Potomac Falls 21, Loudoun County 7
At some point this season, Jay Branom is bound to tire. Fortunately for Potomac Falls and regrettably for its opponents, it hasn't happened yet.
After losing their opening four games of the season with Branom as their starting tailback, the Panthers moved the senior to quarterback and put the game in his hands. Since making the transition, Potomac Falls has yet to lose and on Friday night rode its standout offensive playmaker to a third consecutive victory, a 21-7 victory over Loudoun County in Leesburg.
Against the Raiders, the Panthers (3-4 overall, 2-0 Dulles District) ran 49 offensive plays, with Branom handling the ball on 40 of them. He finished with 222 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries. On his second touchdown, Branom patiently waited for a hole to develop over the left side and burst through the Loudoun County defense for a 72-yard score that broke a 7-7 tie and gave the Panthers the lead for good.
"When Jay's back there, he's a bull," said Potomac Falls Coach Casey Childs about his standout senior. "He's a tough kid to bring down, and we're excited about what he's doing so far."
For the season, Branom has gained 933 yards rushing and thrown for 140, both team highs. In addition, he has accounted for 12 of the 16 touchdowns scored by the Potomac Falls offense, and he is a key member of a defensive unit that forced four turnovers against the Raiders (2-5, 0-2).
Even though there may be some concern that Branom may be wearing out, don't look for the Panthers to make too many changes for the remainder of the year. With their new offensive alignment, they have made dramatic strides on the scoreboard and in the win column. During its 0-4 start, Potomac Falls averaged 8.5 points per game, but since the switch the Panthers have exploded offensively, averaging nearly 27 points per game in their last three wins, a statistic that can be directly traced to Branom's increased workload.
"There's no such thing as tired. I've got to play both sides of the ball," said Branom, who was on the field for nearly every snap on Friday night. "We're playing as a team now, but we've got to get better. We're not good enough yet."
The Panthers will be able to find out just how good they are when they face Park View (for which Branom played as a freshman and sophomore) on Friday in a matchup of the two remaining unbeaten district teams.
"We're going to do what we have to do to win football games, and Jay's one of the best players we have," Childs said. "The goal every year for us is to win a district championship, and right now we have as good a chance as anybody to do it."