* RALLY CATS: Brentsville senior running back Greg Faith said his team's 18-14 home win over Bishop Ireton was important for more than just preserving the team's unbeaten record.
"In years past, we'd have laid down and thought, 'This is a loss,' " said Faith, one of 22 seniors on the Tigers' roster. "The team has a different attitude this year, and it's a good feeling."
The Tigers trailed 14-0 at halftime after Ireton had returned interceptions to set up two short scoring drives, the second touchdown coming with about five seconds left. The Brentsville coaches did not rant or rave; they just spelled out for the players what the situation was.
"They told the seniors that it was our chance to go 4-0," said Faith, who later completed a 30-yard halfback option pass to senior Justin Thomas during his team's second touchdown drive, "and that if we wanted to put our heads down we could, but that if we didn't we'd better get the other kids hyped up."
Junior quarterback Chris Jenkins, on fourth-and-six early in the third quarter, rolled to his left and worked his way into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. The kick failed. Early in the fourth period, Thomas scored on a six-yard run. The two-point conversion failed, so Brentsville still trailed 14-12.
The Tigers drove inside the 15-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. A sack by senior Alex Echevarria backed up the Cardinals, who eventually had to punt from their own end zone.
The Tigers took possession around the Ireton 40-yard line, with about three minutes to play and no timeouts remaining. They notched their final first down at the 2-yard line with 32 seconds left to set up Faith's score, which came with 10 ticks on the clock.
Senior Erik Croushorn led the Tigers with 14 carries for 97 yards. Three teammates each rushed for 40 yards or more.
* WIN, LOSS: For its win over Colonial Forge last week, Brentsville will not receive the 12 Virginia High School League power points awarded for beating a Virginia AAA team. Instead, the Tigers will receive the nine points awarded for a win over a AA team.
A VHSL spokeswoman had incorrectly said that the Tigers would receive AAA points for a win over Colonial Forge, a school with no seniors that played three varsity games and now is amid a seven-game junior varsity schedule.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Brentsville had the ball on the 2-yard line in the waning seconds Friday night against visiting Bishop Ireton and was out of timeouts. With time for probably just one play, the Tigers handed the ball to senior Greg Faith, who picked up a key block from senior Erik Croushorn and ran over a cornerback to score the decisive touchdown in an 18-14 win.
"I was just happy they stuck with me because I had fumbled in the first quarter," Faith said.
* WORTHY CHALLENGER: Hylton's 21-7 win over Osbourn Park gives Cardinal District coaches fresh material when dusting off their "on any given night, any team can beat another team" warnings.
Defending Virginia AAA Division 6 state champion Hylton, winner of 20 consecutive games and ranked No. 2 in the Washington area, was seriously challenged by the Yellow Jackets, who are 3-41 the past four-plus seasons and 0-8 lifetime against the Bulldogs.
Running more I-formation and less wing-T, Osbourn Park was able to control the ball to help keep the Hylton offense off the field while nursing a 7-0 lead until just before halftime. But that was not quite enough. The Bulldogs broke free for three long touchdowns, and their superior speed prevented the Yellow Jackets from rattling off long gains of their own.
"They hit home runs and we hit singles and doubles," said Osbourn Park Coach Mike Feldman, who was encouraged by his team's "fearless" performance, particularly that of 150-pound senior Joaquin Padillia, who rushed for 74 yards and made several tackles. "And we had to hit more singles and doubles than we did."
Those home runs were a 46-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Ahmad Brooks and 61- and 51-yard touchdown runs by junior D.J. Walton.
What most concerned Hylton Coach Bill Brown was the Bulldogs scrambling to get their special teams units onto the field in a timely manner at different points in the game.
"That's a lack of discipline," Brown said. "When you're in the middle of a season, you can't have that. It's not like we don't practice it, and Thursday is special teams run-through for us. And we do it before the game. There's no excuse."
Hylton senior quarterback Kenny Irby threw just his fourth interception in his last 18 games, and the culprit was a likely one--senior Devin McElfish, who has eight pickoffs in 15 outings.
* NO FAMILY FEUD: It turns out Feldman didn't get the experience of coaching against his son Drew, a Hylton receiver/defensive back. That's because Drew Feldman broke his nose in practice Thursday and was relegated to standing on the Bulldogs sideline in his jersey and street clothes.
Playing in the secondary, Feldman caught an elbow through his facemask during a non-tackling practice, prompting a trip to the emergency room. He experienced dizziness, and there was concern that he had suffered a mild concussion. But his father said he could be ready to play in the Bulldogs' game Friday at Stonewall Jackson.
* BUSTING OUT: Stafford sophomore quarterback Brad Hayes and North Stafford senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst are friends. When the topic of stats comes up during one of their chats, there is really no comparison--headed into their fourth games, Ashinhurst had thrown 107 passes and Hayes just 15.
But Hayes, despite attempting just five passes Friday night, did some catching up by throwing touchdowns to senior Steve Love and sophomore Derek King in a 42-15 win over James Wood.
Stafford had managed just two touchdowns in 12 quarters this season before Friday, when senior Dural Dawson aided the effort by scoring on a 71-yard run and 66-yard punt return.
"He's a gifted guy," Stafford Coach Roger Pierce said. "He really rises to the occasion with those types of plays."
* STRONG DEFENSE I: While the North Stafford offense has been busy putting up points--except for Friday in a 7-0 win over Brooke Point--the North Stafford defense has been busy not allowing any. But it is the offense that has gotten most of the attention.
"Our defense is underrated as far as the media is concerned, but within the team, the coaches know what we do," senior defensive tackle Lawrence Frierson said. "The way we look at it, we're an offensive team that plays good defense."
