Not surprisingly, he feels like he’s in a bit of a groove.
“I just watch a lot of film and it shows their strengths and weaknesses and I just try to attack weaknesses when and where I can,” said Swingle, who audibles on an estimated 30 percent of the plays the No. 14 Bobcats run.
Swingle and Battlefield Coach Mark Cox, a former Annandale quarterback, share a nuanced understanding of how they think the offense should operate in a given week, based on their film observations and conversations in the days preceding a game.
“It’s real nice because Coach Cox and I think very much alike with play calling,” Swingle said. “So once I come up [to the line] and see something, I know what he’s thinking and I change it to what it needs to be changed to. I like having that freedom because it gets us out of holes.”
Swingle also feels a connection with his top receivers, seniors Trent Saflin and Nick Newman. Saflin caught two touchdown passes Friday in a 33-14 win over Potomac (Va.). The first one, a 16-yarder, was an audible at the line.
Swingle, who could play football or lacrosse in college, is awaiting his first scholarship offer. He plans to attend football games this fall at Campbell, Penn, Bucknell and Lafayette, among others.
Cox said this preseason that if this were, say, 10 years ago, Swingle would have offers. But because so many schools are looking for dual-threat quarterbacks, Swingle gets overlooked because he is more of a dropback passer.
Battlefield (3-1) is idle this week. The Bobcats next play in a compelling matchup at Stonewall Jackson (3-0) on Sept. 28.
Hylton went unbeaten the past two regular seasons and lost in the Northwest Region playoffs earlier than the Bulldogs thought they should have.
So might the 23-13 upset nondistrict loss to Osbourn on Friday ultimately be beneficial?
“It can, because I think we’ll come down to Earth and become more of a humble team and a hungry team and I think that can make us a lot better,” Hylton junior quarterback Travon McMillian said. “We didn’t go out there and execute. We just didn’t get things done. We just have to continue our journey to try to get better.”
The 13th-ranked Bulldogs had won 23 consecutive regular season games.
The win solidified Osbourn as a continued threat in the Cedar Run District, a shaky notion after the Eagles’ 39-7 loss to Mountain View on Aug. 31 and 17-13 win over Forest Park (1-3) the following week.
But when a defensive stalemate forced overtime, the Panthers took full advantage of a few extra chances to put points on the board and pulled out a much-needed 23-20 win in triple overtime.
After the two teams traded field goals in the first extra period, Michael Fischetti hit Kareen Watson on the first play of the second overtime. The Pride scored on their first play to force a third overtime, but on the ensuing series, the Panthers’ defense stepped up and held Heritage to a field goal.
Chris Smith took the next snap 10 yards for the winning touchdown and Potomac Falls’s first victory of the season.
“It was a big lift for our players — it kind of took a load off their shoulders,” Panthers’ Coach Mike Gims said. “They played very, very hard, and even though we turned it over four times, the defense responded each time.”
Senior middle linebacker Zach Causey led the effort and defensive linemen Andre Braxton, Sean Brown and Wanya Allen — playing his first game at defensive end — limited Heritage sophomore quarterback Michael Galvan to his lowest yardage total and completion percentage of the season.
“Playing with persistence has been a big theme for us,” Gims, now in his third year, said. “Our kids have just learned how to battle.”
But in order to battle with the top teams in the district, the Panthers will need to cut down on their turnovers. The four interceptions Friday prevented the offense from finding any type of rhythm and over their first few weeks, the team is coughing up the ball far too much.
Friday’s matchup with No. 10 Briar Woods — which extended its area-best winning streak to 18 with a 41-7 win over Dominion — will provide another stiff test. The Falcons have already intercepted seven passes this season and forced one fumble. . . .
The class divide in the Virginia AA Dulles District widened on Friday as the top four teams in the league standings — Briar Woods, Woodgrove, Loudoun County and Tuscarora — remained unbeaten and ahead of the pack. Those four teams are a combined 14-0 on the season while Potomac Falls, Loudoun Valley, Dominion, Heritage and Park View have just four total wins between them.
But over the next few weeks, the teams at the top will go head-to-head, which could create weekly shake-ups atop the league standings. Leesburg rivals Loudoun County (3-0) and Tuscarora (3-0) kick off the battles of the unbeatens on Friday night.