When the Albemarle Patriots head to Fluvanna for their first game as members of the Jefferson District, the trip will be much shorter than they're accustomed to. For years, the Patriots have been traveling hours away for their Commonwealth District games. Now, they'll have a chance to build local rivalries as members of the Jefferson District.
"There's just, I feel like, more excitement in the games," said junior quarterback D.G. Archer. "I think it's a more exciting atmosphere to play teams that are closer to you."
"To play local, that's nice, also too to build new rivalries," adds head coach Mike Alley. "These kids know each other, it brings more people to the games, it just feels more like a Friday night football game."
The Patriots will bring a 1-2 record into Friday's matchup with the Flucos, who are 0-3 so far this season.
Senior linebacker and fullback Brandon Haney calls the move to the Jefferson District "really exciting, because it's new teams and I mean we can kind of just show everyone around what we can do."
Both teams are coming off close losses at home last Friday night. Albemarle fell to Patrick Henry 14-7, while Fluvanna lost 21-16 to Culpeper County.
Alley's team is hoping to rebound from their loss and earn a win in their first JD game. "It would be great to start off that way," he says. "We lost a close one Friday night, and I'm sure our kids are a little bit hungry and would like to have one this Friday, but they're still going to have to work hard."
If the Patriots do beat the Flucos, they will surpass their win total from last season, when they finished 1-9. While they're excited about less travel and more rivalries in their new district, the Patriots are also looking forward to the chance to stay competitive throughout the season.
"We think we have a better opportunity than what we did last year," said senior center Nyanni Reid. "Well, I think we had good opportunities last year, but this year is definitely, we can change a lot of stuff about our program."