PLAYOFF PUSH: Manassas Park juniors Walter Newman and Nick Bertrand intercepted passes to halt fourth-quarter possessions inside their own 30 to secure a 29-20 win over George Mason.
Meanwhile, the Cougar defense got to rest mending sophomore Jonathan Abrams, who did not play the rover position he had manned before separating his shoulder in the fourth game of the season. Abrams did play offense, and he broke off a long run to set up Manassas Park's final touchdown. The Cougars led by just two points going into the third quarter.
"We told them at halftime that if we lost, the game next Friday [against Brentsville] wouldn't mean anything," Coach Jeff Lloyd said. "We had to win to make next week as big as people say it's going to be."
But even if Manassas Park knocks off Brentsville to finish the regular season 8-2, that is no guarantee of a Region B Division 1 playoff berth.
"That says a lot for our region, especially with the small schools," Lloyd said.
The Cougars' win over Quantico does not help their Virginia High School League power rating, and Lloyd is not so sure that is fair. Games against private schools do not count in the power ratings. Quantico, however, is a public school, though it is open only to families on the military base. Many schools schedule games against out-of-state public schools. Those games do count toward the ratings.
The Cougars are locked into playing Quantico again next season, but Lloyd said he and the Manassas Park administration might consider ending the series after that if they can find a suitable public school opponent.
"It would be very hard," Lloyd said, "to look these young men in the face, say that we had a great year and are 23 points from being undefeated, and say, 'You're 8-2. Turn your stuff in.' "
TIGER TOUTED: With county elections looming, Brentsville Coach Mike Madison has a vote he would like to cast: senior Justin Thomas, for most unheralded standout player.
"He's one of the kids in the county who has been overlooked because he plays on a team where the ball is spread out a lot," Madison said. "He's not a featured running back, but he's definitely doing a great job of running the football and catching it, and he's one of the better defensive backs in the area. He's been as valuable as any kid could be."
Through the first nine games of the season, Thomas has carried 91 times for 574 yards and has caught 18 passes for 384 yards.
Thomas played with bruised ribs Friday night for most of the 34-18 loss at Madison County. He was not the only ailing Tiger. Junior quarterback Chris Jenkins left the game early in the fourth quarter after absorbing what Mike Madison thought might have been a late hit. Senior tackle Jackie Sisouphonh reaggravated a knee injury in practice Tuesday and did not play.
Brentsville, trailing 20-18, had a chance to take the lead shortly before halftime but turned the ball over on downs deep in Madison County territory.
"That was a momentum switch," Madison said.
GOOD BOUNCE: The Quantico players must have realized in the first quarter of their 42-0 win Friday over Kenston Forest that it was going to be their night.
A fumble bounced off the knee of senior Keon Williams and rolled toward the Kenston Forest defense, which was unable to recover it, and the ball came back toward the Warriors. Then it rolled back toward the defense. Finally, Quantico senior quarterback Jesse Schenkoske scooped it up and ran 30 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
"It started as a toss left and ended up with [Schenkoske] running down the right sideline," Warriors Coach Ken Woodie said. "It was bobbled by about four different people. If they would have recovered the fumble, I think we would have been in a ballgame all night."
Sophomore Jerard Anderson carried 28 times for 114 yards to eclipse 1,000 yards for the season. Williams scored two touchdowns. Sophomore Jeremy Maddy had an interception and a fumble recovery and junior Anthony Gisolo recovered two fumbles.
Quantico finished the regular season 5-5 and will find out next week whether it has qualified for a state independent schools playoff berth.
BIG PLAYS: Potomac sophomore Tony Blackwell, a right fielder on the baseball team, threw a 52-yard halfback option pass to junior Terron Williams with four minutes left for the decisive touchdown in a 20-13 win over Stafford.
"I wish he could throw a baseball like that," joked Panthers Coach Keith King, an assistant baseball coach. "It was 55 yards in the air, and he was under pressure."
