Gar-Field (5-1, 2-0)
at Stonewall (2-4, 1-1)
Physically, the Gar-Field players will be in Manassas. Psychologically, some might be drifting toward Hylton. The Indians will have their long-awaited showdown with the No. 2 Bulldogs next week in a game that could pit the only two unbeaten teams in the Cardinal District.
Gar-Field had a close call Saturday night in a 20-13 overtime win at Potomac. The Indians weathered three interceptions, a fumble, a blocked punt, a missed extra point and an uncovered kickoff that squibbed all the way to the 27-yard line.
But the defense continually bailed them out and also blocked extra point and field goal attempts. Including the overtime, Potomac began eight of 11 possessions in Gar-Field territory.
The Indians, with four chances to score from the 10-yard line in the extra period, benefited from a defensive offsides penalty that gave them four downs from the 5. Two plays later, junior Greg Johnson scored from one yard. Senior Larry Atkinson accounted for the touchdowns in regulation on runs of 25 and 71 yards.
"We didn't know if he was fast enough to run away from [Potomac defenders], but he did," said Gar-Field Coach Tony Labozzetta, who added that it was his team's first overtime game since 1992.
Although sophomore quarterback Ryan Smith threw three interceptions, two of which led to Potomac scores, that statistic was a bit misleading. On the first pickoff, Smith was hit as he threw. The third came on a diving grab in the end zone with 26 seconds left in regulation.
Stonewall Jackson kept with tradition last week by beating Osbourn, 19-13, on two touchdown runs by junior Antwoin Saunders. The schools have met twice each regular season for the past four years, and each time the team that has won the first meeting has dropped the second game. Stonewall lost, 19-0, to Osbourn last month.
Gar-Field last season blanked Stonewall, 27-0, for its first win in the series since 1993. The Indians, led by linebacker Nick Nicholson's 18 tackles, did not allow Stonewall to penetrate their 39-yard line.
Woodbridge (2-5, 1-2)
at Osbourn (1-5, 0-3)
Woodbridge did something last week no Cardinal District team had done either of the past two seasons--take a lead on Hylton. Junior George Preston returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown Saturday night, but the Vikings never flirted with the end zone thereafter in their 31-6 loss to the Bulldogs.
Woodbridge was the last team to beat Hylton, in Week 8 of the 1997 season.
The Vikings scored on their first possession against Osbourn last year, too, but lost, 15-13. The decisive points turned out to be a 38-yard field goal by Sean McLaughlin in the second quarter.
The last three games in the Woodbridge-Osbourn series have been decided by six points or fewer. Osbourn's 15 points last year were the most for either team in those three games.
Osbourn Park (1-5, 0-2)
at Potomac (3-3, 2-1)
Potomac has won three of the past four games in the series and has shut out the Yellow Jackets the past two seasons. The Panthers recorded eight sacks in a 15-0 victory last year.
After his team's 20-13 overtime loss to Gar-Field Saturday, Potomac Coach Keith King voiced concern about how his team would respond to such a disappointing defeat, particularly while preparing this week for its homecoming game.
Monday's practice helped alleviate those concerns.
"They were enthusiastic," King said. "They know they have to win the next four games to have any chance to make the playoffs. Our new theme is 'stay focused.' "
King said he does not expect 400-yard rusher Rico Lloyd to be able to play against Osbourn Park because of his lingering ankle injury. Lloyd sat out the Gar-Field game, though the active senior logged a lot of yards working the sideline and shouting encouragement to his teammates.
The Panthers also are likely to play this week without junior linebacker Derrick Dent, the defense's emotional leader. Dent repeatedly this season has been troubled by "stingers"--muscle spasms around a nerve in his neck that result in a numbness or a burning sensation in his arms.
Dent experienced another one in the Gar-Field game, and it lasted longer than usual. Dent will visit a neurologist this week.
Against Gar-Field, the Panthers could not help but think the overtime was avoidable. Dent, sophomore Tony Blackwell and senior Tyrus Davis intercepted passes. Junior Ryan Price blocked a punt and recovered a fumble. Sophomore Shawn Woodson recovered a squibbed kickoff.
When the Indians scored in the third quarter, it snapped a string of eight straight quarters in which Potomac's defense had not allowed a point.
