Early in the third quarter Thursday night, Lake Braddock led Jefferson, 21-0, and the Colonials' modest two-game winning streak and third best start in the school's 19-year history was in serious jeopardy. Then something uncharacteristic of a Jefferson team happened. They rallied and won.
Quarterback Mark Salisbury threw three touchdown passes, the last one going to sophomore Kervin Dennis in the final two minutes, to help the Colonials pull out a thrilling 29-28 victory.
"I don't think the school has had a more exciting victory," said Coach Olen Faulk, who has seen three consecutive 4-6 seasons. "For a team that's been better than .500 three times, that's quite a win for us. We've got a good group of seniors and have started coming together."
Two large reasons for the Colonials' 3-0 mark are Salisbury and wide receiver Steve Pitt.
"With them out there, we never felt we were out of the game even though we trailed, 21-0," Faulk said. "Pitt is an outstanding receiver and throwing is our strength. We wanted to be a 50-50 team (50 per cent run, 50 per cent pass) but we've had to throw more. We don't mind throwing."
Salisbury has completed 32 of 68 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns and Pitt has caught 16 for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Faulk has to be pleased with his team's weekly improvement in poise. The Colonials committed 10 penalties the first game and seven the next, but was called for only one five-yard penalty against the Bruins. Jefferson also had seven fumbles in the its first two games but lost the ball only once via of a fumble against Lake Braddock. The defense had allowed a total of 275 yards before running into a red-hot Chip Koscielniak, who threw for close to 300 yards in a losing cause.
"He really threw the ball well against us," Faulk said. "And, ironically we went into the game feeling we could shut out Braddock. And what happens? The game turns into a shootout."
Faulk is hoping this winning trend can continue, at least one more week.
"The past three years, Fairfax has beaten us in our fourth game of the year," he said. "They always play us tough. But everyone plays tough against a team that has had only a couple winning seasons in 20 years."
Tyrone Jackson's football career couldn't have gotten off to a better start. Playing in his first varsity game, the 5-foot-7, 150 pound St. Stephen's freshman ran the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown to help the defending IAC champions win their season debut, 35-12 over Loudoun Valley last week.
"It's very rare we start a freshman here," said longtime Coach Al Thompson. "And we're starting two (DE Orson Williams is the other). What Tyrone did was an amazing accomplishment. I didn't want to bring him along too fast but it looks like he has a real outstanding future ahead of him. It's something he'll never forget. Neither will I."
Jackson obviously liked the feeling of crossing the goal line; the quick tailback scored two other touchdowns on runs of nine and 34 yards.
Top individual performances: Fauquier's David Marshall rushed for 205 yards, one run covering 95 yards, to lead his team to a 21-3 victory at James Wood; Robinson's Chris Warren rushed for two touchdowns and returned a punt for another score in a 27-13 victory over South Lakes; Jefferson's Mark Salisbury passed for 255 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-28 victory over Lake Braddock; Park View's Chris Frye with 76 yards and a touchdown in a 16-0 upset over Osbourn; George Mason's John Huber with four completions for 120 yards and 57 yards rushing and a touchdown in a 21-19 victory over Osbourn.