Weekend football report: Virginia
Northern Region report
Before the season, coaches hadn't picked either team to contend in a district traditionally dominated by Edison. But the Eagles (1-3, 1-1), who have a new coaching staff, are off to a slow start, leaving a void at the top.
"I think there is more parity in the district than people were envisioning," Mount Vernon Coach Barry Wells said. "The National District seems to be anybody's district at this point," he added.
Wells took over a Mount Vernon program that finished winless last fall but had won nine games the season before. He installed a run-based offense, challenged his players to recommit themselves to the weight room and pushed them to play with confidence.
Despite being outscored 120-65 this season, the Majors (2-2) have eked out wins over Edison and Stuart thanks to running backs Dennis Mensah and Emmanuel Tackie. On Friday, Stuart missed a 35-yard field goal late in the game, which preserved a 17-14 win for Mount Vernon.
Wells admits that he didn't expect his team to be tied for the district lead at this point, but is taking the early success in stride.
"We've been trying to keep things in perspective because we haven't played good football yet," he said. "We're not executing yet."
West Potomac's Henderson falls ill again
West Potomac Coach Eric Henderson, who suffered through medical problems during last year's trying 2-8 season which led to his short-lived resignation, spent Friday's game in the hospital after feeling sick that morning.
Though he still needs some more testing, Henderson said his symptoms indicated he had some heart issues. In his absence, assistant Chuck McCullough led the Wolverines (2-2, 1-0) in their 13-7 win over West Springfield (1-3, 0-1). West Potomac's defense held the Spartans' offense scoreless, the only touchdown coming on a late 60-yard interception return by senior Matt Barrett.
"Your head coach disappears without any explanation. The assistant coach steps in. That could have been the ultimate excuse not to win the game," said Henderson, who hopes to coach this week. "But the kids stepped up and found a way to win."