New uniforms, new home and new players are among the highlights setting the Northern Neck Rivermen up for their season opener this Saturday. A year removed from winning the Mason Dixon Football League (MDFL) championship, the Rivermen look to rebound from a challenging summer in 2012 and a exciting season in 2013.
Marking their fourth year, the Rivermen will be opening their first game of the season against the Tri-County Crusaders, from North Carolina, at King George High School on July 13.
Head Coach Dennis Cornwell has not heard much of the first year team, but instead turning his focus to one of the most exciting team’s he’s coached.
“We have one of the most talented teams that I’ve ever coached,” Cornwell said. “Overall I think we’ll 60 minutes of a good football team out there. We’re just looking forward to the upcoming season in the MDFL.”
The 1-2 record during the season should not overshadow the team’s talent, Cornwell said, adding that he’ll be looking to his top returners to set the tone. Both losses were against two league champions, the D.C. Explosion and Nassau Punishers. The Rivermen defeated the Maryland Nemesis.
“We’re still gelling and learning how to play together and with the young guys we have, but we’re polishing things up and I think we’ll be ready to close games really quick,” Cornwell said.
Quarterback Walt Covington, running back Adeola Ogunwenmo, and linebackers Sid Thompson and Laslow Pickett. Thompson and Pickett each earned the league’s defensive player of the year award for the past two years.
Defensive end Divine Veney, safety Devonte Reynolds, and wide receivers BJ Reynolds and David Jackson are among the top newcomers that Cornwell expects will aid the team.
Cornwell said he made it an appoint to find some quality players before starting the season after challenges with discipline and commitment. Coming into this year, Cornwell said he plans to mirror the championship year and take it one game at a time.
“What we did was play each game the best we could, make adjustments as the season went on and we got better each week,” Cornwell said. “If we get back to that I think we have the same opportunity to get back to the championship.”
On July 13, the Rivermen will host the Tri-Counties Crusaders in King George at 7 p.m., then travel to George Mason High School to face the Virginia Steelers in Falls Church on July 20 at 7 p.m.
Three straight home games will follow for the Rivermen as they host the Virginia Titans on Aug. 3, Arbutus Big Red on Aug. 10 and Virginia Hornets on Aug. 17. All games begin at 7 p.m.
The Rivermen will travel to Richmond for their second meeting against the Titans on Sept. 7 (7 p.m.) following a bye week. Then on Sept. 7, the Rivermen will play their final home game of the regular season on at 7 p.m.
Two road games await the Rivermen traveling to Arbutus on Sept. 14 and to the Virginia Silverbacks in Charlottsville on Sept. 21. Game times are still TBA.
2013 Northern Neck Rivermen Roster
1-Mike Howard-WR, RB, CB
2-Derrick Manning-LB, FS
5-James (TJ) Ford-LB, CB
7-Dominic Fields-LB, FS
8-Joshua Steele-WR, CB
9-Chris Campbell-LB, DE
14-MJ Simpson-WR, QB
28-Dwayne (Chris) Wilson-RB
33-Garret Husar-DE, LB
36-Lemyreon (Mann) Brown-DL, OL
45-Joe Shanklin-DE, LB
58-D’Antray Dyson-DE, LB
77-Jay Bonds-DL, OL
90-Drew Reardon-DL, OL
93-Justin Kelly-DL, OL