GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WWBT) - Chad Hornik knows Thomas Jefferson football well. He served as the Vikings’ head coach from 2012-2015, led them to their first playoff appearance in 37 years and spearheaded a massive fundraising effort to upgrade facilities and equipment for the program.
“I’m just so happy that they proceeded to get better and better after I exited,” said Hornik, now the head coach at Deep Run. “I think it’s just fantastic to see that happen, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
All the Vikings have done since Hornik’s departure is keep the uphill trend going. TeeJay is 8-1 on the season, its best start since 1952, and has locked up the top seed in Region 2A, meaning some home playoff games are in its future. The Vikings have won six straight games after suffering their lone defeat of the campaign to date, an overtime loss at Amelia.
“I believe taking that loss helped us out a lot,” said senior quarterback Jaylen Tyler. “We got too comfortable, and now, losing to Amelia, it made us better.”
Hornik is now in his fourth season as Deep Run’s head coach, and has the Wildcats on the verge of their first 10-0 regular season since 2006.
“I think they were looking at last week as ‘we get this one, we’re going to finish this thing strong and get that 10-0,'” Hornik said of his squad. “But I just explained to them that TeeJay is a darn good looking team with a lot of athletes and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Friday finds Hornik’s former team the only thing standing in the way of his current squad’s perfection. Thomas Jefferson has its eye on a statement win, and players and coaches say stopping quarterback Bo Kite will be a crucial part of securing a victory. Meanwhile, Kite and the Wildcats aim to keep rolling.
“Our kids feel like they’re getting a showcase game,” said Vikings’ head coach P.J. Adams. “We’re often doubted a lot of the time. We want the opportunity to show that we have good players here at Thomas Jefferson as well.”
“They don’t have much to lose except they probably want to knock us off, get us to not be 10-0,” Hornik said.
It’s a match-up worthy of the spotlight as the two teams try to make history. While the Vikings have their playoff position secure, Deep Run continues to battle for the number two seed in Region 5B, and a 10-0 season would be a great sign of how far the program has come.
“It just makes all of the hard work worth it, everything we did offseason and in the summer," remarked Wildcat junior wide receiver Gabe Henderson. “Our philosophy is we’re all in, so it would really mean a lot to go 10-0.”
“We’re playing with house money right now,” said Adams. “Nobody expects us to win except the people in this room, so we hope to go over there and give them a good show."
Deep Run and Thomas Jefferson kick off at 7:00pm on Friday on the Wildcats’ home field.
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