“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.”
Hayfield edges Edison in shootout
Is Edison’s offense that powerful, or did having only two days to prepare (because of the heavy storm canceling school for two days last week) strap Hayfield, which held on for a 47-45 win over the Eagles?
The Hawks had allowed no more than 24 points in any of the previous eight games, three of them against playoff teams.
“Maybe it was not having as much pregame preparation, but they made plays and we made plays and it's a neighborhood rivalry,” Hayfield Coach Roy Hill said. “They had a lot of explosive plays that we’ve not given up all year. Playing against that kind of competition brings out the best in both teams.”
Offensively, anyway. Both teams rolled up up lofty totals, thanks in part to turnovers. One Hayfield interception early resulted in a strip and a fumble that gave Edison the ball right back.
Edison (5-5) could not recover an onside kick late in the game and Hayfield (7-3) drove to the goal line and ran out the clock. Both teams are in the Division 5 playoffs that start this week: Hayfield hosts Langley (6-4) while Edison travels to top-seeded Stone Bridge (10-0).
Hayfield junior Osman Kargbo ran for 160 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries and also had four catches for 43 yards and another score. Senior David Ackah carried 27 times for 205 yards and a touchdown. In all, the Hawks (7-3) gained 434 yards on 59 carries.
Hayfield’s three losses were to playoff qualifiers Madison (8-2), Yorktown (10-0) and Centreville (7-3), all by a touchdown or less. Four of Edison’s five losses were to playoff teams.
Yorktown, Westfield finish regular season unbeaten
Yorktown became only the fourth Northern Region program in the past 20 years to post back-to-back 10-0 regular seasons when it knocked off Washington-Lee, 35-7, on Friday, and in turn the Patriots won their 17th consecutive unofficial Arlington County championship.
“To do that is quite an accomplishment,” Yorktown Coach Bruce Hanson said of finishing 10-0 in successive seasons. “I just want our kids to realize that. There are a number of games that we were lucky to win.”
The Patriots beat Hayfield and Langley late in those games, and struggled at times against Bowie. So Hanson thinks his team has handled some adverse situations, unlike last year’s unbeaten team that did not win a game by fewer than 14 points.
“Those [Hayfield and Langley games] we had to find ways to win, and you need that,” Hanson said.
The Patriots played most of the game against Washington-Lee without senior running back-defensive back Arturo Brown, who sustained a concussion while making a tackle. His status has not been determined for the first-round Northern Region Division 5 playoff game against Jefferson (6-4).
Junior M.J. Stewart scored on a catch, run and punt return. . . .
For the fourth time in the 12-year history of the football program, Westfield (10-0) finished the regular season undefeated after beating Herndon 41
-27 last Friday. Westfield’s first two perfect seasons yielded state titles in 2003 and 2007 while last year’s flawless record ended with an overtime loss to Centreville in the Northern Region Division 6 final.
The top-seeded Bulldogs enter this year’s postseason having played and beaten every team in the Northern Region Division 6 bracket, expect one – West Springfield, which is Westfield’s first-round opponent this Friday.
Jefferson looks for first playoff win
Following Jefferson’s 36-0 rout of South Lakes on Friday, excited yells of “playoffs” could be heard from the Colonials’ locker room. The celebration was a justified one, considering the Colonials have made the postseason only twice since 1985. But now, Jefferson must move on to an even tougher task – winning a playoff game.
According to Colonials Coach Ken Kincaid, Jefferson is the only Fairfax County school to have never won a football playoff game, and in order to do, Jefferson must knock off a Yorktown squad that has yet to lose this season.
“With our background as a magnet school, the fact that we made the playoffs helps us earn respect in a world other than academics, and it’s great when we can bring success in both fields together,” Kincaid said. “Hopefully, we can continue that success and join the other Fairfax County schools with a playoff win, but in the end, making the playoffs is a blessing for us.”
Roscoe sparks Gar-Field past Freedom-Woodbridge
With his team tied with Freedom-Woodbridge early in the fourth quarter Friday, Gar-Field senior linebacker Xavier Roscoe geared up for another defensive series.
“Go out there and make a memory,” some coaches and teammates urged him.
It was Roscoe’s last high school game, and final home game, and his Indians were tied with a team that has totaled two wins the past four seasons.
So there was a lot to play for, even if the postseason was not one of them.
On that defensive series, Freedom fumbled on a sweep and Roscoe returned it 90 yards for a touchdown that proved to be the decisive points in a 22-15 victory for Gar-Field (3-7).
“It made my season,” Roscoe said. “Even though we weren’t doing too good this year, it’s something I’ll remember.”
Roscoe’s football career is not over. He has narrowed his college choices to Harvard, William & Mary and James Madison. He plans to take official visits to all three, at Harvard the first weekend in December, at William and Mary the weekend after that and at JMU in January.
Roscoe, who plans to study computer science, attended camp at Harvard. He said that many classmates would like him to choose the Ivy League.
“When I say ‘Harvard,’ their eyes raise up,” Roscoe said. “It’s mostly from students when they ask me what offers I have. They say, ‘Why don’t you go there?’ My mom [Renee Brown] is comfortable with all three schools. She said it’s my choice and she’ll be proud of me wherever I go.”
Richmond and Campbell are among the suitors for Gar-Field senior running back Shakeem Copeland, who after returning from injury racked up 799 yards and seven touchdowns in his last four games.