Park View's 17-6 victory over Potomac Falls on Saturday was played a day later than originally scheduled because Park View's fields, most of which drain poorly, had not dried after heavy rains four days earlier.
The extra day did little to improve the field's condition.
"I've never seen our field like this," Park View Coach Charlie Pierce said. "It was in horrendous playing condition. It was almost like we were playing in a downpour. Any time people would run they would fall down."
The visitors' sideline was under three inches of water, Pierce said, even after 500 gallons were pumped from the field on Thursday. The field crew poured sawdust on the sidelines, then painted the white sidelines atop it. At halftime, the white lines were reapplied but were barely visible soon thereafter.
Potomac Falls junior quarterback Joe Reilly had thrown the ball well in victories the two previous weeks, but Park View pressured him constantly, resulting in five sacks, four tipped passes and only four completions in 19 attempts.
"It was more Park View than [the field conditions], to tell you the truth," Potomac Falls Coach Casey Childs said. "But neither team could move the ball. The game was played from the 40 to the 40, and that was it."
The victory clinched Park View's fifth consecutive playoff appearance and eighth in 10 years. In the past nine years, the eight other area teams have combined for nine playoff appearances. Fauquier and Liberty each have three, Loudoun County two and Loudoun Valley one.
Falcons Close-Knit Fauquier knew three years ago how good this year's team could have been. In 1999, the Falcons' freshmen went undefeated, and since then, the program has been pointing to this year's senior class as one that could reach the postseason.
With last week's 14-10 victory over Liberty as Fauquier swept its two games against the Eagles for the first time in nine seasons of meetings, the Falcons had control of their fate.
"They've really been a close group over the years, starting with that freshman team," Fauquier Coach Tom Ferrell said, "and a lot of them started together last year as juniors."
Liberty opened in 1994 and lost to Fauquier when the teams met once in each of the first two seasons. After that, Liberty won eight of the 10 games.
Despite Fauquier's promise before this season and graduation of players from Liberty's stellar team last year, Liberty still received top billing in Fauquier County.
"All along, people were still all about Liberty," Fauquier senior co-captain Charles Jenkins said. "After we beat them the first time [this season], they were still all about Liberty. Hopefully, now, after we beat them again, people will be [talking] all about us."
Things turned even brighter for the Falcons when Northwestern District leader Handley lost to Warren County, 21-14. Although this was the second consecutive season that the Wildcats defeated the Judges, they had not done so on Handley's turf since 1986.
That loss, however, is just the reminder the Falcons need that no victory is guaranteed. Last year, the 4-3 Falcons welcomed 1-7 Warren County for what appeared to be an easy game. A 54-50 loss began a three-game losing streak that ended the season and humbled Fauquier.
"We can't let that happen to us again," Jenkins said. "We can't do what we did last year. We knew, coming into the season that this was our year. This was the team that everyone was waiting for. It had to be our year."