School’s win­ningest QB gets 1st of­fer from Chowan

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - Ni­cholas Van­de­loecht Staff Writer

DINWIDDIE - When it came to Dinwiddie Foot­ball’s all-time win­ningest quar­ter­back Bryce Witt, some­thing was miss­ing.

It wasn’t the tal­ent. He’s shown he’s got that in droves, from his care­ful and ac­cu­rate pass­ing game to his abil­ity to make ad­just­ments for the gamewin­ning play.

It wasn’t the lead­er­ship. A three-year starter at quar­ter­back and a team cap­tain for all three years, Witt is no stranger to the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that come with be­ing at the helm.

It wasn’t the re­sults. Over 6,300 pass­ing yards, 69 pass­ing touch­downs, 10 rush­ing TDs, 31 ca­reer wins as a starter and a 14-1 record plus a state cham­pi­onship game ap­pear­ance are noth­ing to sneeze at. But what was miss­ing was some­thing that would be a big part of de­ter­min­ing his foot­ball fu­ture. It was the at­ten­tion. Lead­ing up to his se­nior sea­son - and go­ing on through his stel­lar 2016 cam­paign - the six-foot-three, 205-pound-quar­ter­back had no col­le­giate of­fers to his name. The wait was long, go­ing on past the end of his fi­nal foot­ball out­ing.

That wait has ended. Witt, who con­cluded his high school ca­reer at Dinwiddie with a 31-7 record as the start­ing QB, re­ceived his first col­le­giate of­fer in early Jan­uary from CIAA school Chowan.

“It is def­i­nitely like a weight be­ing lifted off my shoul­ders - re­al­iz­ing that all the hard work I had put in over the years is be­ing rec­og­nized by their coaches,” said Witt, who in 2016 threw for over 2,600 yards and 30 touch­downs.

As a se­nior Witt led his Gen­er­als to a 10-0 reg­u­lar sea­son, to cham­pi­onships in the Cen­tral Dis­trict, Con­fer­ence 20 and 4A East Re­gion and to the Gen­er­als’ sec­ond state cham­pi­onship game in four years, in which Dinwiddie Foot­ball fin­ished as 4A state run­ners-up on a nar­row 31-27 loss to Salem. Witt helped his team win 14 straight games this past sea­son and had two games where he threw for over 300 yards against Ma­toaca and Caro­line.

Witt has re­ceived mul­ti­ple hon­ors, in­clud­ing all-con­fer­ence and all­re­gion, and has served as team cap­tain dur­ing his sopho­more, ju­nior and se­nior sea­sons. De­spite his suc­cess, he had no of­fers up un­til ear­lier this Jan­uary, which some­what baf­fled Dinwiddie Foot­ball head coach Billy Mills II back in the sum­mer be­fore the Gen­er­als flexed their dom­i­nance through­out their 2016 out­ing.

Mills said this past pre­sea­son that “one of those teams” was go­ing to get a “cham­pi­onship cal­iber QB” in Witt. Gen­er­als Foot­ball praised Witt’s grades, char­ac­ter, lead­er­ship and work ethic.

Witt said he felt that “lead­er­ship, char­ac­ter and be­ing a proven win­ner as a three-year start­ing QB for Dinwiddie HS are some of the things that at­tracted Chowan” to him.

Witt’s se­nior sea­son, fea­tur­ing 2,623 pass­ing yards, fol­lowed his first two sea­sons where he com­piled 3,702 yards and 39 touch­downs. Head­ing into his fi­nal high school foot­ball year, Witt was com­plet­ing 60 per­cent of his pass­ing at­tempts as he had con­nected on 255 of his 428 tries. Witt stepped that up as a se­nior, com­plet­ing 155 of 248 pass­ing at­tempts for a 62.5-per­cent com­ple­tion rate. In 15 starts in 2016, he had just five games where he went over 200 yards pass­ing, but in his play­ing style, he proved both ac­cu­rate and care­ful. He threw only four in­ter­cep­tions all sea­son, and he gave away zero picks in the five-game play­offs.

