By Michael Pittinger
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Sterling (September 2,2016) – An early season rivalry game helped set the tone of the season for both the Dominion High School (1-1) and Potomac Falls High School (2-0) football teams. On September 2, the Panthers denied the Titans a chance to redeem last year’s defensive battle by besting Dominion, 15-7.
“I looked at the game and the game told me that our defense was going to be alright,” Potomac Falls head coach Paul Barnes said. “So that meant I didn’t have to take a lot of chances and I knew that if we played a good ball control game we would be alright.”
The Panthers started the game by driving 80 yards down the field for the first score of the game. The score came when Potomac Falls junior quarterback Hunter Lawall faked the handoff to his running back and ran it in himself for a 6-yard touchdown.
“All I tell them is to just play four quarters and just start throwing haymakers from the beginning,” Barnes said. “Then we will see who the last team standing is.”Later in the first quarter Dominion senior running back Vashon McCants fumbled a punt return which the Potomac Falls special teams unit would recover.
On the very next play, Lawall found a wide open receiver in the form of senior Kaevon Chase for a 57-yard touchdown catch. The Panthers would the convert the two-point conversion to give them the 15-0 lead late in the first quarter.
“I thought our offense and defense complimented each other real well tonight,” Barnes said.
The Titians would score early in the second quarter when McCants maneuvered his way into the end zone from 4 yards out to bring the score within eight points. After the touchdown by Dominion, both teams defenses really took control of the game.
“Dominion made adjustments and we made adjustments,” Barnes said. “It turned out to be a fist fight and that’s what we wanted.”
About halfway through the third quarter the Titans looked to have a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion. Dominion’s special teams returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown, or so they thought. The touchdown was waved off because one of the Titans players got called for roughing the kicker which gave the Panthers the ball back with a fresh set of downs and all the momentum to close out the game.“This was our second tough game,” Barnes said. “Our backs were up against the wall and we responded, so that is telling me that we our doing the right thing with this team.”
Potomac Falls used their diverse rushing attack to help run the clock out late, so they could start their 2016 campaign 2-0.
“We come out and play as hard as we can for as long as we possibly can,” Barnes said.
The Panthers will host Falls Church High School on September 9, while the Titans will travel to Rock Ridge High School to take on the Phoenix.
“We are a highly emotional and intense ball club; you saw it all night on the sideline,” Barnes said. “That’s the way our team plays the game. We coach our guys hard and hug them later.”
1Q 6:45 PF Hunter Lawall 6-yard TD run (Nemer PAT)
1Q 2:43 PF Hunter Lawall to Kaevon Chase 57-yard TD Pass (2PT good)
2Q 10:08 D Vashon McCants 4-yard TD run (Blas PAT)