A new season brings a new schedule for the Albemarle football team, and the Patriots are now members of the Jefferson District. After making the move from the Commonwealth District, AHS will now have more local rivalries and fewer long-distance bus trips to make on Friday nights.
The Patriots encountered plenty of problems when traveling to district games that were hours away.
"You get off the bus and you're sluggish," says senior running back and linebacker Drake Bryant. "I mean by the second quarter, we're just trying to get it back together."
The Patriots will now get to line up across from other Central Virginia teams once they enter district play.
"For Albemarle and Albemarle football and this community, we're really excited about it," said head coach Mike Alley.
In their final season in the Commonwealth last year, Albemarle finished 1-9, and in 2011 they were 2-8. Now, they're hoping a new district will bring better results.
"Us moving down, I mean we feel like it's going to be a good year for us," says senior offensive tackle and defensive end Ryan Londree. "We can probably win some games this year and maybe make it to the playoffs."
"I can speak for all of us when I say that we're looking forward to having a successful year," added senior quarterback Jordan Shelton. "We've faced definitely a lot of adversity, a lot of trials, lot of tribulations, but this year it's going to be different."
Alley also believes that this year will be different, in part because this is a more experienced team than in past seasons.
"Last year we were very young, we only had four or five starters that were seniors, so most of our kids are back and they want to make it a great year," he said. "We're just excited as a staff that we don't feel like we don't have to coach as much. We can add more into our offense and defensive schemes."
The Patriot players are already looking forward to renewing some local rivalries.
"Our guys, they've already put a chart together and they're excited about playing everyone," Alley said. "The Jefferson District is a very competitive district."
Londree, Shelton, and Bryant each said that Western is the game they have circled on their calendars.
"That's always a big rival game.," said Londree. "I mean that should be a battle when we play them."
"I'm looking forward to all of them, I'm excited," added Bryant. "We've got local teams, local rivals. But Western and Monticello are who I'm looking at."
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