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Hatchett leads Central honorees

Central High School’s varsity football team garnered six 2019 All-Region 1B selections, including two on the first team, and four 2019 All-James River District selections, including one first-teamer.

Chargers senior punter Jonathan Hatchett made both the all-region and all-district first teams, and junior offensive lineman Jordan Daniel joined him on the all-region first team.

Central players making the all-region second team included sophomore Nyjae Carter, as both a kick returner and defensive back, senior defensive back Ben Anthony and junior tight end Mark Strigel II

Making the all-district second team for the Chargers were Daniel, Anthony and senior defensive end Shamond Sellers.

Chargers Head Coach Will Thomas said he felt pretty good about Central’s overall all-district and all-region representation given his team’s 5-6 season, which ended in the first round of the regional tournament.

“We didn’t have a very good year this year,” he said. “We kind of underachieved in some ways. We won a big one in Amelia where we hung on to win in triple overtime, and then we lost to Nottoway by one point. You’d like to get a few more (selections), but you’d also like to win a few games.”

He noted that also making it difficult to earn selections this year in the district was the tremendous success of Goochland High School and Buckingham County High School, while the existence of now four-time defending state champion Riverheads High School in Region 1B also understandably has a similar impact on the all-region awards.

But Thomas pleased with the recognition that his players did receive and took some time to highlight many of them.

He said that Hatchett “averaged 39 yards a punt, which was phenomenal.”

After recalling Hatchett’s accolades earned last season, he added that the senior just did a good job with punting this year.

“He bailed us out a few times,” the coach said. “He really, really is a good punter. Smart kid, he’s getting ready to go to college, he’s a Governor’s school kid, and if he wanted to pursue (punting) in college, I think he could, but I don’t know if that’s what he wants to do. He’s got several other opportunities he could do.”

Daniel helped anchor an offensive line that allowed the Central offense to pile up more than 2,000 yards rushing this season.

“He’s been with us since he’s an eighth-grader, which is really the first group of kids we had that the eighth-graders played for us, man, and you talk about just getting better, just every single day just getting better,” Thomas said. “We squeezed him in there last year because we had no choice. He had to start for us as a sophomore, and at the beginning of the year, he was obviously not ready, and by the end of the year, man, he was one of our better players. And this year, we moved him from tackle, where he played last year, we moved him down to guard after the first game. Then we had some injuries and some other things come up, and we had to move him back to tackle, but he was just always constant. When you can play those two positions like that and move him back and forth, it helps us. And he’s really worked hard to (get) where he’s gotten. He works hard in the weight room, he’s a good student, smart kid, there every day.”

The coach noted that coaches always want more for their team when it comes to selections, saying this as he weighed the negatives and positives of his squad’s second-team nods.

“Ben Anthony, I thought, had earned the right to make first team, and it just didn’t work out,” Thomas said. “But then Mark Strigel was second-team tight end, which was good for him. That’s a good thing. He doesn’t get a lot of notoriety, but he’s there every day, and he works hard every day and Governor’s school kid and straight-A student — he’s earned the right to do it.”

The coach also affirmed that it was exciting to see Carter draw two all-region accolades as a sophomore.

“He had a good year,” Thomas said. “He was big for us in a lot of spots with his speed and things like that. He kind of came in and had some big runs for us and big plays and helped out a lot.”