by Trojans Sports Information Department
Ettrick, VA – The Virginia State University football team held its annual Orange & Blue Trojans Spring Game at Roger Stadium on April 14.
"We've been blessed, got a real good group of guys, good numbers," said Virginia State head coach Reggie Barlow, who is entering his third season at Virginia State University.
The Trojans will have experience heading into 2018, with four of their offensive linemen coming back, as well as quarterback Cordelral Cook and wide receiver Josh Harris. Last year, Cook led the Trojans in rushing touchdowns (18) while also adding 729 total yards on the ground. He also threw 124 completions on 215 attempts for 1,590 passing yards and 11 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Harris, in his 10 games played, made 30 catches for 387 yards and six touchdowns. But the Trojans this year also have some players looking to step up.
The Trojans are coming off a historic season in which they won 10 straight games to open a season for the first time in the football program's storied history, and won their first CIAA Football Championship since 2014. Barlow is 19-3 as head coach of VSU Football following his first two seasons with the team.
Trent Cannon, in his final year as a Trojan, become the school's all-time rusher with most rushing yards in a career (4,030), most rushing yards in a season (1,638) and most career rushing touchdowns (44).
But the Trojans' season last year, Barlow noted, will have nothing to do with this team and this season. For 2018, the Trojans will look to turn to a group of running backs that includes but is not limited to L.C. Bird alum Stephen Mines, Richmond Christian's Aaron Monts and Fredericksburg's George Cheetham. Barlow noted that while there is room to improve, he's seen the players make improvement, and he stated that "their hearts and their minds" are "in the right place." And for the Trojans' running backs, the goal is for them to play their own game and know their limitations.
"The good thing about the human body is: it'll tell you you can't be Trent. They know that. Their body won't allow them to be Trent," Barlow added with a laugh. "But you have to play your own game, and one of the most important things about being a good football player: you have to understand your limitations and you have to understand the things that you do well, and I think these guys do that."
Going into 2018, team unity remains the message to the players. The symbolism could be seen in Saturday's game - after the team was divided into Orange and Blue, and they played through the four quarters with the two sides tying at 6-6, the two sides came together at the 50 as one.
"If we come together...as Trojans, we're all on the same mindset and care about each other and continue to work" - Barlow said - "then we'll be as good as we need to be."
The Virginia State University football team will conclude spring ball following two practices this week.
The Trojans will open its 2018 season on the road as they face the Spartans of Norfolk State University on September 1st in William "Dick" Price Stadium with kick-off slated for 6 p.m.
For more information on VSU football, follow Trojans Athletics on Twitter @VSUsports, or call 804-524-5030.