Lee senior running back Michael Jolly committed to play for Monmouth (Photo courtesy of Clarence Martin).

Entering the first weekend of college football, all eyes were on the big storymakers, from how Johnny Football would handle his first-half suspension to a couple of top 25 showdowns. But as the Labor Day holiday drew to a close, the often overlooked Football Championship Subdivision ranks forced fans to take notice.


Four FCS teams pulled off upsets against Football Bowl Subdivision schools, with Towson’s 33-18 defeat of U-Conn. sending the most ripples through the region. And it’s safe to say the outcomes helped confirm the recent college decisions of two local senior standouts.

Hayfield quarterback Ellis Knudson committed to the victorious Towson program while speedy Lee running back Michael Jolly pledged to play at Monmouth in 2014.

In Knudson, the Tigers gain a strong-armed playmaker who has displayed poise and leadership in his three years as a starter under center at Hayfield. After throwing for 1,504 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, Knudson totaled 119 yards and a score to help the Hawks hang early with No. 14 Westfield in a 35-13 loss during Friday’s season opener.

Hayfield quarterback Ellis Knudson (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post). Hayfield quarterback Ellis Knudson (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post).

“I really liked the coaches at Towson and felt like it was the place to be,” Knudson said. “I’ll probably redshirt my freshman year but I’m very excited to be a part of their program and compete for the starting job.”

Another player primed to push for a starting spot on an FCS program is Jolly. The Lee senior can impact multiple phases of the game, as witnessed by the 353 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns he racked up in the Lancers’ wild 75-61 season-opening win against Edison last Thursday.

“He’s competitive, he’s competitive, he’s competitive,” Lee Coach Clarence Martin said. “He’s an explosive player and is dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands.”

Though standing just 5-foot-6, Jolly drew the Monmouth offer as well as interest from Delaware, Georgetown and Old Dominion due to his high level of athleticism and game-breaking potential.

“Even though I’m smaller than most running backs, I feel like I can jump higher and catch better than most other backs and make people miss in the open field,” said Jolly, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season. “Coach Martin told me that the Monmouth coaches really liked me and I liked it when I visited there, so once they offered, we knew it was the right situation for me.”

Colleges being considered by Friendship Collegiate safety Dae Juan Funderburk after he recently de-committed from Temple. The senior has re-opened his recruitment to include Wisconsin, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Rutgers and Maryland.

— DeMatha strengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot in the Post preseason rankings with a convincing 26-9 victory against Godby (Fla.) on Monday during a game televised on ESPN.

— In just his second game and third month of football, Gonzaga senior kicker Ben Cima booted the game-winning 35-yarder through the uprights in the Eagles’ 17-14 win against Cocoa (Fla.) on Sunday. Also, West Potomac will look to shake off an early rash of injuries and regroup following a season-opening loss to No. 5 Centreville.

Volleyball: Potomac Falls (1-1) at Langley (4-1), 7:15 p.m.
These teams split their two meetings last season with both being decided by a 3-2 margin. Langley, a state semifinalist last year, had a strong showing over the weekend at the Virginia Volleyball Showcase in Richmond behind sophomore outside hitter Jessica Donaldson. Meantime Potomac Falls is looking to bounce back from a loss to Heritage in its last match. The two teams will play again on Sept. 11.