Falcons fight on without Rolin; blocked extra point dooms Stonewall Jackson

November 19, 2012

Briar Woods star linebacker Matt Rolin is expected to undergo an MRI this week on his knee after sustaining an injury in the Falcons’ Virginia AA Region 2 Division 4 first-round win against Powhatan on Nov. 9. The senior missed last week’s 42-14 victory over Liberty and by Coach Charlie Pierce’s estimation, Rolin will miss this Friday’s Division 4 final against Loudoun County.

But even though Rolin’s absence creates a glaring defensive void, the undefeated Falcons have learned what it takes to adjust without their leader, who also missed three games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain.

According to Pierce, the key has been a balanced attack on both sides of the ball, riding a defense that’s given just up just 83 points in 12 games and an offense that’s averaging nearly 42 points per game. Last week against Liberty, junior quarterback Trace McSorley led the way offensively, totaling 220 yards and two scores through the air and on the ground. Meantime, Daryll Gadsden returned an interception for a touchdown to spark a defense that surrendered just 112 yards.

“We’ve been spreading the ball around well and letting our athletes make big plays,” Pierce said. “Keeping that up will be key for us going forward.”

This week brings a familiar foe in Loudoun County, which downed Tuscarora to reach its first region final since 1996. The Falcons shut out the Raiders, 45-0, in their regular season meeting.

South Carolina recruit Matt Rolin was on the sideline when Briar Woods cruised past Liberty and into a third straight AA Region II Division 4 final. (Richard A. Lipski/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Blocked extra point dooms Raiders

A lot of Washington area teams endured wrenching playoff losses over the weekend, perhaps none moreso than Stonewall Jackson in its 31-30 home defeat to Colonial Forge in the Virginia AAA Northwest Region Division 6 semifinals.

The Raiders scored with no time on the clock, capping an 80-yard, 61-second drive when junior quarterback Greg Stroman threw a four-yard touchdown to senior Reuben Osei. An extra point would send the game into overtime.

But on the attempt, a member of the kicking team froze, allowing a Colonial Forge player to fly through an inside lane untouched and block the kick and end the game.

“It went from elation to ‘What just happened?’” Stonewall Coach Mike Dougherty said. “Time just kind of stood still for about 10 seconds there. The kids on the field turned around and saw that it was blocked and it just looked like their batteries died. They just dropped to the ground like toys that were working and all the lights just went out of them.

“We practiced that 500 times this year and for some reason we created a gap and the kid ran right through it,” added Dougherty, whose team had kicked three extra points and a field goal prior to the blocked kick. “That’s just an awful way to lose. When I sit back and think about it, I’d rather lose by 30 than lose like that.”

Stroman accounted for about 350 offensive yards and Stonewall (9-2) posted its first winning season since 2004, which also was the last year the program had reached the playoffs. The Raiders won nine straight before losing to Woodbridge in the regular season finale and to Colonial Forge in the region semis. . . .

Despite a 14-13 loss to Mountain View in the Virginia AAA Northwest Region Division 5 semifinals, Potomac All-Met lineman Donta Wilkins has no complaints about his interesting senior season with the Panthers (7-4).

A quick synopsis: A preseason team trip to the Outer Banks, where the team slept in a high school gym and played tug-of-war on the beach; playing all 11 games away from home because of renovations; topping Cardinal District favorites No. 14 Hylton and Woodbridge to go unbeaten in the district; winning the last five regular season games; qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“If I had to give up 10 home games for a district championship,” Wilkins said, “I guess I’d do it all over again with no problem.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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