Dominion running back C.J. Reaves's statistics from last season were reported incorrectly in the Aug. 29 Loudoun Extra. He rushed for 863 yards and had eight touchdowns. (Published 9/5/04)
Positive energy hovers above the practice football field at Dominion. The coaches exude energy -- as evidenced by the matching blond hairdos each started wearing just before preseason practice began -- and often take part in the running and conditioning with their players. And they talk confidently about the second-year Titans winning games this season, without mentioning that the team went winless in its first season in the Dulles District last year.
The players are following the lead.
"Last year we were a new school with only juniors, so we knew we weren't going to do too much," said senior running back C.J. Reaves, who rushed for 664 yards and four touchdowns on 159 carries. "But this year it's a whole different story. We're not even thinking about being 'the new school' anymore. We're just tying to get wins. And it can happen if everyone keeps their head in the game."
As for personal goals, Reaves hasn't hesitated to establish those, either.
"I want to get over 1,500 yards rushing and be known as the number one kick returner in the district," Reaves said. "It's my senior year, and I know if I'm having that kind of success, then the team will be, too."
Still, those are lofty sights considering the only district player to come close to that mark a year ago was league-leader Michael Coleman of Broad Run, who finished with a school-record 1,518 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing. Only two other players in the district -- Landon Gouveia of Stone Bridge and Darren Bailey of Potomac Falls -- even finished above the 1,000-yard mark.
But Reaves (5 feet 7) feels he has done the work necessary this off-season to achieve that kind of success. He has packed on about 15 pounds of muscle since last season, boosting his weight to 165 pounds without compromising his speed.
"I worked in the weight room every chance I got and went from being one of the weakest guys on the team to one of the strongest," Reaves said. "Of course, I'm still about the smallest out there, but that doesn't matter."
It certainly didn't last season. Reaves was the workhorse, taking the handoff on nearly half of Dominion's total plays from scrimmage. From the sounds of it, that isn't likely to change this year.
"We're going to put the ball in his hands as often as we can, there's no secret about that," Coach Mike Dougherty said. "He's bulked up but hasn't lost a step, so if he can't get around you this year, hopefully he can run you over. If we can block a little bit for him and open some holes we think he can be one of the best running backs in the district."