Be­hind his strong arm, he’s also got the legs to make plays. To his 376yard rush­ing to­tal and eight TDs in his first two sea­sons, he added over 270 yards and two scores, in­clud­ing a high­light of a tear where he burned first-round play­off op­po­nent Court­land on a blis­ter­ing 70-yard run for a touch­down.

Witt has also proven eva­sive, par­tic­u­larly when he eluded tack­lers and es­caped pressure in the Gen­er­als’ road game at Hopewell.

After that game against the Blue Devils, Mills said of Witt: “Bryce does a great job ... he did a great job keep­ing his eyes down field, he’s got a good feel for it, he feels the rush and he does a great job of pick­ing a cor­rect es­cape and keep­ing his eyes down­field and mak­ing plays.”

Witt also epit­o­mized his de­ter­mi­na­tion in the third round play­off game against Lake Tay­lor, when he led the Gen­er­als, then trail­ing the Ti­tans by one-point, on a 12-play, 81-yard drive that put Dinwiddie back into the lead for good.

He cap­tained a clutch­play clinic, con­vert­ing on third down with the help of a slip­pery run, and then do­ing so again on a cru­cial fourth down play with a pass to team­mate K’Vaughan Pope. And then, both Witt and his team­mate Tye Free­land made ad­just­ments on the fi­nal play of the drive, re­sult­ing in Witt fir­ing the ball to Free­land, who darted into the end zone 36 yards for the lead-get­ting score.

In get­ting ready for his fi­nal sea­son as a high school QB, Witt said he worked hard to get big­ger, faster and stronger. He also looked at last year’s film to find ar­eas that needed im­prove­ment.

“I feel like I im­proved in my de­ci­sion mak­ing and pro­tect­ing the foot­ball,” he said. “How­ever, ex­pe­ri­ence def­i­nitely helps in the as­pect of the game slow­ing down, and knowl­edge of what your op­po­nent is do­ing.”

Witt and Coach Mills spent Sun­day evenings watch­ing and study­ing film of their op­po­nents.

“We would think of plays that would work against their de­fen­sive scheme,” Witt said, “which kept Coach and me on the same page.”

From his Dinwiddie team­mates, Witt learned that “unity and ca­ma­raderie go a long way in the suc­cess of a team.”

Witt’s not only carved his place in Dinwiddie’s ath­letic his­tory - he’s also con­tin­ued the sports legacy of the Witt fam­ily, as his un­cle Randy Witt led Dinwiddie Foot­ball at quar­ter­back in the 1980s.

“It has been fun over the years go­ing back and forth with my Un­cle Randy on who was the bet­ter DHS QB. I think I have a few more touch­downs than he did,” Witt said while adding: “Not only my Un­cle Randy, but my en­tire fam­ily has given me an amaz­ing amount of support. I am ex­tremely grate­ful for the fam­ily support, but also for the support of all of Navy Na­tion through­out my ca­reer.”

The first team to of­fer Witt - Chowan - is com­ing off of a 2016 sea­son where they fin­ished 6-4 over­all and 4-3 in the CIAA Con­fer­ence. The Hawks, based in Murfrees­boro, North Carolina, are in the NCAA II di­vi­sion and are mem­bers of the Cen­tral In­ter­col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence along with lo­cally based uni­ver­si­ties Virginia State (Et­trick) and Virginia Union (Rich­mond).

A fu­ture in col­le­giate foot­ball now lies ahead of Witt, and for his prepa­ra­tion, he re­mains fo­cused on get­ting even big­ger, even faster and even stronger, as well as on bet­ter­ing his throw­ing me­chan­ics and foot­work.

“I will watch my se­nior sea­son film to find other ar­eas to im­prove upon,” he said.

Witt has the tal­ent. He has the lead­er­ship. He’s reeled in the re­sults.

And now he’s reel­ing in the long-awaited at­ten­tion.


In this file photo, Dinwiddie’s Bryce Witt looks down the field dur­ing a pass against Caro­line at home. The Gen­er­als won 70-0 over the Cava­liers. Witt threw a sea­son-high five touch­downs against Caro­line.


In this file photo, Bryce Witt at quar­ter­back launches a pass dur­ing a Dinwiddie Foot­ball prac­tice in Au­gust 2016.


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