Manassas Park 42, Potomac Falls 12 Manassas Park fans saw a comforting site during Friday's dominating 42-12 season-opening win at Virginia AA Dulles District school Potomac Falls: a quarterback named Terrell.
Senior quarterback Jay Terrell, a transfer from Brentsville, recorded 292 yards of total offense and four touchdowns -- two rushing and two passing -- to lead the Cougars to their 25th straight regular season victory.
Terrell's performance was reminiscent of the ones turned in consistently last year by his cousin Zach, who guided Manassas Park to its first state championship by garnering 4,523 yards of total offense and 54 touchdowns.
"He reminded me of Zach a little bit tonight," Manassas Park Coach Jeff Lloyd said of Jay Terrell. "He's not as fast of a north-south runner as Zach is, but is just about the same in every way else. He had an exceptional game and he's already doing well in picking up the offense."
Terrell wasn't alone in giving a standout performance for the Cougars, either. Both the offensive and defensive lines gave Manassas Park (1-0) a strong push off the ball that enabled them to sprint to a 28-0 lead three minutes into the second quarter, capped by senior running back Todd Smoot's one-yard touchdown run.
At that point, Potomac Falls, which was held to 209 yards of offense in the game, was visibly deflated. Three minutes later, the crowd registered one of its biggest cheers of the night -- not due to any on-field heroics, but because the scoreboard went blank.
"They were a better team," Potomac Falls Coach Casey Childs said. "They had a few more athletes than we did and we didn't do nearly enough to win. We didn't play well, period."
The only negatives on the night for Manassas Park were penalties and its inability to protect the ball. Terrell might have put up even loftier numbers had a number of big runs not been called back because of penalties. But Terrell was not innocent of missteps either, accounting for three of the five Cougar turnovers; two other fumbles of his were recovered by his own team.
Terrell chalked up the fumbles to nerves.
"I had butterflies two hours before the game tonight," he said. "I think I was so nervous because of all the expectations in replacing Zach. If we would have lost tonight, what everyone would have been yelling is that we couldn't do it without Zach. I just wanted to prove them wrong."
Terrell and the Cougars will again have that chance Friday when they host another Loudon County team, Broad Run (0-1). Opening the season with three AA opponents in four weeks -- they play at rival Brentsville on Sept. 23 -- is an excellent way to keep the doubters at bay.
"Our kids, when they step between the white lines, expect to win no matter who we're playing," Lloyd said.