Anyone who has followed the King George High School football team knows what Javon Campbell can do offensively.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior is a battering ram of a running back with breakaway speed to boot.
He’s also a receiving threat out of the backfield, which was evident when he recorded 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a win over Stafford earlier this season.
But Campbell’s reputation on defense isn’t something that’s well-known.
He played some outside linebacker last season and was dinged up early in this campaign with ankle and Achilles ailments, so he didn’t play both ways.
However, in the Foxes’ 21–20 nondistrict victory over Washington & Lee on Friday, Campbell was asked to play defensive back and put a stop to Eagles’ 6-foot-3 talented receiver Shane McNeill.
Campbell did just that with two pivotal second-half pass breakups. He also rumbled and sprinted for 146 rushing yards and all three of the Foxes’ touchdowns en route to Free Lance-Star player of the week honors.
“[McNeill] is a really good athlete and a really good player. He’s every bit of 6–3, 6–4,” King George head coach Vern Lunsford said. “Javon happened to match up with him as far as height, speed and athleticism. We thought it would be a good matchup for us and that’s why we chose to do it.”
McNeill finished with four catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. But outside of a screen pass he didn’t get free against Campbell in the second half.
Campbell said it took some time to adjust to the defensive back position but he knew it was necessary to slow McNeill.
“It felt weird at first because you’ve got to backpedal, flip your hips and all that,” Campbell said. “I was surprised [when I was asked to play the position] but I had to do it for my team.”
On offense, Campbell scored two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter from 7 and 6 yards, respectively.
Lunsford said he’s thrilled that Campbell is healthy and able to contribute the way they both envisioned when the season started.
Campbell was held to 25 rushing yards on 13 carries in the season-opener against Orange.
“Now he’s able to do some things he wants to do and we want him to do,” Lunsford said.
Campbell is hopeful it continues Friday when the Foxes host James Monroe. He said one of the keys to defeating the Yellow Jackets is containing junior Aidan Ryan, who has played quarterback and receiver for the Yellow Jackets.
If the first five games of the season are any indication, it could be another close game. Three of the Foxes’ contests have been decided by four points or less. The last two have been decided by one point. Campbell suggested the Class 4 Foxes may have overlooked Class 1 W&L, but they won’t have that luxury against JM.
Campbell is healthy and aiming to continue making an impact.
“It’s great to know I’m back in shape,” Campbell said. “I can play games now and I can help my team out.”
- Austin Bise, Caroline DB—13 solo tackles vs. Courtland
- Ty-Shaun Colbert, Spotsylvania RB—190 rushing yards, 3 TDs vs. Chancellor
- Trevin Edwards, Chancellor QB—252 total yards, 2 TDs vs. Spotsylvania
- Chance Graves, Eastern View WR—152 total yards, TD vs. James Monroe
- L.J. Kelly, Washington & Lee RB—153 rushing yards, TD vs. King George
- Adin Huntington, Mountain View DL—6 tackles, 10 QB hurries vs. North Stafford
- Kendall Jackson, Caroline DL—9 solo tackles vs. Courtland
- Shane McNeill, Washington & Lee WR—142 receiving yards, TD vs. King George
- Elijah Sarratt, Colonial Forge WR/KR—Kick return TD; punt return TD vs. Riverbend
- Edward Ware, Mountain View QB—221 total yards, 2 TDs vs. North Stafford
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