That was the second long touchdown of the fourth quarter for Potomac, which had tied the game on a 75-yard kickoff return by sophomore Jesse Williams. Potomac committed six turnovers, including an interception that Stafford senior Matt Matter returned for a touchdown. One of the Panthers' five fumbles occurred on the Stafford 1-yard line.
"If we play that way against Hylton, we have absolutely no chance," King said of his team's season finale. "I think the kids realize it. After the game we talked about how you can't get down and harp on [turnovers]. You have to forget about it and go play football."
Junior John Dominguez, who played quarterback much of the season, has been one such player King thought might have been letting mistakes hinder his play. Dominguez has been moved to free safety, where he has flourished.
"He's made every tackle we've asked him to make," King said.
FINISHING STRONG: Out of the playoff picture, Woodbridge could close the season with a three-game winning streak if the Vikings can knock off No. 20 Gar-Field next week. A rousing finish would help make up for the 0-3 start that put Woodbridge in a September hole.
The Vikings lost to No. 12 Culpeper, No. 17 Robinson and No. 10 Eleanor Roosevelt. They also lost a district game to No. 2 Hylton. Before the season, they scrimmaged No. 3 DeMatha and No. 11 Gonzaga.
"If you want to be the best, you have to play the best," said Coach Ron Davis, whose team will play the same schedule next season in the second year of two-year contracts. "If you can't beat these teams, you shouldn't be in the playoffs anyway.
"This is not the toughest schedule we've played. In the past we've won the same type of games. I think the kids like playing good competition, and we see what the competition has done for our program."
The Vikings' wins the past two weeks have come against Osbourn and Stonewall Jackson.
PASSER'S PICK: Hylton quarterback Kenny Irby is under no obligation to throw to certain receivers, but five second-half hookups with senior Alex Mason were key in the Week 8 overtime win against Gar-Field.
Mason caught one of Irby's two completions Friday night in a 34-7 win over Osbourn, the No. 2 Bulldogs' 25th consecutive victory.
"We don't tell Kenny who to throw the ball to because if the coverage is there, then he's forcing passes," Hylton Coach Bill Brown said. "It's like telling a running back to cut back or don't cut back. If you have to tell him, he's probably not very good."
BY THE NUMBERS
0: Passing yards totaled by quarterbacks in the Potomac-Stafford game.
3: Overtime games Gar-Field has played the past four weeks. In those games, the Indians beat Potomac and Osbourn Park and lost to Hylton.
7: Potomac games that have been decided by a touchdown or less.
16: Punts in the Brooke Point-Culpeper game.
148: Points North Stafford has scored in the first halves of its past four games.
Woodbridge 27, Stonewall Jackson 7
Hylton 34, Osbourn 7
Gar-Field 24, Osbourn Park 17 (OT)
Potomac 20, Stafford 13
Culpeper 14, Brooke Point 7
North Stafford 56, James Wood 21
Madison County 34, Brentsville 18
Fauquier 42, Sherando 28
Manassas Park 29, George Mason 20
Quantico 42, Kenston Forest 0
Strasburg 40, Clarke County 12
Stonewall Jackson at Osbourn Park, 7:30
Osbourn at Brooke Point, 7:30
Hylton at Potomac, 7:30
Woodbridge at Gar-Field, 7:30
North Stafford at Stafford, 7:30
Manassas Park at Brentsville, 7:30
FRIDAY NIGHT BOX SCORE
QUANTICO 42, KENSTON FOREST 0
Quantico (5-5) 14 21 0 7--42
Kenston Forest (1-8) 0 0 0 0--0
Q--Schenkoske 30 run (Schenkoske kick)
Q--Elisha 40 run (Schenkoske kick)
Q--Williams 10 run (Schenkoske kick)
Q--Williams 5 run (Schenkoske kick)
Q--Anderson 15 pass from Schenkoske (Schenkoske kick)
Q--Anderson 4 run (Schenkoske kick)
RUSHING--Quantico: Anderson 28-114, Elisha 3-90, Schenkoske 3-81, Williams 8-60; Kenston Forest: n/a.
