Dominion's Tony Armenteros was the first player through the line to shake hands with the King George players after Monday night's rain-delayed and still muddy 24-19 victory. The senior took off his helmet as soon as the last Foxes player had passed and carried it with him as he happily high-stepped his way from midfield to the end zone.
It was awfully reminiscent of how he spent most of the game -- minus the helmet-holding, of course.
Armenteros took the first handoff of the game from senior quarterback Chris Whipple and burst through traffic at the line of scrimmage before scampering 57 yards for the first of his four touchdowns. The others came on runs of 3, 13 and 23 yards, leading the Titans to their second consecutive victory.
"Early this season we were trying to run out of a spread formation, and it just wasn't working," Dominion Coach Mike Dougherty said. "So we changed our formation and went back to a double wing where Tony is more comfortable seeing the gaps and running behind people.
"Now people have to plan to stop him no matter where he's lined up. And for three weeks they haven't been able to."
The proof is in the numbers. Against George Mason and Louisa County to start the season, Armenteros totaled 36 yards on five carries. In the Titans' last three games -- against Millbrook, Wakefield and King George -- he has rushed for a combined 395 yards and seven touchdowns, surpassing 100 yards each time.
"Coming into the season I was very inexperienced as a running back, and really, I still am," said Armenteros, who was listed as a running back but was used more in the passing game the two previous years playing behind former Dominion standout tailback C.J. Reaves. "But I've had a lot of one-on-one time with an old coach of mine, Phil Braxton, who's been helping me out. And we've really picked up our pace at practice, too, and that's benefited me greatly."
Armenteros also has profited from the dedication he showed this past off-season to weight training and speed and agility camps.
"He's turned himself into the kind of player we always thought he could be," Dougherty said. "Pound for pound he's the strongest kid in the school, and that's really helped his running. It's great for everyone to see that if you dedicate yourself to something it will pay off."
Said Reaves, who cheered on his former teammates from the sideline Monday night: "The first thing I see is that that boy got big, got strong. He's more of an athlete this year than he was a year ago. He kept telling me he was going to work harder this year, and he's done it. Now he says he wants to get past my records . . . and I like that confidence."
Though Reaves's rushing records may not be in sight -- he totaled 1,771 yards and 17 touchdowns his last two seasons at Dominion -- there is another, more reachable goal that Armenteros said is his top priority: leading Dominion to its first AA Dulles District victory in school history.
"That is it, that one's deep," Armenteros said. "That's the most pressure on me and the rest of the seniors. We have to get that done."