Since losing to Centreville on Oct. 8, Edison's football team has won two consecutive games in dominating fashion. The Eagles beat Stuart, 40-19, and last Saturday defeated Washington-Lee, 46-0.
"We're playing really well," Edison Coach Vaughn Lewis said. "We're not as consistent as we need to be, we're still making too many little mistakes on both sides of the ball, but we're playing with a lot of heart and determination and we're getting better every week."
That the Eagles are peaking at this point in their schedule is critical.
There is a logjam atop the Virginia AAA National District, with four teams, including Edison, with one or no district losses. Edison plays the other three teams in its last three games of the regular season.
"They're all big games," Lewis said. "Going into the home stretch, any of the four of us can win. This is the great thing about high school athletics."
Jefferson (6-1, 4-0) and Edison (5-2, 4-0) lead the National District, but they are followed closely by Mount Vernon (5-2, 3-1) and Yorktown (5-2, 3-1). The Eagles play at Mount Vernon tomorrow, at Yorktown a week later and then host Jefferson in the last week of the regular season.
Jefferson faces district foes Washington-Lee (2-5, 2-2) and Mount Vernon in the next two weeks; if the Colonials and Eagles each go 2-0, their season finale would decide the district.
But Lewis says he is not looking past Mount Vernon. The teams have built a rivalry in recent years, with the past three games being decided by identical 14-6 scores. Mount Vernon won last year's contest, after losing the previous two.
"Mount Vernon lost to Yorktown in a close game [this year], and they're a very quality football team," Lewis said. "Our kids really get fired up when they play Mount Vernon, and they get fired up when they play us. It's a great rivalry."
Edison has been led by senior quarterback Anthony Robinson (341 yards, 3 touchdown passing, 264 yards, 1 touchdown rushing), and has gotten solid play from senior running backs Justin Campbell and Kevin Roberts.
Defensively, senior nose guard Rondell Waldron and senior defensive tackle Gary Whitt have played well.
Chantilly Keeps Fighting
With a new coach and an inexperienced lineup, Chantilly has had a tough season. The Chargers are 0-7 and still have the toughest part of their schedule remaining -- AAA Concorde Division foes Herndon (5-2), defending AAA Division 6 champion Westfield (7-0) and Centreville (4-3).
But Chantilly, which has just 12 seniors on its roster, has been in nearly every game it has played to date. Three of the Chargers' losses came by one score or fewer, including last week's 28-27 loss to Annandale.
"When you're young, you're going to struggle in some ways," first-year Chantilly Coach Marty Riddle said. "But our kids, I feel like we've battled pretty well in every game but one all season. I think we've been making steps forward, we just haven't done enough of the right things to win ball games at this point."
One bright spot has been the quarterback position, where the Chargers have a wealth of talent in sophomores Nathan Worek and Joshua Witmer and junior Christopher Smith.
"Between the three of them, I've never had this much talent at quarterback anyplace I've ever coached," Riddle said. "At a lot of places, Chris Smith would be starting."
Worek has gotten most of the playing time so far, having played in all seven of the Chargers' games. He has completed 89 of his 172 pass attempts for 1,199 yards, 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Witmer, meanwhile, has just returned from a broken knuckle suffered on the first day of contact in the preseason. He has completed 22 of 40 pass attempts for 214 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Witmer started five games last season as a freshman. Worek was the one dealing with an injury last season, having had surgery on his index finger just before the season.
"They're both very good high school football quarterbacks, they both bring a lot to the table, and we're able to have a good competition," Riddle said. "They both played varsity basketball as freshman, and they're both very good athletes in addition to being very good quarterbacks."
All the quarterbacks have benefited from the play of junior wide receiver Donte Davis, who has caught 38 passes for 448 yards and four touchdowns, including two last week against Annandale.
The Week Ahead
No. 20 Oakton (6-1, 2-0)
at No. 4 Westfield (7-0, 2-0)
Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
A week after beating then-No. 20 Centreville in overtime, 17-14, Oakton has another huge test in Concorde District foe Westfield. The defending state champions are ranked fourth in the Washington area, have won 17 games in a row, have outscored their opponents 242-115 this season and beat Oakton 44-20 last year. Westfield has ridden junior running back Evan Royster, the Washington area' second-leading rusher with 1,516 yards and 18 touchdowns on 174 carries.
Oakton, meantime, has spread the ball on offense. Senior quarterback Reid Teschner has been efficient, completing 43 of his 76 pass attempts for 592 yards, six touchdowns and one interception, while junior running back Keith Payne has rushed for 498 yards and 6 touchdowns on 77 carries.
No. 3 Robinson (7-0, 3-0)
at West Springfield (6-1, 4-0)
Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
The AAA Patriot District title likely will be decided when the Rams travel to surprising West Springfield. The Spartans have won six straight since losing their season opener to Centreville, and their first playoff berth since 1993 could be in reach with a win tomorrow. Senior running back Jason Langley (142 carries, 1,112 yards, 13 TDs) leads the Spartans against a Robinson defense that has allowed 6.6 points per game.
Robinson, which has not lost a regular season game on the road since 1999, has won the teams' last three meetings by a combined 110-31. Junior quarterback Matt Goff has passed for 687 yards and four touchdowns and run for 152 yards and 4 TDs, while junior running back Lucas Caparelli has rushed for 861 yards and 11 TDs and caught 12 passes for 223 yards.
Edison (5-2, 4-0)
at Mount Vernon (5-2, 3-1)
Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
The battle for the National District title will be intense over the next three weeks, and the race will shake out some tomorrow when the Eagles play at the Majors.