But Potomac's offense couldn't capitalize on the opportunities. The Panthers took possession eight times in Gar-Field territory--the 44, the 40, the 27, the 32, the 34, the 21, the 19 and the 10 (overtime)--but scored just twice.
Osbourn Park also squandered opportunities last week in a 33-20 homecoming loss to North Stafford, settling for a field goal after taking possession at the Wolverines 20 and booting another three-pointer after procedure penalties took away their first and goal at the 2 and third and goal at the 1. Later in the first half, the Yellow Jackets fumbled on first down at the North Stafford 5.
Osbourn Park junior quarterback Andy Friend, who had entered the game in place of senior Frankie Hogan (pinched nerve in neck) sparked the offense to two second-half touchdowns.
"The toughest job in high school is being the number two quarterback," Yellow Jackets Coach Mike Feldman said. "We've been having discussions about that. . . . He finally understood I think today that you have to be ready when your number's called, and you have to go in there and execute like the number one guy. . . . I expect that. We have to get youngsters to expect that of themselves."
The Osbourn Park kicking game flourished. Junior Mike Kibble connected on field goals from 37 and 23 yards, and junior Jimi Hooper booted two 47-yard punts and a 51-yarder. Two of the kicks were downed at the 2-yard line. Carries by senior fullback Darryl Brown yielded three third-down conversions and one fourth-down conversion.
at No. 2 Hylton (6-0)
The typical team that replaced nine offensive starters and seven defensive starters might shudder at the thought of playing a homecoming game on the road against a defending state champion that is shooting for its 23rd consecutive win.
Oakton is unlikely to be one of those teams. The Cougars' losses have been to No. 12 Robinson, No. 13 Lake Braddock and No. 16 Centreville. That's a collective 17-1 record.
Oakton is led by senior quarterback Tom Ridley, who has thrown for 580 yards and rushed for 460 as the primary threat out of a young backfield.
His main receivers are senior Easton Peterson (12 catches), senior tight end Mike Miller (nine) and sophomore halfback Patrick Hackley-Hough (nine). Hackley-Hough averages 22 yards a catch.
Free safety Chad Cooper has committed to Virginia Tech. Junior Scott Turner, a wide receiver and backup quarterback, is the son of Redskins Coach Norv Turner.
Tonight's game, the first between the schools, marks the first Friday night home game of the season for the Bulldogs, who play at home the next three weeks, as well. The Bulldogs are coming off a resounding 31-6 win over Woodbridge in which they held the Vikings to 86 yards.
The Hylton defense has given up two touchdowns the past 10 quarters, both in the fourth period of a 35-14 win over Stonewall. Senior quarterback Kenny Irby has completed 15 of his last 19 passes.
The Bulldogs are likely to be without junior center Sean Conlon, who sprained his ankle against Woodbridge. That routine injury could not rival the frightening one suffered yesterday by senior lineman Billy Reyers.
0Reyers was sitting in a doctor's office after having a wart removed from his elbow. He waited 15 minutes before getting up, as directed, but when he started to walk, he had an allergic reaction to the medicine used during the procedure and fainted, with his head landing on a concrete floor. The blow knocked Reyers unconscious for about five minutes. A subsequent CAT scan revealed no damage.
"I was right in front of him, and I turned around and he fell flat on his back and cracked his head hard," said Reyers's father, William.
The young Reyers is likely to be cleared to play come Friday but is advised to avoid physical contact for the next two days.
North Stafford (5-1, 1-1)
at Fauquier (3-3, 1-1)
You can bet the Fauquier defense will be on its toes from the get-go in this game. Last week, North Stafford used a double pass to score a 65-yard touchdown on the first play of its 33-20 win at Osbourn Park.
Wolverines Coach Chris Beatty had just four words of instruction for senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst before he trotted onto the field: Don't drop the ball. North Stafford had tried to run the play earlier in the season, but Ashinhurst, lined up wide, could not handle the short pass from the quarterback.
Sophomore linebacker Dante McKoy came up with one of the most crucial defensive plays of the game when he recovered an Osbourn Park fumble in the second quarter on first and goal from the Wolverine 5. A Yellow Jackets touchdown and two-point conversion could have tied the score. Senior Jathan Ball recorded a sack on fourth and 7 with three minutes left in the game.
