Proving that it is never too late in the season to change an offense radically, Fauquier mixed in an option attack in last Friday's 14-7 victory over Warren County.
The Falcons put junior Dwayne Foddrell, their leading rusher and most elusive back, under center to start the game and alternated series with him and incumbent senior starter Andrew Wilson at quarterback. The plan, several months in the making, finally got its chance after the Falcons had scored more than 17 points a game only twice this season.
"We'd thought about it over the summer," Fauquier Coach Tom Ferrell said. "But then Dwayne came down with [mononucleosis] and then Andrew [Wilson] started to get into a groove. . . . We didn't want to change it if we didn't have to. But we weren't scoring points, so we said that if we were going to do it, now is the time."
Foddrell rushed for 108 yards on 17 carries, split mostly between the two formations. He scored his game-tying 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a handoff from Wilson.
Fauquier's rush defense was nearly as impressive Friday. The Falcons held the Northwestern District's leading rusher, Warren County senior Kendall Porter, to a season-low 49 yards on 15 carries.
Patriots Surging Although some teams' preparation might have suffered when they were forced to practice indoors during the sniper shootings, Park View's was not. The Patriots have been playing their best football over the past few weeks, including shutouts for two consecutive weeks.
On offense, Park View has averaged more than 35 points over its past four games, after scoring 59 in its first four outings.
Park View Coach Charlie Pierce refused to let his team be lulled into laziness and bad habits while practicing inside the gymnasium. He created competitions in weightlifting and even staged a three-on-three basketball tournament one day.
"When we were inside, we could concentrate on the little things that make us better," Pierce said. "That's all a credit to the guys wanting to get better. . . . We tried to keep practices interesting. It broke the monotony because we didn't know what was happening. It was competitive, it helped with our conditioning, and it took our minds off what was going on."
Pierce said he thinks that the Patriots' improvement is also a response to their 14-10 loss to Fauquier on Sept. 20, their first regular-season home defeat in nearly five years.
"It all points back to our off-week" after the loss to Fauquier, Pierce said. "It got everyone refocused, back in line and let everyone know about what we want to do. . . . Being inside the gym, you're a lot closer to everyone, and you get to see everything that everyone is doing. When you're outside and you're all spread apart, you sometimes miss some things."
Panthers in Control Potomac Falls could have let down emotionally after its biggest victory this season, 14-13 over Loudoun County on Oct. 26, and looked past winless Broad Run last week and ahead to district power Park View this week.
Potomac Falls did none of that in its 42-7 victory over Broad Run, so the Panthers could not be in a better position before their final two games of the season.
These are also their two toughest -- at Park View on Friday, then at home against Stone Bridge next week.
"We were a focused team all week," Potomac Falls Coach Casey Childs said. "The kids have a sense of what they need to do, but unfortunately, it has taken them nearly a whole season to realize that."
Sophomore Adrian Tracy has settled into his role. In addition to taking occasional handoffs on offense, he had three sacks against Broad Run from his defensive end position to give him a team-high seven for the season.
"We expected him to be a JV player for us," Childs said, "but the next thing you know, it's the second game of the season, and he's starting for us."
Guard Mike Higgins is the only senior starting on an offensive line that has gradually improved and has not allowed a sack of junior quarterback Joe Reilly for two games. Reilly has completed 16 of 28 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns in those games.