VIRGINIA BEACH – Mikey Farmer used to run away.
When the defenders closed in, he chose safety over a one-on-one battle. But as he reached the pinnacle of his high school career, the senior Cox forward faced anyone.
In double overtime of the national semi-final against Deep Run, Farmer showed his growth.
“He just got the ball and went four guys,” Cox coach Eric Blackmore said. “He knew we didn’t have much time. He wasn’t going to let the game go to the golden goal.
And in another moment of development, Farmer found the open man.
“I was going to go all the way,” said Farmer, who has 16 goals and 12 assists this season. “The kids behind me were saying shoot it but in the corner of my right eye I saw CJ (Vakos) making a run and I just trusted him and played the ball deep. He probably had the best result I’ve ever seen.
By becoming an all-around player and unifying captain, Farmer — the 2022 All-Tidewater Boys Football Player of the Year — helped make the Falcons a Class 5 state champion for the first time since 2010.
“The first few days, I really couldn’t believe it,” Farmer said of the state title win. “It only started last week when I saw friends I hadn’t seen over the weekend congratulating me and all the teachers congratulating me. This is where it really hit me. It feels really good.
Cox opened the state final with nearly 10 minutes of flawless football, earning a 1-0 lead over Riverside.
“The night before, assistant coach (Ben) Speckhart said something that really got us going,” Farmer said. “He said if anyone can name who First Colonial played last year in the state finals, I’ll give you $100. We were thinking. Nobody could remember that.
“Coach Speckhart said nobody remembers who second place is. can’t be forgotten.
Farmer had to leave the league game with 30 minutes to go through injury but was the first bench player to hail Robbie Morgan after scoring his second goal, limping along the line for a chest bump leaping.
Farmer’s creativity and artistry reminded Blackmore of only one other former Falcon: consecutive All-Tidewater Player of the Year Clay Obara (2018-19).
“These guys turn something seemingly innocent into something very special,” Blackmore said.
Farmer, a Hampden-Sydney commitment, retains a special bond with former players, especially the 2021 seniors.
“These guys really motivated me to be a leader and help the team get where we’ve been this year,” Farmer said. “They really pushed me. I texted each of them and told them I was grateful. Thank you for pushing me to be the man I am.
Ray Nimmo, [email protected]
2022 – Mikey Farmer, coxswain
2021 – Owen Ruddy, First Colonial
2020 – Season canceled due to the pandemic
2019 – Obara Clay, Cox
2018 – Clay Obara, Helmsman
2017 – Jared Greene, Kellam
2016 – Jaylen Thompson, First Colonial
2015 – Yohan DePicker, Ocean Lakes
2014 – Peter Pearson, Cape Henry
2013 – Peter Pearson, Cape Henry
2012 – Brian Davidson, First Colonial
2011 – Eric Bird, coxswain
2010 – Ryan Oakes, coxswain
2009 – Jordan Cyrus, Norfolk Academy
2008 – Caleb Thomas, coxswain
2007 – TJ Cyrus, Norfolk Academy
2006 – TJ Cyrus, Norfolk Academy
2005 – Jeremy Harris, coxswain
2004 – Marcus Reed, Hickory
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2003 – Ian Holder, Norfolk Academy
2002 – Charles Nweke, coxswain
2001 – Kyle Hartley, Kempsville
2000 – Travis Clarke, Cox
1999 – Chris Burgess, Kempsville
1998 – Rob Wright, First Colonial
1997 – Adam Schultz, Kempsville