In five previous games this season, Centreville junior Daniel Bailey proved himself to be one of the area's top wide receivers. On Saturday in a game against Lee, Bailey exhibited the skills to excel at another position.
In an effort to jump-start a stagnant offense, Bailey was inserted at tailback in the third quarter, and he delivered, rushing for 231 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries -- all in the second half -- as the third-ranked Wildcats overcame a one-point halftime deficit to prevail, 33-14, in a Virginia AAA nondistrict game.
"We've been fooling around with putting [Bailey] at tailback in practice the past few weeks," said Centreville Coach Mike Skinner, whose team improved to 6-0. "We made a change for the sake of making a change. He played very well for being a new guy at the position. We are really impressed."
Now Skinner finds himself a problem many coaches would welcome: Centreville has three talented junior tailbacks -- Bailey, Richard Taylor and Greg Harris. Led by Taylor's 640 yards, the trio has already combined to rush for nearly 1,100.
The game was the first for both teams since outdoor activities were suspended more than two weeks ago because of security concerns stemming from the recent sniper shootings. Like all other sporting events involving Fairfax County public schools over the weekend, the game was played at an undisclosed out-of-town field.
"It was a sloppy game, much like the first game of the season," Skinner said. "It's tough to simulate game speed and game situations in the gym, so there were a lot of holding penalties and offsides. . . . But the kids had a lot of fun. It was great to be playing again." . . .
Lake Braddock earned its first AAA Patriot District victory on Saturday against Hayfield, 45-44, in a most unusual manner: an extra point in quadruple overtime.
After having a potential winning field goal blocked with nine seconds remaining in regulation, Bruins place kicker Tim Washburn converted the winning extra point after Stephen Whittenberg tied the score on a 10-yard run.
Alternatives to Be Discussed
A planning group will meet with Montgomery County Schools superintendent Jerry D. Weast today to discuss the possibility of resuming all high school athletics at alternative locations.
Montgomery County Schools spokesman Brian Porter said that locations for tennis, golf and cross-country are close to being finalized and that the planning group is considering six sites for football. Porter would not say whether the locations are in Montgomery County.
According to Porter, finding locations for teams to practice outdoors is conditional to permitting sporting events to continue.
"Our students haven't had the opportunity for full contact practices since this mess began," Porter said. "They have been practicing indoors but that doesn't prepare them with the conditioning they need to avoid injuries on the playing field. They need an opportunity to practice outdoors."
Meantime, Fairfax County officials are planning to meet early this week to decide whether to return to faraway venues next weekend, Westfield Principal Dale Rumberger said yesterday.
Eleven of the 14 games involving Fairfax County schools were played on Saturday at sites across the state.
"Do we want to go with the same plan, or do we want to do something else?," said Rumberger, who is also chairman of the AAA Northern Region. "Right now, we don't know. We are going to catch our breath and see what we're going to do next."
Thomas Johnson put a dent in Linganore's playoff hopes Friday with a 13-10 victory.
The Patriots got 105 yards and two touchdowns from senior running back Jamar Garner and five turnovers from their defense to deal the Lancers their first loss in the Central Maryland Conference. Thomas Johnson senior cornerback Darnell Edmonds made two crucial interceptions, knocked down two passes and had seven tackles, and junior linebacker Brad Bivins had 10 tackles.
"That was the best our defense has played all year," said Thomas Johnson Coach Gary Liddick, whose team improved to 3-4 and 2-2 in the CMC.
Though Liddick agreed his team's victory should be termed an upset, the Patriots' record is deceiving. Thomas Johnson's four losses have come against 6-1 Middletown, a Maryland 2A semifinalist last year; 4-1 Gaithersburg, a 4A semifinalist last year; 4-3 Urbana, the reigning 3A champion, and 5-2 Westminster. The Patriots also surprised Westlake earlier in the year.
"The teams we've played this year have been tough," Liddick said. "And we've been in all the games except against Urbana and Middletown."
Linganore (5-2, 3-1) fell to second in the conference behind Westminster and Urbana, both 4-0. The Lancers, however, will play each of those teams in the next three weeks. They face Westminster on Friday and Urbana in the final week of the season.
Westminster and Urbana play in the week between.
Catch of the Day
Junior Randy Gardner leaped high in the end zone, contorted his body at a near impossible angle, reached back for the ball, and landed hard on his side. But he held on to the touchdown pass from Tim Phelps to highlight Glenelg's 28-13 victory over Oakland Mills in a Howard County game Saturday.
"It's just natural. My power and being agile comes from gymnastics, " Gardner said.
"He is the only kid in the county that could make that catch," said Glenelg assistant coach Cameron Rahnama, who encouraged Gardner to try out for the football team after watching him perform handstands on a stool in his shop class. "It was an unbelievable catch. I thought it was going to be a pick, but he was up and over the top of that kid in a heartbeat. How he held on to the football, I don't know."
Staff writer Todd Jacobson, and special correspondents Jake Schaller and Josh Leventhal contributed to this report.