WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Last Friday, Bruton High School started its varsity football season with a 62-0 defeat vs. King William High School. However, the score is not the story for Bruton - not in its season opener or any game it will play in 2018.
The Panthers' season will be about grit and heart, things you cannot measure or grade. Because in just about every other metric, Bruton's program will come up short this season - even when it comes to the length of its varsity season.
"We knew at the end of last year that things were looking slim," explained Teri Uvodich, mother of Bruton senior Josh Uvodich - one of only two seniors on the roster. "We didn't know how slim until the first parent meeting before school let out. We only had maybe four upperclassmen at that point - and just two seniors. So that's when we pretty much knew."
What Teri and the Bruton familes were aware of, Athletic Director Richard Onesty also knew. With only 23 varsity football players, the Panthers would not be able to compete with many of the teams on their schedule.
Therefore, the call was made to slash the season. Bruton cancelled half its games, five of 10 on the 2018 slate. The contests called-off were those vs. Class 4 schools, the second-largest in the Virginia High School League. Bruton is a member of Class 2, the second-smallest in VHSL.
"He was very disappointed, very angry," Teri said of her son Josh's reaction to learning half his senior season would be scrapped. "He was hoping he could play at the next level. He went to a couple college camps this summer thinking this might be his year."
Teri admits, despite his brother and sisters coming-up through Bruton High and its athletic programs before him, she considered finding Josh a new place to play his senior season.
"I won't deny he was angry," Teri explained. "We even searched-out other opportunities that might be able to work out for him - even at other schools. But VHSL has their rules and we abide by those. Of course, we also wanted to support the community we've been a part of for so long. Even though we are small, they are mighty kids. He has a big heart and he will give it his all no matter what."
No matter what. Or, in this case, no matter how many.
Bruton plays at York (Class 3) Friday before hosting New Kent (Class 3) September 14th. After that, due to four consecutive cancellations, the Panthers will not play another varsity game until their trip to Poquoson (Class 2) October 18th.