Change of plans suits Jones, South Lakes
By Matt Brooks, Brandon Parker and Preston Williams,
Entering this season, Rashaan Jones had plans of building on his successful junior campaign from the wide receiver position. Boy, was he wrong.
Three days before preseason camp, South Lakes Coach Marvin Wooten moved Jones from wide receiver to quarterback after the projected starter suddenly moved to Canada. Then, a few weeks ago, Wooten added another role to the playmaker’s plate – defensive back.
But for all the shifting that Jones has done this fall, he couldn’t be happier with where he’s ended up.
“I was fine with moving to quarterback because I’ve always been about what’s best for the team,” Jones said. “I was really excited to play defense; that’s the best part of football for me. There’s nothing better than making a big hit.”
The fruits of Jones’s sacrifice were on full display Friday when the senior totaled seven touchdowns in a 53-0 win against Marshall, as the Seahawks (3-6) snapped a three-game losing streak. Jones passed for 170 yards and three scores, rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns and returned one of his two interceptions for another score.
“I’ve seen some pretty dominating performance but never like that, where a player dominated all phases of the game,” Wooten said of Jones, who is a two-time All-Met in track. “Rashaan is one of the best athletes I’ve coached and it’s nice to see him blow up like he did.”
Believe it or not, though, Jones believes his big night can be topped. Only, it wouldn’t necessarily involve more trips to the end zone or better stats.
“There’s always room for improvement but I don’t really care what I do next week; I just want to get another win,” Jones said. “I have the most fun when we win, and with next week being senior night, I hope we can close things out right.”
Potomac (Va.) pulls off an upset
As is their custom, the Potomac (Va.) football players reviewed film of their upcoming opponent after school Friday before heading off for their game.
This week, though, the coaches showed a double feature.
Not only did the Panthers bone up on Hylton before boarding the bus, they watched footage from the game in 2000 when Potomac went to Hylton and snapped the Bulldogs’ 39-game winning streak.
The stakes were not quite so high this time, but the Panthers pulled out a 27-21 overtime victory to take over sole possession of first place in the Virginia AAA Cardinal District. Hylton had won 17 consecutive Cardinal games.
“Coach [Jerry] Roadcap showed us how big the crowd was [in 2000] and how it wrapped around the track,” said junior running back Torrey Dixon, who scored the overtime touchdown on a third-down run. “It was inspirational.”
Potomac defensive coordinator Keith King was the Panthers’ head coach in 2000 when the Panthers beat the Bulldogs at Hylton in front of an estimated 10,500. Hylton’s 39-game winning streak at the time was one shy of tying the state record. But Potomac also was unbeaten at the time of the teams’ regular season finales.
“We were saying that it would be a similar game,” Potomac All-Met lineman Donta Wilkins said. “A lot of people, both games for the district championship, both teams doing pretty good toward the end of the season. It motivated us to beat them.”
Hylton got the ball first in overtime and missed a field goal. For Potomac, Dixon had about a seven-yard run on first down, lost a few yards on second down and then scored.
Dixon acknowledges that he has a tendency to out-run his blockers and that he had done so often Friday. On that final play, he did not.
“On [the winning] play, I did that and something told me to slow down,” Dixon said, “and as soon as I slowed down and let them catch up to block, the hole opened up in the seam and I hit it as hard as I could.”
Potomac (6-3, 5-0), which has played all of its games on the road this season because of field renovations, has won four straight and this week plays at Forest Park (4-5, 3-2). The Panthers have secured a Division 5 Northwest Region playoff berth for the first time since 2007. If they host a playoff game, it will be played at Freedom-Woodbridge.
Briar Woods posts second straight shutout
“Okay,” Coach Charlie Pierce replied. “What do you want to change to?”
Rolin made a successful sales pitch and on the second play of Loudoun Valley’s next offensive series, the senior South Carolina recruit shifted into the check play and sacked the quarterback for a seven-yard loss.
The Falcons (9-0) held the Vikings (4-5) to minus-10 yards of total offense in posting their second consecutive shutout. In their seven games against Virginia AA Dulles District opponents, they have conceded 33 points combined. Pierce continues to expand the playbook, and his defense continues to improve each week.
“With this group of guys now, with their intelligence and their athletic ability, it’s a fun thing to give them a package and give them checks and kind of let them figure things out,” Pierce said. “And it’s kind of neat because I let them be part of the loop.”
Pierce’s defenses have evolved over the years from units that focused almost exclusively on run-stopping to the more sophisticated, multiple-look schemes the Falcons now run.