The No. 13 Wolverines have allowed just 20 points all season and have recorded shutouts against Liberty and Brooke Point. They stifled Brooke Point on three fourth-down plays inside the 20, including two inside the 5. Senior defensive end Jathan Ball had two sacks and sophomore Dante McKoy notched 11 tackles. Senior Kevin Newport made nine stops.
The North Stafford offense committed three turnovers, including two interceptions by sophomore Juan Parker on a night when Ashinhurst was not as sharp as usual and the field position not prime.
"They had a good scheme and our line had trouble picking up some stunts they threw at us," North Stafford Coach Chris Beatty said.
"And I didn't call a great game. But mainly we just weren't clicking offensively."
* STRONG DEFENSE II: Gar-Field senior linebacker Nick Nicholson said it was important for his defense to establish itself in the first series Friday night against Osbourn.
"We wanted to let them know we weren't playing with them," Nicholson said.
Not only did the Indians get that point across early, they also scored on their first play from scrimmage on their way to a 26-7 home win.
"We had to redeem ourselves from last week," said Nicholson, referring to a 14-6 loss to Annandale in which the Atoms scored two early touchdowns. "The offense did its job [Friday] night, we just had to do ours."
* CLOSE CALLS: The way Potomac senior running back Rico Lloyd was bundled up after his team's 13-7 win Friday night, you would have thought it was December in Green Bay and not September in Woodbridge.
It turns out Lloyd was not cold, he was just trying to keep the wind from blowing into his mouth and aggravating a sore tooth.
The first quarter must have seemed like a trip to the dentist, too. For violating unspecified team rules, Lloyd had to sit out the first period, except for punt returns. The repentant Lloyd wound up scoring both Potomac touchdowns, one on a 56-yard run.
With the Vikings driving late in the game, Lloyd figured he might need to score another touchdown to run the Panthers' winning streak to four in the Woodbridge series.
"I'm over here praying, 'Just give us the ball one more time,' " he said.
Call it the Lloyd's Prayer. Considering that Potomac's four games have all been one-touchdown affairs, there could be a lot of pleading to the heavens this fall.
"I think it's going to be that way all season long," Coach Keith King said in reference to playing tight games. "I don't think we have the ability to really blow somebody out because we're so small. And on the other hand, I think our defense has enough heart to keep us in the game."
* MISSING THE FUN: Annandale High School celebrated 46 years of football tradition Friday night, with team alumni congregating for the Atoms' 28-14 win over No. 3 West Potomac. But the fete had to go on without Stonewall Jackson Coach Jim Powell, a 1969 Annandale graduate whose team had a game of its own to play.
"I wish I could have been there," said Powell, who played free safety for the Atoms. "There's a lot of tradition there, and over the years all the guys keep in touch. It was kind of a big deal."
While Powell attended the school, the Atoms won their first of six state titles, in 1965, and tied for the crown in 1967. They followed with state championships in 1972, 1978, 1993 and 1994.
While the Annandale alumni were living it up, Stonewall was losing, 42-0, to Chantilly. The Raiders host Hylton next week.
Chantilly 42, Stonewall Jackson 0
Gar-Field 26, Osbourn 7
Hylton 21, Osbourn Park 7
Potomac 13, Woodbridge 7
North Stafford 7, Brooke Point 0
Stafford 42, James Wood 15
Brentsville 18, Ireton 14
Randolph-Macon 48, Quantico 14
Culpeper 74, Sherando 20
Stonewall-Mount Jackson 42, Clarke County 0
Spotsylvania 54, Madison County 28
Strasburg 20, Page County 7
George Mason at Quantico, 4
Hylton at Stonewall Jackson, 7:30
Potomac at Osbourn, 7:30
Osbourn Park at Woodbridge, 7:30
Gar-Field at Chantilly, 7:30
Brooke Point at Fauquier, 7:30
North Stafford at Culpeper, 7:30
Stafford at Sherando, 7:30
Strasburg at Manassas Park, 7:30
James Monroe at Brentsville, 7:30
Culpeper at Stafford, 7:30
Sherando at Brooke Point, 7:30
Manassas Park at Colonial Beach, 7:30
North Stafford at Osbourn Park, 1:30
Quantico at Christchurch, 3
Brentsville at Clarke County, 6
Stonewall Jackson at Osbourn, 7:30
Woodbridge at Hylton, 7:30
Gar-Field at Potomac, 7:30
Gar-Field at Stonewall Jackson, 7:30
Woodbridge at Osbourn, 7:30
Oakton at Hylton, 7:30
Osbourn Park at Potomac, 7;30
Stafford at Brooke Point, 7:30
North Stafford at Fauquier, 7:30
Manassas Park at Clarke County, 7:30
Brentsville at George Mason, 2
Quantico at Maret, 3:30
Potomac at Stonewall Jackson, 7:30
Osbourn at Osbourn Park, 7:30
Gar-Field at Hylton, 7:30
James Wood at Brooke Point, 7:30
Sherando at North Stafford, 7:30
Fauquier at Stafford, 7:30
Madison County at Manassas Park, 7:30
Strasburg at Brentsville, 7:30
Colonial Beach at Quantico, 1:30
BY THE NUMBERS
Points Quantico and Randolph-Macon have totaled in their games against each other the past three seasons. Randolph-Macon won Friday and in 1997 by 48-14 scores.
Points Stafford scored in its last eight games before Friday.
Points Stafford scored Friday against James Wood.
Times in 10 or so trips Hylton Coach Bill Brown has felt that one of his Potomac or Hylton teams played well at Osbourn Park.
Yards Hylton covered on its three scoring plays in a 21-7 win over the Yellow Jackets.