PASSING--Quantico: Schenkoske 3-4-0 44; Kenston Forest: n/a.
RECEIVING--Quantico: Donovan 2-29, Anderson 1-15; Kenston Forest: n/a.
FRIDAY'S TOP PERFORMERS
Rushing Opp. Att. Yds. TD
Bertrand, Man. Park George Mason 18 173 1
L. Smith, Brooke PointCulpeper 29 131 1
Beltran, Hylton Osbourn 8 126 0
Anderson, Quantico Kenston Forest 28 114 1
Puvogel, Stonewall Woodbridge 12 109 1
G. Price, Potomac Stafford 14 104 1
Woodbridge, N. Stafford James Wood 9 103 2
Elisha, Quantico Kenston Forest 3 90 1
Ilaoa, North Stafford
Edwards, N. Stafford
Baldwin, North Stafford
Woodbridge, N. Stafford
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
North Stafford senior quarterback Chris Ashinhurst broke the Virginia AAA state record for passing yardage in a season by throwing for 318 yards Friday against James Wood, goosing his ever-growing total to 2,635 yards.
The old record was 2,577 yards set by Hampton's Ronald Curry in 1997. Curry, now at the University of North Carolina, established that mark in 14 games; Ashinhurst broke it in nine.
The overall state record for passing yards in a season was set by Brian Partlow of AA school Handley in 1994. Partlow threw for 3,014 yards in 14 games.
Ashinhurst topped Curry on a 47-yard touchdown to senior D.J. Palmer, but the rubber-armed senior might have been the last person in the stadium to realize it. Ashinhurst was throwing to junior Nate Ilaoa, but a defender tipped the ball to Palmer, who was trailing the play. Ashinhurst ran downfield to protest what he thought was an uncalled face-guarding penalty.
"I heard the crowd cheer, so I thought maybe they had thrown a flag," Ashinhurst said. "Then I saw D.J. holding up his hands in the end zone and a couple people were hugging him."
Palmer was an unlikely target. Five North Stafford players have between 21 and 65 catches. Palmer is not one of them.
With 198 completions, Ashinhurst is 13 shy of the state record set by W.T. Woodson's Brandon Corso in 1990.
Rubbing elbows in the record book with Curry is heady stuff for the 5-foot-11, 186-pound Ashinhurst, who figures he threw for just "100 or 200" yards during his sophomore season.
"Ronald Curry was a senior my sophomore year," Ashinhurst said, "and whenever anyone would say something about him, I'd say, 'Whoa, that's the best quarterback ever.' To be mentioned in the same sentence as him is definitely an honor."
Chris Beatty, who installed a passing offense when he took over the North Stafford program before last season, spent a lot of time in the Virginia Beach area during Curry's career and saw Hampton play several games.
"Curry's the best player I've ever seen in high school football," Beatty said. "For Chris to get that record is just great. I can't say enough about him, even if you had all day."
Breaking the state AAA passing record could upgrade Ashinhurst's college football choices beyond the Ivy League schools that currently are courting him.
"It might not help," he said, "but it definitely won't hurt."
Though his was the most impressive, Ashinhurst's season milestone was not the only one reached by a Wolverine in the 56-21 win over James Wood. Senior running back Allen Woodbridge topped 1,000 rushing yards, and Ilaoa went over 1,000 receiving yards.
ONE FOR THE BOOKS
North Stafford quarterback Chris Ashinhurst last night broke Ronald Curry's Virginia AAA single-season passing yardage record in a 56-21 victory at James Wood. The Wolverines senior is closing in on the overall records for single-season passing yardage and completions. (Source: Virginia High School League record book)
Yards passing in one season
Name Team Year Gms. Yds.
*Brian Partlow Handley 1994 14 3,014
Chris Ashinhurst North Stafford 1999 9 2,635
Ronald Curry Hampton 1997 14 2,577
Completions in one season
Name Team Year Gms. Yds.
Brandon Corso W.T. Woodson 1990 10 211
Chris Ashinhurst North Stafford 1999 9 198