With a number of new starters joining Rolin and fellow holdovers Cam Serigne, Nick Merletti, Trei Germany and Mike Barta this fall, Pierce kept things basic for the first two weeks of the season. But after watching the offense light up the scoreboard with a balanced attack and varied play-calling, he decided to get creative.
“I saw what they were doing and asked the defensive players, ‘Why can’t we be that dynamic, too?’” Pierce said. “We’re flexible on a lot of different things now, and in this last part of the season, we’ve really picked it up.”
The Falcons are allowing 35 rushing yards and 113 total yards per game, have forced 19 turnovers and own a 63-minute advantage in total time of possession this season. If they can limit Loudoun County’s potent spread offense in Friday night’s regular season finale, the Falcons will also have their third straight district title.
Yorktown aims for second straight 10-0 season
Bruce Hanson, coach at Yorktown since 1985, said this might be the fewest two-way players he’s used during his tenure there.
Linebacker Tyler Donnelly recorded 10 tackles in each of the shutout victories. That position is a strength, with Bobby Fottrell, John Yoest and Alex Rockelli collaborating with Donnelly. All are seniors.
The Patriots are aiming for a second straight 10-0 season. They play at Washington-Lee (5-4) on Friday.
Stewart, who has rushed for 1,189 yards on 120 carries, now has offers from North Carolina and Old Dominion as well as Virginia and Maryland. He has attended games this fall at Ohio State, Maryland and Virginia.
Stone Bridge extends streak
With Stone Bridge’s 42-0 shutout of Madison Friday, the No. 2 Bulldogs secured their eighth straight AAA Liberty District title. In that span, Stone Bridge (9-0) has gone 54-1 in district competition, with the lone loss coming to Madison in 2009.
So what’s the secret behind Coach Mickey Thompson’s dominant run with his team?
“I don’t know. . . luck, I guess,” Thompson said with a laugh.
In addition to a bit of good fortune, Thompson has ensured the development of his program and players by tasking himself and his varsity staff as coaches for the freshman and junior varsity teams. This unified message and workout regimen has helped churn out talented players like current senior defensive lineman and Alabama recruit Jonathan Allen, a two-time All-Met.
Fairfax County bans baby powder celebrations
Friday marked the first slate of Fairfax County football games in which baby powder was banned from stadiums. The substance had become popular during the past year among students, who often threw the powder in the air in celebration before games or after touchdowns.
Due to the potential hazards, such as breathing in the heavy clouds of powder and the slippery conditions created in the bleachers, athletic directors and officials around the region decided to implement the new rule last week, according to Centreville Director of Student Activities Jimmy Sanabria.
Other forms of celebration — such as the silly string, signs and toilet tissue that showed up in student sections last week — are still allowed.
Forest Park defense improves
Forest Park is on pace to give up its fewest points since 2002. The defense preserved a 21-19 win over Woodbridge on Friday when senior Cephus Reddick deflected what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion with a little more than a minute left and senior Mike Farry intercepted it.
The Bruins have given up at least 213 points every season since 2003. This season through nine games they have allowed 156 points. Second-year Coach David Coccoli took over the defense about midway through last season.
“We run to the ball,” Coccoli said. “Running to the ball corrects mistakes if someone else makes one.”
The Bruins, who had lost nine straight to Woodbridge, got a defensive touchdown Friday when senior Kevin Norcutt returned what was ruled a catch and fumble for a score.
The unit was playing without junior linebacker William Rush, the team’s leading tackler, who was out with a concussion. Senior Jonathon Okafor has blossomed his senior season, with 15 sacks. He also caught a touchdown pass against Woodbridge.
Forest Park junior defensive back Mustaqeem Williams, an All-Met sprinter and one of the area’s most explosive kick returners, is no longer on the team. Coccoli declined to disclose the reason.
A win this week against Potomac would give the Bruins a 5-5 record, tying for the best in the 12-year history of the program. Forest Park has four- and five-point losses this season.
Around the Northwest Region
No. 15 Stonewall Jackson (9-0) claimed its first Virginia AAA Cedar Run District title since 2004 with a 28-14 win over Broad Run. The Raiders can post an unbeaten regular season with a win Friday at Woodbridge (5-4), which has dropped two straight.
Osbourn Park senior Denathan Dukes completed 18 of 28 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-30 win over Gar-Field. Junior Quintin Reynolds and sophomore Lamar Hogan had two touchdown catches each.
After a 21-14 overtime loss to North Stafford, three-time-defending Northwest Region Division 6 champion Battlefield (6-3) has dropped three regular season games for the first time since 2006, their second varsity season.