Last night's Commonwealth District showdown between Potomac and Fauquier was a shocker. There was no upset but the host Panthers routed Fauquier, 43-7, to win the district title and complete an undefeated regular season.
Both teams were unbeaten in the district coming into the game and a defensive struggle was anticipated. But Potomac's offense was virtually unstoppable and after a first-quarter touchdown its defense shut down the Falcons.
Both teams will be defending titles when next week's playoffs begin. Potomac (10-0, 8-0 in the district) will defend its Northwestern Region Division 5 title. Fauquier (8-2, 7-1) has won the Northwestern Region Division 6 three straight years and next week will play a division semifinal.
Potomac has been best known for its outstanding defense, which had allowed 55 points entering the game. But its offense has steadily improved and peaked last night. The Panthers rushed 332 yards and continually made big holes in the Fauquier defense, which had allowed only 60 points entering the game.
Shane Wright led the way with 119 yards on five carries. John Newsom added 71 yards and the Panthers exploited the left side of Fauquier's defense all game long.
Potomac blew the game open with a 21-point third quarter to expand on a 22-7 halftime edge. The first drive in the third featured three consecutive first downs, and Wright later scored from the 3.
Fauquier fumbled the ensuing kickoff and five plays later Newsom scored from the 2.
Potomac's defense then joined the scoring parade as linebacker Kevin Lewis read a slant pattern, intercepted Donnie Holt's pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
As can be expected Fauquier threw a surprise at Potomac early -- a pass. On the Falcons' second play from scrimmage Holt found wing back Aaron Robinson open down field. A 58-yard play set Fauquier up at the 4, and two plays later Holt sneaked in. Mike Cackowski converted and it was 7-0. After that it was all Potomac.
After a short Fauquier punt, the Panthers took possession at the Falcons 44 and quickly scored. On second and eight, Kevin McAfee ran a quick hitter up the middle and scored for a 7-6 game. Potomac then pulled a trick that could have come from Fauquier's playbook. Sal Colangelo came on to kick but holder Gilbert Telleria, staying in his holding position lateraled the ball to Keith McAfee on a reverse. He easily went in for the two-point conversion.
Potomac controlled the second quarter. Wright's 19-yard punt return set the Panthers up at Fauquier's 27. Seven plays later quarterback Telleria ran an option play into the end zone from six yards out and Colangelo's kick lifted the advantage to 15-7.
On Fauquier's next series, Matt Morrell sacked Holt, causing a fumble, and Kevin McAfee recovered at the Falcons 36. After a 10-yard holding penalty pushed the ball back to the 46, Wright took a draw play and was wide open. He cut left at the 15 and scored easily to make it 22-7.