A new-look, spread offense will mean, among other things, the debut of a host of new wide receivers. Leading the group are seniors Joey Estelle (5 feet 8, 170), Matt Heflin (5-11, 180) and Seldon Walker, who at 6 -4 provides the best target.
New coach Greg Hatfield said he expects all of the team's running backs -- including seniors Mike McCartin (6-1, 195), Jake Preli (5-10, 220), junior Ian McNaughton (6-0, 175) and sophomore Walter Davis (6-0, 170) -- to get work catching the ball.
"This is an offense where we'll use five or six wide receivers," Hatfield said. "And we're fortunate to have several guys who have the kind of speed that will really benefit us out there."
The Falcons will work behind a slightly undersized offensive line, but hope to counter that with depth. Leading the unit will be returning senior starters Chris Legg (6-0, 240) and Sean Ryan (5-11, 240) at the tackles.
Fauquier returns six starters and will move to a more aggressive 4-4 scheme that will rely on quickness. Preli also will start on the defensive line, where he will be joined by sophomore Nick Cook (6-0, 300) and junior Chris Sutton (6-3, 280), both of whom are extremely agile for their size.
The Falcons also expect considerable production at linebacker with the return of seniors Andrew Glascock (5-8, 165) and Jacob Nichols (6-0, 190) and the addition of sophomore outside linebacker Aubrey McLean (6-3, 225).
Senior CB Jeff Brown (5-8, 160) and senior S D.J. Velky (5-9, 152) will anchor the secondary.
"There's been so much for the kids to learn, and they've had to learn it quickly," Hatfield said. "But I have no doubt we'll be very competitive."
Fauquier isn't unaccustomed to playing in Class AAA, which it last did as a member of the AAA Commonwealth District in 2000. But with a new coach and two new schemes, there is uncertainty. "One thing we've talked a lot about is not being able to get caught up in who we're playing," Hatfield said. "We're really concentrating on getting good at what we do. The rest will fall into place."