at Fauquier (1-0), 7:30
Fauquier opened its season with a 17-14 victory over Lafayette, the team that ended Liberty's season in the Group AA Division 4 semifinals in 1998. The Falcons are a better team than the one that finished 3-7 and lost twice to Liberty last season. The Eagles' inexperienced defense (only two returning starters) will try to contain Fauquier's running game, which was effective against the Rams. Fauquier junior running back George Minor and senior fullback Eric Bailey rushed for a combined 181 yards and junior quarterback Michael Stuart ran for two touchdowns against Lafayette.
The Fauquier defense, meanwhile, will have to contend with the Eagles' big offensive line. Liberty has a new starting quarterback, 6-foot-3, 224-pound junior Kurt Iverson, and one of the area's top wide receivers in junior Matt Childress.
This is the only meeting of the year for the Fauquier County rivals, as Fauquier has moved up to the Group AAA Commonwealth District and Liberty has stayed in AA Northwestern District.
Loudoun Valley (0-0)
at Loudoun County (1-0), 7:30
Loudoun County won its season opener, against Jefferson County, on the strength of Cary Greenfield's leg and a dominating performance by the defense. The Raiders held the Cougars to just 18 yards rushing (on 18 carries) and forced six turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles). "Right now, our run defense is the best thing we've got going," Loudoun County Coach Pat McManus said.
That has Loudoun Valley Coach Mike Barton concerned; the Vikings depend on the running game, led by senior Ben Cross. Loudoun Valley will be without two starters on the offensive line because of injury (senior Steve Dellinger has a severely sprained ankle, and senior James Murray has an injured shin).
Clarke County (0-0)
at Potomac Falls (0-0), 7:30
Potomac Falls, which spent the past two seasons playing some of the biggest schools in Virginia while in the Group AAA Concorde District, faces a Group A team in its season opener. That doesn't mean that the Panthers are taking Clarke County lightly, however. "They're well-coached, and they have nothing to lose playing us," Potomac Falls Coach Wes Driskill said. "At the same time, we've got an opportunity here. Nothing against Clarke County, but we have gone too far [since 1997, when the Panthers won only one game, by forfeit] to take a step back now."
The game will give Driskill another chance to determine the Panthers' top quarterback. Senior Tommy Edwards has been the starter since the school opened in 1997 and was named honorable mention all-Concorde District last year, but he has been pushed throughout the preseason by junior Jason Treon. Edwards will start against Clarke County, but Treon, who also plays defensive back, will get some snaps.
Osbourn Park (0-0)
at Broad Run (0-0), 7:30
Osbourn Park, which won only one game in 1998, features 21 seniors. The Spartans, meanwhile, have five--and Coach Ken Belchik wants his team to focus the fundamentals. "Offensively, I'd like to see us execute--block the right people, do our assignments," Belchik said. "Defensively, we need to play our techniques and play tough. The players are ready to go out and do that."