The moment that Potomac Falls High School juniors Jason Treon and Zack Veselick had been waiting for since the second grade came in the fourth quarter of the Panthers' 29-13 loss to visiting South Lakes on Friday night.
Treon, the quarterback, lofted a pass to Veselick, his favorite wide receiver, on the right side. The 6-foot Veselick jumped to grab the underthrown pass, and then ran into the end zone to complete the 33-yard touchdown--a varsity first for both players.
The only thing that dampened the moment was the realization that the touchdown was not enough for the Panthers (1-1) to avoid their first loss of the season.
"I feel a little bit good about the game," Treon said. "I'm upset we lost, because this game could've been a big step for us. I could've done better; I could've made better reads."
This was a nondistrict game; Potomac Falls and South Lakes (2-0) were members of the Group AAA Concorde District for the past two years, but Potomac Falls has since moved down to the Group AA Northwestern District.
Since the end of the preseason, Potomac Falls Coach Wes Driskill has said that senior Tommy Edwards, a starter since his sophomore year, and Treon, last year's junior varsity starter, were fighting for the starting varsity quarterback job. Edwards and Treon split time at quarterback in the Panthers' 42-0 season opening win over Clarke County, and Edwards started Friday's game.
On the Panthers' first offensive series, Edwards, who was under pressure from the South Lakes defense, was intercepted by Anthony Clavijo, who returned the ball 27 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 Seahawks lead. Treon replaced Edwards on the next offensive series; Edwards moved to safety and nearly intercepted a pass and made several tackles on defense.
"I was disappointed because Tommy made a poor decision" that led to the interception, Driskill said. "We knew that we were going to give Jason a chance to play quarterback, and that was an opportunity [to make the change]. . . . I don't know [who the starter will be next week against Jefferson County]. Tommy can play defense. It's a good possibility" that Treon will start.
Treon directed the Panthers to a touchdown on his first offensive series. He completed the first two passes he threw--an 11-yarder to Veselick and a 14-yarder to Thomas McIntosh. Potomac Falls senior Doug Tipsword, a standout hurdler on the track team, finished the seven-play, 96-yard drive with a 61-yard touchdown run in which he broke a tackle and then outran the South Lakes secondary.
Potomac Falls had an opportunity to cut into the Seahawks' 26-7 lead early in the third quarter, but the Panthers were stopped on a fourth-and-goal situation on the four-yard line when Treon was sacked by Adam Temple. The Panthers fumbled and lost the ball on their next two possessions.
Treon ended up completing 10 of 20 passes for 155 yards. His favorite target was Veselick, who caught seven passes for 95 yards. The two juniors have been friends since the second grade; they live in the same neighborhood and have spent the past 10 years playing football together. Last year, both played on the junior varsity "and basically every pass I threw went to him," said Treon.
"It's just instinct," Treon said of the bond he has with Veselick. "I can't throw to any other receiver like I do to Zack. [On the touchdown], I underthrew it a little bit but Zack knew to come back. I knew he had the instincts to make the catch.
"We always talked about [playing together on the varsity], but we weren't sure if we'd get a chance," Treon said. "Whenever we watched games, we'd say how much we wanted to be out there, and how that would be us in a couple of years."
South Lakes (2-0) 14 12 3 0--29
Potomac Falls (1-1) 7 0 0 6--13
SL--Hellenga 7 pass from Royal (Luina kick)
SL--Clavijo 27 INT return (Luina kick)
PF--Tipsword 61 run (Kuehn kick)
SL--Hill 25 pass from Hellenga (kick failed)
SL--McGhee 6 run (pass failed)
SL--Luina 36 FG
PF--Veselick 33 pass from Treon (kick blocked)
LEADING RUSHERS--South Lakes: McGhee 19-77, Randolph 17-63; Potomac Falls: Lutman 10-35, Weller 7-21.
LEADING PASSERS--South Lakes: Royal 6-9-1 59, Hellenga 5-7-0 95; Potomac Falls: Treon 10-20-0 155, Edwards 0-1-1 0.
LEADING RECEIVERS--South Lakes: Hill 3-52, Hellenga 3-22; Potomac Falls: Veselick 7-95, Wilson 2-46.
CAPTION: Potomac Falls quarterback Jason Treon, above, replaced starter Tommy Edwards and led two scoring drives. The second ended in his first varsity scoring pass, to longtime friend Zack Veselick.