Journell, Giles Looking for Playoff Berth
Giles (VA), 5-4 on the year, needs a win over Auburn coupled with a Floyd County win over Radford to make the playoffs. Star senior Cody Journell , a Virginia Tech recruit, says he and his teammates are focused on doing what they can to make the 2008 postseason.
“I think we’re pretty confident going into it,” Journell said. “We have come more and more together every week. Auburn has lost a lot, but you can’t take any game lightly. You have to prepare hard every week.
“We have to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs. We’re going in with open minds and looking to play the best we can. The seniors know this could be our last game. We’re talking about that every day.”
A big part of his team’s success, Journell is a running back on offense, a free safety on defense, returns punts and kicks, and serves as the team’s punter and place-kicker. The 6-0, 175-pound prospect earned a scholarship from Virginia Tech for his ability as a place-kicker, but he has rushed for 861 yards on 137 carries and scored 13 touchdowns on the season.
“I’m doing everything,” Journell said. “I’ve been able to tell that playing so much has hurt my kicking a little bit because I am tired. Overall, it has been good to play everything.”
After making 10 field goals in 2007, Journell has booted three field goals (20, 38, 45) and converted 24 extra points this season. He will focus only on place-kicking and preparing for his future at Virginia Tech once his football seasons is over.
“I’m not going to play any other sports. I think I may take a couple of weeks off to let my body rest up,” Journell said of his offseason plans. “I’ll then start working with my kicking coach, Doug Blevins, every opportunity I get.”
Blevins is a respected kicking coach who has worked with Journell for several years.
“I met up with him after my 10th grade year,” Journell said. “I had seen an article on him about him being in a wheelchair and still teaching kickers. He has done it with four or five NFL teams. I trust him with everything. After the first day I worked with him, I could tell he would be able to help me.”
Blevins helped Journell learn how to kick off the ground this summer. The top talent adjusted quickly and has confidence about the transition from high school to college.
“I’ve kicked off the ground before, so I don’t think it will be too tough to transition to,” Journell said.
Other Virginia Tech commits have key games this week as well, including…
Stone Bridge (Ashburn, VA), featuring Tech DT David Wang, hosts Thomas Jefferson Friday night in the first round of the Division 5, Northern Region playoffs. Ranked second in the region, the Bulldogs finished the regular season undefeated (10-0) and ranked 17th in USA Today’s Super 25.
Tech ATH recruit Nubian Peak rushed 14 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Pulaski County’s (Dublin, VA) 28-7 win over Christiansburg last week. Pulaski looks to go undefeated in the regular season and can do so with a win over Salem on Friday night.
CB commit James Hopper scored two touchdowns in Seventy-First’s (Fayetteville, VA) 22-15 loss to Richmond Senior last week. Seventy-First is 8-2 on the season and will play its final regular season game this week.
Bethel (Virginia Tech DE commit James Gayle) faces Western Branch in the first round of the Division 6, Eastern Region playoffs this week. The Bruins are the sixth seed in the expanded playoffs. Hampton (LB commit Tyrel Wilson), the 4th seed in the Division 5, Eastern Region playoffs, faces Indian River in this week’s first round.
After a big win over Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) last week, the Hermitage Panthers can wrap up a Colonial District title and an automatic berth in the Division 6, Central Region playoffs with a win over Patrick Henry-Ashland this week. Hermitage features two Tech recruits, including FS/WR Theron Norman and DE/LB/TE Duan Perez-Means.
Daniel (Central, S.C.) takes on Blue Ridge in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs this week. Tech CB commit Jerrodd Williams, who has seemingly been wavering in his commitment to the Hokies in recent weeks, was also named to the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team.
Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.), featuring VT commits Tariq and Tyrell Edwards, will face Socastee in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.