It was an emotion that Chantilly senior linebacker Jordan Reeves hadn't experienced in quite a while.
By capitalizing on Annandale's four turnovers and catching a few breaks, the Chargers broke a 13-game losing streak dating to October 2003 with a 10-0 victory over the visiting Atoms on Friday night
"It was great coming off of our disappointment all of last year," Reeves said of Chantilly's winless 2004 season. "We finally got that feeling of winning after a year and a half of hard work and trying so hard to make it happen."
The opponent couldn't have been more fitting. Not only was Annandale the last team Chantilly had beaten, but the Chargers' streak was prolonged last season by a one-point Atoms victory decided by a blocked extra point late in the game.
On Friday, Chantilly averted disaster in the first quarter when it fumbled inside the Annandale 10-yard line. Senior wide receiver Jon Morgan picked up the loose ball and scored the game's only touchdown. The Chargers (1-0) got another break when a long touchdown run by Annandale (0-1) was overturned by a holding penalty.
Those plays helped Chantilly overcome a subpar performance from its offense, which gained only 200 total yards.
Tomorrow night, the Chargers have an opportunity to start another streak -- this time a winning one -- when they travel to play Lake Braddock. The Bruins also were winless in 2004, but Chantilly Coach Mike Lalli is cautioning his team against a letdown.
"That's one of our motivating things," said Lalli, a first-year coach who previously served as the team's defensive coordinator. "They are in a same situation as we were last week, trying to get a losing streak off their back. One thing we've been trying to instill in the kids this week is to remember how motivated they were last week and that's how motivated Lake Braddock is going to be against us."
Few Juniors on This Varsity
With no seniors and only a handful of juniors, South County opens its inaugural season tomorrow night against McLean.
Some recently opened schools in Northern Virginia have played junior varsity football schedules their first seasons, but South County Coach Pete Bendorf said that the new Lorton school wanted to offer as many varsity sports as possible this year to attract juniors wanting to play on varsity teams. The decision has put Bendorf's Stallions in a challenging situation.
"We've made a fair amount of progress," he said. "We're still a long ways away from being a competitive varsity team. The physical maturity and game experience we don't have, but the only way we're going to get that is to play."
Junior wide receiver-linebacker Matt Vane, a transfer from Texas, and defensive end Richard During and running back Titus Pennington, both sophomores who transferred from Edison, will lead South County against a McLean team that went 5-5 last year.