he said Jenkins had to rework the mechanics that he learned from playing that sport.

“When you go to baseball camp they tell you to drop the ball and come around, but in football you can’t do that,” Broaddus said. “I’m still learning not to drop the ball or hold it too low. You’ve got to keep it up for a quick release.”

The lessons have paid off so far. And if they continue to do so, Essex could be headed toward its second state championship in the past four years after winning it all in 2009.

“I’ve been his biggest critic all year,” Jenkins said of Broaddus. “But it’s been pretty sweet to watch him develop.”

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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