“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.”
Dixon credited senior linemen Wilkins, Stephen Mickel and Gerald Turley with creating that hole.
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
Midway through No. 6 Briar Woods’s 45-0 win against Loudoun Valley on Friday, linebacker Matt Rolin asked his coach to change the Falcons’ defensive audibles.
“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.