Fauquier senior fullback Eric Bailey rushed for a season-high 146 yards in a 17-7 win over James Wood last week and scored two touchdowns, his first of the season.
Manassas Park (5-1, 1-0)
at Clarke County (0-6, 0-1)
A fair question now whenever Manassas Park plays is how many touchdowns will junior Nick Bertrand score? And will they come on offense, or defense, or both?
Bertrand returned an interception for a touchdown last week--this one 101 yards--for the second consecutive game to boost the Cougars to a 27-13 win at Colonial Beach. Bertrand also scored on 80- and one-yard runs.
Bertrand had returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 22-14 win over Strasburg the previous week.
Coincidentally, King George returned a fourth quarter interception 35 yards for the winning score in the Cougars' only loss this season.
As for Clarke County, the Eagles have outscored Manassas Park, 104-16, the past two seasons, including 35-8 last year. However, Clarke County has been outscored 229-39 this fall.
Brentsville (5-1, 1-0)
at George Mason (3-3, 0-1)
Brentsville had beaten the Mustangs in six consecutive meetings until losing, 26-16, last year. The Tigers' two touchdowns were on passes by quarterback Chris Jenkins.
This Saturday afternoon's game marks the beginning of a tough month of Bull Run District games for Brentsville, with Strasburg, Madison County and Manassas Park left to play. The Tigers took care of Clarke County, 40-6, last week.
at Maret (0-5)
Quantico dropped its fourth consecutive game last week in a 22-6 loss to Christchurch. Maret, a Washington school, has been outscored 176-51.
Quantico and Maret did not meet last season.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Stafford (3-3, 2-1)
at Brooke Point (4-2, 2-1)
The winner of this game still has a shot at the Commonwealth District title. Brooke Point's remaining opponents are James Wood, Culpeper and nondistrict Osbourn. Stafford has Fauquier, nondistrict Potomac and North Stafford.
Stafford's respectable 28-18 loss to Culpeper last week likely prompted a few double takes, because Culpeper had scored 123 points its previous two games, including 49 in a blowout win over North Stafford.
The Indians' defensive game plan against the Blue Devils worked--to an extent.
"We had a goal to stop the run as much as possible so we could predict what they were doing," said Stafford Coach Roger Pierce, whose team has surpassed its win total (two) from last season. "We did a good job with the run but not with the pass."
Culpeper gained 150 rushing yards and 206 through the air, with nine of its 11 completions going to senior Terence Dinkins, including three for touchdowns.
Stafford will face a more basic offense tonight in Brooke Point, which relies heavily on the legs of senior quarterback Jeff Tate and junior running back Larry Smith. Smith carried 31 times for a season-high 205 yards last week. The Black-Hawks endured three interceptions to beat winless Sherando, 21-7, on three second-half touchdowns, two by Smith.
Stafford senior Dural Dawson ran for 113 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion against Culpeper. Tonight should be one of his stiffest tests of the season: Brooke Point has allowed a touchdown or less in five of its six games, including the past four. And the Black-Hawks have shut out Stafford the past two meetings.
Dawson ran for 122 yards last year against Brooke Point. The problem was, Daniel Davis ran for 273 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-0 win, his first game after committing to the University of North Carolina.
VHSL POWER RATINGS
Here are the Virginia High School League Weekly Ratings used to help determine postseason qualifiers. Teams earn 12 points for a victory over a Virginia AAA school, nine for beating an AA school and six for defeating an A team. Teams also earn one additional point for each win their conquered opponents notch against VHSL competition. The rating is a team's total points divided by number of games played.
District champions automatically reach the playoffs; the power ratings determine the remainder of the four-team postseason field in each division.
Virginia AAA Northwestern Region
North Stafford 11.0
George Washington-Danville 9.4
Brooke Point 8.3
Franklin County 4.6
Stonewall Jackson 4.3
Osbourn Park 1.8
William Fleming 11.8
Cave Spring 8.3
Pulaski County 7.0
E.C. Glass 7.0
Patrick Henry-Roanoke 4.0
James Wood 1.5
Virginia A Region B
Amelia County 4.7
Madison County 4.3
Buffalo Gap 3.8
Prince Edward 2.8
Buckingham County 2.8
Page County 2.5
Wilson Memorial 2.3
Clarke County 0.0
Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg 8.3
Manassas Park 6.8
George Mason 2.6
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
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