Cyclones another challenge for Sherando

Dylan Rivers Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando has a schedule full of challenges this season.

The Warriors have already defeated Martinsburg (W.Va.) at home and Louisa on the road, and still have Jefferson (W.Va.) and Maryland powerhouse Fort Hill remaining on the schedule.

Another tough challenge awaits the Warriors on Friday as they host Eastern View at 7 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium. The Cyclones, coached by former Central coach Greg Hatfield, have had a top-notch program for a few years now and should present a stern test for Sherando.

“Eastern View will be a good team,” Sherando junior linebacker/tight end Dylan Rivers said. “It will be the biggest line we’ve played all year. They’re enormous up front, and it will be a challenge for us.”

The Cyclones feature a big offensive line, led by Brett Leake. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound senior has verbally committed to play at the Naval Academy, and had 11 Division 1 offers. The Cyclones also feature Rayquan Carter. The 6-foot-2,315-pounder has drawn interest from several Division 1 schools such as East Carolina and N.C. State.

Patrick Minteer Rich Cooley/Daily

Sherando coach Bill Hall said that while the Cyclones are big up front he feels his team will be well-prepared for it.

“We’re used to seeing that,” Hall said of Eastern View’s big offensive line. “Louisa was big up front. Martinsburg was big up front. We’ve played competition so we’re used to that. It’s not like we have dips in our competition. We face consistent competition week in and week out. So I think that prepares us for games like this, and it makes us better.”

Hall said that he tries to make the schedule tough every season so that his team will be ready when the postseason comes around.

Eastern View quarterback Josh Stallings has also drawn some interest from several Division I schools, such as Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

“(Stallings) is a very dangerous person,” Hall said. “You can tell he’s a winner.”

The Cyclones (2-1) are averaging more than 34 points per game. Eastern View lost last week to Chancellor, but had several players out due to injuries.

Sherando’s defense is led by Rivers, who already has 13 offers from Division 1 colleges. The Warriors have allowed an average of seven points per game this season.

“We’re doing a pretty good job, now it’s refining those things, and I think we’re establishing greater depth so more people can get breaks. I think we try to establish that more as the season goes,” Hall said of Sherando’s defense. “I think we’re doing a good job, but I think we see there’s room for improvement, and I think the guys are hungry to get there. Those two are a good recipe for success.”

Offensively, the Warriors have been solid as well. Sherando is averaging 28.0 points per game, and has used a balanced attack.

Senior quarterback Patrick Minteer has thrown for 503 yards with five touchdown passes. Rivers has been his top target with eight catches for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Sherando’s has several options in the running game. Senior D.J. Myers has rushed for 287 yards on 37 carries and has three touchdowns, while junior Cordell Peterson has 156 yards on 31 carries and one touchdown.

Minteer said that while they have been good on offense there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

“Right now I think we just need to find some consistency,” Minteer said. “Coach Hall has been trying to state that all week, and the past couple weeks, that we’ve been really inconsistent in terms of penalties. We have to stay on track. We have to stay third-and-short, instead of third-and-12. I think if we can find that consistency to stay in (third-and-short) we can be very, very dangerous.”

The Warriors biggest win of the young season came on Sept. 4 as they defeated West Virginia powerhouse Martinsburg. The Bulldogs had won four in a row over Sherando since 2011.

“That gave us an insane amount of confidence,” Minteer said. “Just getting that monkey off of our back. … Obviously it gives us a lot of confidence to come out to practice more and to look forward to bigger and better challenges.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com