FFE Week 6 Team of the Week: Bassett Bengals
HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - From starting off the season 0-2 to winning three in a row, the Bassett Bengals are battle-tested. Last week, they beat rival Magna Vista 41-7 as Hurricane Ian forced the game to be played a day early. The Bengals will maintain possession of the Smith River Classic trophy for the fifth straight season.
“We knew coming in, it’s a rivalry game,” remembers Bassett Head Coach Brandon Johnson. “They’re going to give us their best, and we just want to play our game and execute well and take care of what we can control. That’s the big, big thing. What we’re talking about this year is control what we can control and everything else will fall into place.”
“It’s my senior year,” adds Bengals QB Ja’Ricous Hairston. “I came in with a trophy I definitely didn’t want to lose it, you know? So I just knew I was going to play as hard as I could and give the guys all the energy I could.”
Hairston’s energy translated into 137 yards rushing on 18 carries, and 175 yards passing, going 9-for-13 with 3 TDs.
It’s a performance fitting into Coach Brandon Johnson’s identity for the program—hardnosed and fast.
“There were some phases of the game I felt like we could have been better,” explains Coach Johnson. “But overall we executed the game plan. Defensively, we were very fast to the football. I think we made them commit some mistakes that they normally don’t commit, and it’s because of our aggressive nature that we’re playing with right now.”
Junior Salvador Coca-Lobo had a gut-punching pick-6 in the second half, continuing Bengal momentum.
“We just got that winning mindset,” he says. “It’s just great. Having a great coach having a great teammates, just coming to practice giving my all showing what I can do on the field. Going out there doing my best.”
“On the offense side of football, we had some guys step up”
“Johnson has really made an impact on us which has made an impact on school,”
Junior WR/LB Jaylen Lide dazzled in the contest, accounting for 142 yards and six catches. He explains how the team is using their painted sledgehammer prop that reminds them to go 1-0 each week and put forth full effort.
“It says “all in” and “be different,” he reads from the painted construction tool. “Have a different mindset, different attitude, different everything.”
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