“My coaches wanted to rest me for the playoffs,” said Pierson-El, who has scored 25 touchdowns this season. “At first, it was a little tough because I haven’t been out for a game when it’s been physically possible to play.”
Pierson-El not playing in a 13-10 loss to T.C. Williams gave him more time to heal and gave the Wolverines (6-4) a chance to see how they could play without him. Pierson-El got hurt in the first half at West Springfield the previous week and the Wolverines struggled with him sidelined, managing only a field goal in the second half of that game.
T.C. (5-5) closed the season with four consecutive wins, two over playoff teams West Springfield and West Potomac. The Titans allowed only 24 points during that stretch but a Week 6 loss to W.T. Woodson (2-8) kept them out of the playoffs.
Six-foot-5, 255-pound T.C. junior defensive tackle Jeremiah Clarke finished the season with 14 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries. Senior receiver Landon Moss had 50 catches this season and 83 for his career, both school records, Coach Dennis Randolph said.
Falls Church wins “Bell Game”
Third-year Falls Church Coach Said Aziz knows all about the annual season-ending “Bell Game” with rival Stuart and had coached in a couple of them before Friday.
But it was not until he won the game that he realized just how much it means to so many followers and alumni of the schools.
“You don’t know how special it is until you actually bring it back,” Aziz said. “I’ve gotten e-mails and texts from former players telling me good job for bringing back the bell, and from people I haven’t even coached. It’s a big, big deal. It’s cool.”
The bell rode home with the Jaguars after their 49-20 win and will be placed back in the trophy case, where it was nestled for five consecutive seasons before Stuart won the game in 2010 and 2011.
Perhaps more important, the win over Stuart (2-8) enabled Falls Church (3-7) to end the season on an upbeat note. The Jaguars broke open a one-point game with a four-touchdown fourth quarter: a 77-yard kickoff return by junior Jordan Coneys, a 43-yard double pass from sophomore Will Mejia to junior John Grey, a 35-yard interception return by Mejia and a 65-yard run by junior Dieon Dupont.
Falls Church, 0-10 in 2011 with an extremely young team, played only a handful of seniors this year. They will be a more veteran team next season, and even with so many sophomores playing up on the varsity, the Jaguars’ junior varsity team went 5-2.
The Bell Game victory likely will provide a positive reference point throughout the offseason.
“We had a lot of student body at the game, our band at the game,” Aziz said. “It was great for our entire school. We need something big just to build momentum, not only for football, but for the school going into the winter sports. Put a little buzz in the air. I’m just happy that everybody’s happy.”