COACH GETS HOME­COM­ING

Land­stown coach com­ing ‘home’ to Todd Sta­dium, where he starred with Carver

Daily Press - - Front Page - By Marty O’Brien Staff writer

In his up­com­ing matchup with Wood­side High, Land­stown coach Tommy Rea­mon will be re­turn­ing to Todd Sta­dium, where he was a part of mem­o­rable mo­ments as both a player and coach.

When Tommy Rea­mon brings his Land­stown foot­ball team into Todd Sta­dium on Fri­day to play Wood­side in the Re­gion 6A play­off quar­ter­fi­nals, he says “I’ll be re­turn­ing home.”

In­deed, few have been as in­ti­mately iden­ti­fied with the 51-year-old dwelling as Rea­mon, who has been part of some of its most mem­o­rable mo­ments as a player and coach.

He first played there as a se­nior at Carver High in 1969, when he led the Tro­jans to a 9-0-1 record in their first sea­son in the Penin­sula District. Carver had la­bored in rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity in the black schools’ Vir­ginia In­ter­scholas­tic As­so­ci­a­tion prior to that sea­son, but when Rea­mon ran for four touch­downs and re­turned a punt for a TD in a win over highly re­garded Fer­gu­son, he and the Tro­jans were on the area map.

“Fer­gu­son was (con­sid­ered by some to be) the top dog at the time, so for a (pre­dom­i­nantly) black school to beat them was a big thing,” Rea­mon re­mem­bered. “It was a fan­tas­tic game.”

He would have many more as a run­ning back in the years that

fol­lowed. He led Fort Scott of Kansas to a na­tional ju­nior-col­lege ti­tle, started for Mis­souri in col­lege and won MVP honors in the World Foot­ball League that ri­valed the NFL in the mid-1970s.

Rea­mon played a sea­son for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL, an­other in Canada and then went into act­ing, play­ing Delma Hud­dle in the 1979 mo­tion pic­ture “North Dal­las Forty.”

But his path even­tu­ally led him back to Todd Sta­dium, where, from 1991-95, he coached Fer­gu­son.

One of his first hires was a young­ster named Danny Dod­son. Dod­son, who was Rea­mon’s de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Fer­gu­son, is now in his 20th sea­son as head coach at Wood­side and will be on the op­po­site side­line from Rea­mon in a play­off game for the third con­sec­u­tive sea­son.

Their teams have split the meet­ings, Wood­side win­ning 31-0 two years ago and Land­stown pre­vail­ing 14-10 last year, thanks to a fourth-quar­ter stop of the Wolver­ines at the Ea­gles’ 1. Their friend­ship is never dented by the com­pe­ti­tion, and Dod­son con­sid­ers Rea­mon a ma­jor ca­reer in­flu­ence.

“I learned so many things from Tommy, but the main thing is the re­la­tion­ship­with­thekids,”Dod­son said. “You try to help them un­der­stand who they are, and you re­al­ize the re­la­tion­ships are big­ger than foot­ball.”

Rea­mon said, “I’m so proud of Danny and the suc­cess he’s had. It’s a treat com­pet­ing against him — just part of the busi­ness and the sport.”

Rea­mon said what he re­mem­bers most about his time with Fer­gu­son was his quar­ter­back, fu­ture New Or­leans Saints stand­out Aaron Brooks, try­ing to com­plete passes against fu­ture Bas­ket­ball Hall of Famer Allen Iver­son in a loss to Bethel. Rea­mon says Iver­son, who ran for three touch­downs and in­ter­cepted a pass that af­ter­noon, could’ve been a great pro foot­ball player had he cho­sen.

“He would’ve started in the de­fen­sive back­field for any NFL team,” Rea­mon said.

The most high-pro­file game Rea­mon was ever in­volved in at Todd Sta­dium came in 1997, a year af­ter he had moved from Fer­gu­son (which closed in 1996) to War­wick. His quar­ter­back, Michael Vick, du­eled Hamp­ton High leg­end Ron­ald Curry be­fore al­most 10,000.

Sur­pris­ingly, at the time, Vick held his own in the matchup of fu­ture NFL play­ers, although Hamp­ton pulled away to win.

“Great­est high school game in area his­tory,” Rea­mon said.

One of Rea­mon’s other fa­vorite mem­o­riesatTod­d­cameas­coa­chof Glouces­ter in 2005 against War­wick. His son, Tommy Rea­mon Jr. — now a scout with the Saints — scored a late touch­down to give the Dukes a 21-20 win over War­wick.

“That took me back al­most 40 years at Todd Sta­dium, to when I played,” Rea­mon said.

His mem­ory mak­ers for Land­stown (6-4) on Fri­day could be cor­ner­back Carl­ton Win­ston (six in­ter­cep­tions), de­fen­sive end Taeveon Lane (22 sacks) or de­fen­sive tackle Den­zel Lowry, who was all-re­gion a year ago as a fresh­man.

“We have a good de­fense,” Rea­mon said.

He’ll need it. Wood­side (8-2), which mostly runs the ball out of the Wing-T, is deep in skill ta­lent with quar­ter­back Tyler Thomp­son, D’onte Ches­son, Bryce Phipps and Desmin Wright.

Rea­mon boasts his share of of­fen­sive ta­lent, with a ca­pa­ble thrower in Chris Price (1,200 yards), a two-way threat in Luq­man Has­kett (1,302 to­tal yards, 14 touch­downs) and an emerg­ing rush­ing threat in Win­ston (462 yards). Rea­mon will need that, too, as the Wood­side de­fen­sive line, led by Josh Hart­ley and Jor­dan Hardick, has been stel­lar.

In short, the ta­ble is set for a com­pet­i­tive game and per­haps more last­ing Todd Sta­dium mem­o­ries for a man with so many al­ready.

“Of course the Land­stown kids are my chil­dren now, and we’re go­ing there to win, but I’m a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Newport News,” Rea­mon said. “I live there, pay tax­es­there,an­dany­timeIwalk­into Todd Sta­dium, it’s a trip down mem­ory lane.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the past and I’ll ap­pre­ci­ate the kids on both sides be­cause there might just be an­other Tommy Rea­mon. Dreamin’.”

STAFF FILE

Tommy Rea­mon, shown in his days coach­ing Glouces­ter, is bring­ing his Land­stown team from Vir­ginia Beach to Newport News’ Todd Sta­dium to face Wood­side and his for­mer as­sis­tant Danny Dod­son at 7 p.m. Fri­day. It’s the first round of the Re­gion 6A play­offs.

KEN­NETH SIL­VER/STAFF

Tommy Rea­mon, seen coach­ing War­wick in 2004, coached Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks at Todd Sta­dium. Allen Iver­son and Ron­ald Curry are among the play­ers against whom Rea­mon has coached.

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