Four weeks ago, Mount Vernon quarterback Frank Smith stood on the sidelines with a sprained ankle as his team was shut out by W.T. Woodson, 20-0. But a limping Smith helped his team win its next two games and now the fifth-ranked Majors (7-1) need one more victory to capture a second straight Virginia AAA Gunston District championship.
"Without Frank in there, our offense puts our defense in a bad situation," Majors Coach Bruce Patrick said. "But he's healthy now and we're putting points on the board."
Smith's leadership and athletic ability could spell bad news for Fort Hunt (6-2), which needs to defeat the Majors at Mount Vernon tonight at 8 to remain in contention for district title honors.
Both teams are 3-0 in district play, but should Fort Hunt win tonight, it would still need to win next week against Lee to win the title. If Fort Hunt should lose to Lee and Mount Vernon should defeat Groveton, Mount Vernon would advance to the playoffs on the strength of the best overall record.
Patrick said: "We can control what happens tonight and I'd rather have it that way. We're going into this one with everything we have. We're using every play in the book. We're looking at this one like there's no tomorrow."
The Majors have gotten a lot of mileage out of their option game, Smith (seven touchdowns) and tailback Lee Proctor (800 yards and 10 touchdowns) often turning short gains into big gains. Defensively, nose guard Sean Scott and linebacker John Rymiszewski have been standouts for Mount Vernon, which has allowed 73 points.
Both teams may have been guilty of looking ahead. The Majors eased past Edison, 10-7, and Fort Hunt has struggled the past three weeks, winning by a single point in two games and by 12-6 over Groveton last week.
The Federals are probably the quickest team the Majors have faced. Anthony McCallum has provided several big plays for Fort Hunt in the form of kickoff and punt returns, in addition to fine runs from the tailback spot. He has scored in seven of eight games and has nine touchdowns.
"We have to control McCallum on his kick returns and control the line (of scrimmage)," Patrick said.
Elsewhere in the area, 10th-ranked Stuart (8-0, 4-0) can wrap up the Potomac District championship by defeating visiting Fairfax (2-6, 0-4) and 18th-ranked Fauquier (7-1, 4-1) can gain at least a share of first place in the Commonwealth District with a victory over visiting Gar-Field (5-3, 4-1). Woodbridge (5-3, 4-1), ranked 19th, plays at North Stafford (2-6, 1-4).
No. 20-ranked Theodore Roosevelt (6-1, 2-0) can take a giant step toward winning the Interhigh West Division crown by defeating visiting Dunbar (4-3, 2-0) today at 3:15.