By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STEPHENS CITY -- Sherando football coach Bill Hall knew his team had a chance to be special this year even before the season started.
The coach, in his 11th year at Sherando, said he knew all the pieces were in place to have a special season.
"Things happen that could have derailed us from as much success as we did have," Hall said. "But we knew going into it that we had a special group of kids that were hard working, that would do anything that we asked of them. The recipe was there to be successful as long as you don't have injuries or people that lost sight of what was the main objective and keep focused on the process; you knew that there was a chance to be successful."
Hall and his coaching staff were right on the money, as the Warriors had one of their most successful seasons ever. Sherando went 13-2 and advanced all the way to the Class 4A state finals, before falling to Dinwiddie.
It was the second time Hall had taken a team to the state final (Sherando lost to Amherst in 2007), and he said he tried to enjoy the moment as much as possible.
"You don't ever know if you're ever going to get back there -- that's not a discredit to anybody or anything, you just realize how things have to happen or fall into place to get to that level," Hall said. "It was very rewarding because the makeup of the kids was different. I have a different coaching staff than I did last time."
Hall, The Northern Virginia Daily's 2013 Football Coach of the Year, said his coaching staff played a key role in the success of the program, and that includes the JV coaches.
The varsity staff of T.J. Rohrbaugh, Mike Marsh, Tim Farris, John Minteer and Cory Carlson blended together well according to Hall and they had different personalities, which was a good thing.
"The thing that's great about our staff is we generally all care about each other," Hall said. "We're very tight, in terms of we're great friends. That doesn't always happen, but when it does it helps because the reality is I spend way more time with coach Rohrbaugh than I do my wife.
"It definitely helps the process when everyone on your staff are friends off the field. So, it was a special team, special coaching staff, too."
Another special part about this season was the group of seniors. There were 18 seniors, and Hall said he knew before the season started they were a special group.
Hall said they hit the weight room hard for four years, and their dedication said a lot about them as people.
"It's one thing to say I'm going to be in the weight room, but it's another thing to follow through with it, and this group did a great job on the follow through of what it takes to be successful," Hall said. "So as a result you feel really good because you know it doesn't matter what their career path is, you know they're going to be successful."
The Warriors lost in the second game of the season to a strong Martinsburg (W.Va.) squad, and then put together 12 consecutive victories.
Sherando had success on both sides of the ball. The Warriors averaged 33.2 points per game, while allowing 14.9 points per game.
Hall said there were many moments that were memorable for him, and one of them was the Class 4A North final against Salem.
The Warriors shut out Salem in the last home game of the season to advance to the state finals.
"Back in the day when we won the regional championship in '05 and '07 you played two games to win the region championship. We had to play four games to win the region championship [this year]," Hall said. "Obviously that Salem game, whenever we tackled that guy on the punt [to seal the win] the emotions that comes with having accomplished that [were memorable].
"Our defensive performance versus Salem stands out as just unbelievable, the way our kids executed."
Hall said that the offensive performance that stood out was the regular-season game against Liberty, in which the Warriors put up 45 points. They threw for 340 yards in the game.
Even though the Warriors had a successful season, Hall said he doesn't want his career to be judged by wins and losses.
"I want to be judged off of how well do you realize your potential as a person?" Hall said. "What type of a dad are you? What type of a husband are you? What type of a worker are you? How do you contribute and give back to society? If people whenever I'm done say well, he produced great young men, then state titles -- they're all fun and great, but that's not the way that I want to measure myself."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd