Coach John Fulks and the coaching staff at Essex will test his new football players and returners soon to start the season. Hosting not only Goochland, the team that defeated them in the state championship last season, but also AA state champion James Monroe.
“The thought process was that I didn’t want to play our toughest game on Dec. 8 and I truly believe Goochland played better than any other team we
faced,” Fulks said.
Goochland and James Monroe both had openings on their schedule, Fulks said, adding that both looked like attractive matchups.
Last season, the Trojans offense had success scoring a lot of points against opponents. Fulks thought it would be best to challenge his guys early instead of in the playoffs.
“I’d rather play a game like that even if the result is not what we want it to be,” Fulks said. “They are going to be very physical games and don’t forget King William in that mix of the first five games.”
All-State junior quarterback Dominek Broaddus returns to led the Essex offense with their spread formation. CJ Jones, Dre Baylor, Dartanious Jones, Sterling Hammond, DJ Ashlock and Jamar Kelly return as some of the expected playmakers this season. “Every week he [Broaddus] was learning. Now he knows the offense like the back of his hand,” Fulks said. “He’s got some good weapons to throw to and compliment his abilities really well.”
On the front lines, the Balderson twins, Alex and Drew, will join junior lineman Anthony Jones and senior lineman Peyton Brooks. The line is one area that Fulks is looking for younger guys to grow into soon.
“We took a hit, a really big hit. That is where we are really new,” Fulks said.
Sophomore Jordan Payne and senior Brody Ellis highlight the team’s newcomer list.
Like last season, sophomore Malik Martin will also be sought upon to provide production at the defensive back position followed with juniors Mario Howie and Leo Gaskins.
The Trojans won a total of 14 games last season, an improvement from two years ago winning only four. Fulks said he’s pleased with the attendance this season with a total of 80 kids between the varsity and JV.
Gretna: 41-18 (w)
at Caroline: 41-21 (w)
at King William: 41-26 (w)
at Arcadia: 64-6 (w)
Northampton: 89-0 (w)
at Northland: 54-0 (w)
Colonial Beach: 47-8 (w)
Lancaster: 55-6 (w)
at Washington & Lee: 39-0 (w)
Rappahannock: 39-0 (w)
Luray: 28-12 (w)
East Rockingham: 29-24 (w)
Central: 48-28 (w)
John Battle: 40-9 (w)
Goochland: 41-14 (l)
Editor’s note: All teams scheduled are classified as 1A unless otherwise stated
Aug. 30: Goochland (2A) at W&L 7:30
Sept. 13: King William (2A) at Essex 7
Sept. 20: Essex at Nandua (non-district) 7
Sept. 27: Mathews (1A) at Essex 7
Oct. 4: Essex at James Monroe 7
Oct. 11: Northumberland at Essex 7*
Oct. 18: Essex at Colonial Beach 7
Oct. 25: Essex at Lancaster 7
Nov. 2: W&L at Essex 1
Nov. 8: Essex at Rappahannock 7
Get started with the upcoming school year by picking up a copy of the high school fall sports showcase tab due out Sept. 4. Additional football team previews are also available in Westmoreland News featuring Colonial Beach and Washington & Lee, and Lancaster and Northumberland in the Northumberland Echo.