Sterling, Va. — The purple pom-pom flew up into senior receiver Jalen Coker’s hair as he held his helmet in his hands, his eyes and mouth forming an ear-to-ear grin. His face was one of pure elation after a 33-0 win for his Potomac Falls High School football team over their rivals at Dominion High School.
Ironically enough, the defining play of the game occurred when the normally sure-handed Coker wasn’t able to make a contested catch. A pass from his quarterback bounced up off Coker’s hands and seemed to hang in the air for an eternity.
Eventually, it came down, landing perfectly in the hands of fellow senior receiver Will Jencks, who scampered in for a touchdown that seemed to break the spirit of the Titans and seal the game in the third quarter.
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Jencks had a huge game, scoring two touchdowns and taking advantage of the one-on-one looks he received after Dominion began doubling Coker.
“Will Jencks is a very good ballplayer. People don’t give him enough credit,” Potomac Falls head coach Paul Barnes said. “He has tremendous speed and has great hands.”
The game started well for the Panthers, as senior quarterback Leo Burns lofted a deep ball to Coker for a 26-yard score to give them an early lead. However, shortly after that, Burns left the game due to concussion symptoms and would not return for the rest of the game. In his stead, Potomac Falls sent out sophomore quarterback Matthew Graham, and he summarily picked apart the Titans defense, completing nine out of his fifteen passes for two touchdowns.
“I’ve been prepared all summer, but I was a little nervous,” Graham said. “I probably had a voice crack on all my first cadences.”
His coach was summarily impressed with his effort on the night.
“Coming in in this situation with this team against a rival? That’s unbelievable,” Barnes said. “I thought he did a phenomenal job tonight. The poise he showed was tremendous.”
It was a disappointing debut for first-year Dominion head coach Drake Woodard and his Titans, who were unable to make an impact in a rivalry game.
The Dominion offense struggled for most of the night, as junior quarterback Jake Daunheimer was sacked five times on the night.
The Titans defense forced multiple fourth downs but were unable to stop the wildcat offense of Potomac Falls senior Will Misch, who scored two touchdowns on the night and picked up multiple important conversions on fourth and short situations.
Coming in in this situation with this team against a rival? That’s unbelievable. The poise he showed was tremendous.
The importance of the game wasn’t lost on Coker, who played Dominion for the last time in his decorated career and beat them once again.
“Especially as a senior now, it’s a completely different feeling. I’m really taking things in perspective, and I’m so glad I have this team behind my back,” Coker said. “We just beat Dominion, so I’m on top of the world right now.”
It was a win that pushed the Panthers to 1-0 on the new season and dropped Dominion to 0-1 in the start of their campaign.
“We’re the Kings of Sterling,” Jencks said. “They can’t say anything anymore.”