This will be Francis Dall's final season coaching the Lake Braddock football team. And while his players talk little about their coach's upcoming departure to become the athletic director at a new school (as yet unnamed) set to open next fall in Chantilly, the Bruins are making this a memorable farewell.
With Friday's 26-7 victory over McLean, No. 14 Lake Braddock is 5-0 and a half-game behind No. 13 Robinson for first place in the Virginia AAA Patriot District. The two teams meet Nov. 5 in the regular season finale.
Dall, 44, is in his 20th season as a head coach, his 11th at Lake Braddock. He has won seven district titles, four at Braddock, and his 1995 team captured the Division 6 Northern Region title.
The players "were shocked, to say the least," Dall said about the reaction two weeks ago when he announced he would be leaving the Burke school. "But they have been pretty good since then."
While the Bruins start only eight seniors, they have some experienced players. Senior Ryan Neff and junior Peter Ouk are three-year starters at running back and junior Steve Finnern is one of the Washington area's best place kickers. Against McLean, Neff rushed for 203 yards and Finnern made field goals of 37 and 40 yards.
In its first season competing in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, Patuxent is attracting plenty of notice. The Panthers have won their first five games by an average of 36.6 points. Sophomore running back Terry Caulley is also putting up big numbers, rushing for 265 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries. He returned a punt 65 yards for another score to lead the Lusby school to a 49-20 victory Friday over La Plata.
"As a sophomore, I don't know if I've ever seen anybody better at this point in his career," said Patuxent Coach Jim Esposito, a former DeMatha assistant. "This is the first year we've had a breakaway back. The speed obviously helps, but he'll run inside too. He'll take a hit to try and run over you. He's a special player."
'Just Another Kid'
More and more, people are watching No. 46 on Sidwell Friends. And it is not just because members of the Secret Service have to keep an eye on Al Gore III.
The vice president's son, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior, is earning recognition on the field, where he starts at middle linebacker for the Northwest private school and plays fullback in short-yardage situations. He recovered two fumbles and scored his first touchdown of the season on a one-yard run in the first quarter of Sidwell's 63-20 victory over Christchurch of Richmond on Saturday.
Sidwell Coach John Simon said there was no special celebration after Gore's touchdown. "On our team, he is just another kid," Simon said.
When he played at St. Albans in the 1960s, Al Gore was a team captain and starting linebacker.
Getting Her Kicks
Meggie Godish said she was nervous as she ran onto the field for her first field goal attempt on Friday night. But the nerves did not last long. Godish made the 23-yard field goal, helping West Springfield to a surprising 10-7 victory over then-No. 8 West Potomac in a Virginia AAA Patriot District game.
"I was excited," said Godish, who played center forward on the Spartans' junior varsity girls soccer team last spring. "I was hoping to get a chance [to kick a field goal] this year."
New West Springfield coach Bill Renner, who runs a kicking camp over the summer, said he does not think about the fact that Godish is a 5-foot-4, 109-pound girl. He said he only looks at her performance: Godish improved to 8 of 10 on point-after kicks and made her only attempt Friday.
"She is very poised and her mechanics are excellent," said Renner, whose team defeated West Potomac for just the second time ever. "She has worked hard at it. It is not something she just does for a novelty. She has done very well."
There are 24 unbeaten and untied teams remaining in the Washington area, including No. 19 H.D. Woodson. The Northeast Washington school is 4-0 after a 14-0 victory over Theodore Roosevelt on Friday in which running back Keon Coleman rushed for 310 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Woodson, which does not play D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association defending champion Dunbar in the regular season, has a favorable remaining schedule; its five opponents have a combined record of 10-15.
"I told the young men we have a goal--we are trying to be somewhere on November 25," said Greg Fuller, Woodson's new coach, referring to the DCIAA title game.
Keeping it in the family, Gar-Field sophomore quarterback Ryan Smith threw two touchdown passes to his twin brother, Justin, in a 17-0 victory over Chantilly on Friday. In the Indians' previous game, the brother tandem of Larry and Jamar Atkinson rushed for two touchdowns each in a 26-7 victory over Osbourn. . . .
Gaithersburg senior running back Jay Colbert became the school's all-time rushing leader on Friday. With 130 yards and two touchdowns (including a 74-yard touchdown on the fifth-ranked Trojans' first play from scrimmage), Colbert has rushed for 2,741 yards.
Staff writers Camille Powell and Preston Williams contributed to this report.