Players of the Week
Led by the linebacking corps of seniors Nick Nicholson and Robert Harding and sophomore Frank Brinson, the Gar-Field defense all but shut out GW-Danville in the 9-7 road win. The Eagles blocked a punt early in the first quarter to set up their lone touchdown.
WINDED WINNERS: Hylton's 19-15 win at Petersburg provided more than its share of breathless moments, most of which had nothing to do with the drama of the game. The humidity gassed several Bulldogs, prompting Coach Bill Brown to spell them with fresher, albeit less experienced players. "Last year we had more depth and were able to get a little more rest," he said. "At the end of this game we were pretty much hanging on. Our boys were looking at the clock hoping it would run out real soon."
One glaring exception was junior D.J. Walton, who played full time at halfback, safety and on kick returns. He also returned a fumble about 50 yards. "I don't know of anybody who had more running to do than him," Brown said. "He never said to me once that he needed to come out. His effort was just outstanding in every aspect."
Brown said the Bulldogs, off until a Sept. 9 home game against Maryland 3A state champion Friendly, will spend much of the next two weeks working on conditioning. The idle week also will give senior defensive back Chris Fields time to rest his injured ankle. He hurt it in the first quarter at the end of a 14-yard run, his lone carry, and did not return. Senior lineman John Brower and junior lineman Jason Conlon suffered hand injuries that are not believed to be serious.
Senior kicker Andy Wilfong made two of four field-goal attempts, connecting from 32 and 25 yards out. Senior Quintin Beltran returned the opening kickoff to around the 15-yard line. The Bulldogs soon reached the 1, but a penalty and offensive breakdown forced them to attempt a field goal, one of Wilfong's misses.
Junior fullbacks Jason Kaminski and Karibi DeDe combined for 63 yards on 10 carries, giving the Bulldogs hope that fullback will be a productive spot for them despite the possibility of not having injured senior Greg Kantz all season.
Despite the fact that the Bulldogs play teams from across the Washington area and beyond, the game at Petersburg marked Hylton's lone trip outside of Prince William County this regular season.
BIG KICK: Gar-Field, best known for its veteran offensive line, got a game-winning field goal Friday night from rookie kicker Scott Gvozdas, who booted a 46-yarder with about four minutes to play in a 9-7 victory at George Washington-Danville. The win made the 4 1/2-hour ride home seem a bit shorter. Senior Kevin Bosworth was the long snapper and senior Steward White the holder. "I didn't know it was that far until I'd made it," said Gvozdas, who has hit from 48 yards in practice.
Gvozdas, a center fielder and leadoff hitter on the baseball team, had not played football until this season. Two of his baseball coaches urged him to try out for kicker, a position his brother, Jason, played in the mid-1990s.
It was a long night for Gvozdas. He had his first career punt blocked to set up GW-Danville's lone score. He missed an extra point that was made into a longer kick for him because of an excessive celebration penalty. And he missed a 40-yard field goal in the second half before later connecting on the game-winner. "I'd let the team down on the first one," he said. "All I wanted was another chance, and I got one."
Gvozdas was not the only standout making his Gar-Field debut. Sophomore transfer Jamar Atkinson, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, rushed for 91 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown. "He's the biggest [back] we've had in a long time," said Coach Tony Labozzetta, whose team is idle next week.
BACK STEPS FORWARD: Osbourn, with a stable of mostly unproven running backs to choose from, might have found a keeper in junior fullback Belart LaRochelle, who in a 26-15 loss at King George rushed for 169 yards, almost all of them in the second half. "After reading I had seven yards rushing in the first half, I told the team if I didn't reach 100 yards they could yell at me because the blocking was there," LaRochelle said.
LaRochelle received some individual instruction on the sideline from senior Jon Latimer, who did not play. "He kept talking to me about what I should look for because he sees things I don't see," LaRochelle said.
Although disappointed by losing to a team that was 1-9 last season, the Eagles could take some solace in one statistic: They outscored King George in the second half. Osbourn was outscored in the second half of all seven losses in 1998.
COULDN'T CAPITALIZE: The Woodbridge defense forced four turnovers against Culpeper, including two interceptions by junior Charlton McDougal, but could capitalize on just one of the takeaways in a 21-20 home loss. The Vikings led 20-9 before giving up two touchdowns in the last five minutes.
McDougal's first interception gave Woodbridge the ball at the Culpeper 18. That possession ended with a missed field goal. A fumble recovery by senior Darryl Wilson set up a touchdown. Another Woodbridge fumble recovery gave the offense possession at its own 33; that series ended with a punt. McDougal's second pickoff gave the Vikings the ball at the 48. They fumbled it back on the next play.
"We feel like we were the better team. We just gave up too many last-second big plays," McDougal said.
Woodbridge plays at Robinson on Thursday night.
GRAND OPENING: In his first high school football game, Manassas Park junior running back Nick Bertrand scored touchdowns on two of the first four times he touched the ball against Quantico. Bertrand was academically ineligible to play football his first two seasons but showed his eagerness to play by scoring on runs of 32 and 27 yards in the first quarter of the Cougars' 54-6 victory.
"He wanted to play, and he did what he needed to do in the classroom to get out here, so he deserves credit," Coach Jeff Lloyd said. "He has two things you can't coach. One is vision and the other is the ability to stop on a dime and go the other way."
Bertrand scored his first touchdown on the Cougars' first play from scrimmage.
Bertrand wasn't the only Cougar making noise in his first game. Sophomore defensive back Jacob Pugh ran out in full uniform and pads during halftime to play the bass drum in the marching band.
"I didn't know he was out there until after he came back," Lloyd said. "I guess you could say he is versatile."
Special correspondent Will Kuhns contributed to this report.
By the Numbers
Team-high carries for Hylton quarterback Kenny Irby, who was continually flushed out of the pocket in the 19-15 win at Petersburg. He squeezed off just six passes, completing one.
Yards King George totaled on its four touchdown plays in a 26-15 win over Osbourn. The plays were runs of 62 and 69 yards, a 29-yard pass and a 65-yard interception return.
Plays in a scoring drive that ended in a field goal for Culpeper's first points against Woodbridge.
Plays in scoring drives that ended in touchdowns for Culpeper in the 21-20 win over Woodbridge. Those three scoring possessions covered 167 yards.
Opening night losses by Osbourn in the last nine years.
Yards gained on Quantico's longest play from scrimmage during the first quarter of its 54-6 loss to Manassas Park.
Culpeper 21, Woodbridge 20
Manassas Park 54, Quantico 6
Hylton 19, Petersburg 15
Gar-Field 9, GW-Danville 7
King George 26, Osbourn 15
Woodbridge at Robinson, 7:30
Stonewall Jackson at North Stafford, 7:30
Osbourn Park at Broad Run, 7:30
Fork Union at Potomac, 7:30
Brooke Point at Spotsylvania, 7:30
Stafford at James Monroe, 7:30
Luray at Manassas Park, 7:30
Page County at Brentsville, 7:30
Colonial Forge at Forestville (Md.), 1:30
Quantico at Massanutten Military, 2
"All I wanted was another chance, and I got one."
-- Gar-Field kicker Scott Gvozdas after hitting a 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the Indians a 9-7 win over GW-Danville. The junior had earlier missed a 40-yarder.
CAPTION: Manassas Park's Nick Bertrand gets past Quantico's Jerard Anderson (30) and Jeremy Maddy for one of his two touchdowns.