Offense Picks Up
Through the first four games of the season for Potomac Falls, the defense has tried to make up for a number of offensive mistakes.
While the Panthers offense turned the ball over 13 times in three losses, the defense held opponents to just 44 total points. In Friday night's 27-21 win over visiting Loudoun County, the offense started to pay off some of its debt.
Potomac Falls (2-3, 1-1 AA Dulles District) scored three touchdowns on six plays from scrimmage to grab an 18-0 lead, taking full advantage of special teams miscues and a recovered onside kick.
"It was encouraging we made plays," Potomac Falls Coach Casey Childs said. "The good thing about tonight's win was that the offense picked our defense up. Throughout the first four games, our defense was carrying us. Tonight it was a role reversal, and it was good to see."
The first Potomac Falls score -- a 33-yard run by Darren Bailey -- was set up by Adrian Tracy's blocked punt. The Panthers recovered an onside kick to set up Mario Lanza's 44-yard touchdown run and then blocked a second punt that led to Lanza's four-yard scoring pass to Brandon Jackson.
"If you've got more and more turnovers, the other team gets more and more chances to score," said Jackson, who intercepted a pass on the final play of the game to seal the win. "If we can limit turnovers and put points on the board like we did tonight, we can win the game."
A Close Comeback
Loudoun County's attempt at a comeback couldn't start until quarterback Grant Jones began finding wide receiver Cameron Harris.
That was quite a challenge early, when Jones wasn't getting the time he needed to locate the speedy 5-foot-9 wideout in a secondary scattered with cornerbacks several inches taller.
"Size obviously helps, but speed and placement do too," Harris said. "Since I lack height, my coaches help me work on getting into the open field and with my hands because I can't go up and get those balls that are 10 feet up in the air."
Harris finished with 116 yards on five catches, including a 46-yard touchdown run that started Loudoun County's climb out of a 21-0 first-quarter hole. The Raiders scored again on a 13-yard run by Daniel Slack to cut the score to 21-14, then scored their final points on a three-yard touchdown run by Billy Sweeney. Harris caught a 37-yard pass during that final touchdown drive.
The Raiders (1-4, 1-1) had one last chance to win the game after they recovered an onside kick with 11 seconds left, but they were unable to score and complete the comeback.
A disappointed Harris said the way Loudoun County played in the second half is the kind of effort he knew his team was capable of, despite the early deficit.
"We're a team that doesn't give up, and we showed that tonight," Harris said. "We'll never give up on any game anywhere."
-- Ashton Williams