Losing two of its first three games, Hermitage (Richmond, VA), a program expected to contend for a Division 6 state championship this year, was able to turn its season around. The Panthers finished the regular season at 8-2, captured a district championship and has earned a berth in the Central Region semifinals.
Theron Norman ‘s senior season may not have gone as smoothly as he had hoped on an individual level, but the 6-3, 192-pound prospect has shown leadership and toughness.
“It has been good, but it has been a little rough coming off a hamstring injury,” said Norman, who pulled a hamstring in a preseason scrimmage against Brooke Point, of his senior season. “I missed the first game. I played the second and third games at quarterback, but I felt I couldn’t make as many plays because of the injury. From my standpoint, I thought that might have hurt us a lot. It was kind of funny. On the same day I was going to go to Coach Kane to ask to move me, he called me into his office and said maybe I might move back to receiver. He thought it would give us more options on offense. We did that and put Michael Johnson at quarterback.
“We took a downfall in the beginning of the season with the two losses. We all sat around and had meeting and we started talking about everything. We forgot about the losses and kept moving forward. We also made a couple of changes that helped us a lot. Everybody has worked together.”
Norman, who is being recruited by Virginia Tech initially as a free safety, feels he has played well on both sides of the ball since moving to receiver.
“I think a big improvement on offense has been my blocking,” Norman said. “Wide receiver is going pretty good. At free safety, I think I’ve improved a lot as far as getting a feel for reading the quarterback. My tackling is better, too. I don’t get much action my way, but when I do I take advantage.”
The hamstring may not be 100-percent, but it has improved as the season has progressed.
“I don’t think about it when the game starts. The adrenaline is pumping and it really doesn’t bother me,” Norman said. “When it first happened, I think everybody could tell that it affected me. I’ve kept up my treatment and you can’t really tell now if it bothers me or not.”
Hermitage faces a DeAntre Rhodes-led Varina team tonight. The two squads faced off earlier this season with Varina getting the better of that match-up.
“There is kind of the revenge thing, but then we just want to go out there and play ball,” Norman said. “It is playoff time and time to play ball. We just have to play hard. We don’t want to go home.”
Norman discussed how former Hermitage quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton is progressing at Virginia Tech. Clayton is a true freshman signal caller for the Hokies.
“I try to talk to him at least once a week,” Norman said. “He said it was tough at first with the game speed. He has had to adjust to making quicker reads, but he said he adjusted quickly. Coach Cav talked about him and said he was doing good.”
Many of Virginia Tech’s 2009 class commits will be in playoff action over the weekend. Here you go…
– Hermitage (FS/WR Theron Norman and DE/TE Duan Perez-Means) versus Varina in the Division 6, Central Region semifinals
– Bethel (DE James Gayle) versus Oscar Smith in the Division 6, Eastern Region semifinals
– Stone Bridge (DT David Wang) versus Mount Vernon in the Division 5, Northern Region semifinals
– Hampton (LB/DE Tyrel Wilson) versus Lake Taylor in the Division 5, Eastern Region semifinals
– George Washington-Danville (RB David Wilson) versus Brooke Point in the Division 5, Northwest Region semifinals
– Liberty (OL Kory Gough) versus William Fleming in the Division 5, Northwest Region semifinals
– Pulaski County (ATH Nubian Peak) versus Blacksburg in Division 4, Region IV semifinals
– Bassett (OL Andrew Miller) versus Salem in the Division 4, Region IV semifinals
– Brookville (WR recruit Logan Thomas) versus Northside in the Division 3, Region III semifinals
– King William (junior DL recruit Nick Acree) versus Washington & Lee in the Division 2, Region A semifinals
– Giles (PK Cody Journell) versus Chilhowie in the Division 2, Region C semifinals
– Daniel (Central, S.C.) (CB Jerrodd Williams) versus Fairfield-Central in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs
– Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) (DE/LB Tariq Edwards and TE/LB Tyrell Edwards) versus South Aiken in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs
Here is an interesting article on Tech cornerback recruit James Hopper, who led Seventy-First (Fayetteville, N.C.) to a 27-7 win over Pinecrest last week. Hopper rushed 15 times for 111 yards and two scores in the win.