My name is Jordan Ruby and I've been living in the DMV for five years and covering high school sports in the area for four. Varsity News is a weekly feature that reviews all the best local action in a single place, bullet pointed for easy digestion.
This past week was an interesting one for high schools. A bunch of teams started their football sasons, but no other sports were being played. In fact, there were a number of schools that weren't even in session yet when their football team took the field for the first time.
There are both good and bad things about that.
The bad news is that we only have football to cover this week. We'll have to wait at least another week before anything interesting happens in the other sports that's worth covering in this space. We'll be temporarily deprived of our soccers, volleyballs, field hockeys, what have you.
The good news is ... we only have football to cover this week! This space can be completely and totally devoted to our favorite symphony of organized violence.
And isn't that the way it should be? Not the lack of all other sports, because when they get underway, Varsity News will be humming right along with plenty to talk about. What I'm saying is that football is the perfect way to ease on in to a new school year. Would you rather your first time on campus be for a football game that unites the entire community, or for a beat down by the bully you thought was going to graduate? (Because you know he's going to be waiting for you).
So without further adieu, the first regular edition Varsity News of the school year is an all football edition.
Player Of The Week: Dominique Terrell, Quarterback, Osbourn High School. Manassas, VA
Osbourn's first game of the season last Friday against Forest Park was also senior quarterback Dominique Terrell's first game as an Eagle. Terrell spent the first three years of his career playing for Osbourn's chief rival, Osbourn Park, before transferring to his new team this summer.
To give you an idea how awkward that might be, that would be like if a quarterback played for a dozen years for one of the Redskins biggest rivals -- let's say the Eagles -- then got traded here to lead the Washingt ... never mind.
Osbourn and their fans have accepted Terrell just like the city of Washington has accepted Donovan McNabb. Much in the same way you can see McNabb on posters all around as the new face of the franchise, Terrell has quickly become the face of the Eagles.
Performances like Terrell's on Friday don't hurt when it comes to earning that acceptance. He went 6-15 for 129 yards and two touchdowns through the air and added 149 yards and three scores on the ground, en route to a 56-32 win. That, my friends, is how you make a good first impression.
If there was ever any doubt that he would be accepted by the Osbourn team and their fans, whom he had spent three years battling with, it no longer existed after his first performance.
After the game, Terrell told me that the transfer was harder than he thought and that he still missed his old teammates at Osbourn Park, but the only thing he could do now was play hard for his new team. That certainly showed on Friday.
Performance Of The Week: Cameron Molina, Tuscarora High School. Leesburg, VA
Last weeks game between Tuscarora and Woodgrove was more important than almost any game game played in the region. It was the first football season for both teams, and Friday's game was their respective debuts. A win and the program gets off on the right foot. An air of accomplishment, and a weekend filled with the best high school parties ever would follow. Have you ever seen Friday Night Lights? A lot like that, I'd imagine.
A loss, and the second guessing begins. Maybe they don't belong on this level, at least not with that gameplan. You spend an entire summer preparing for the first game in your program's history, and now have to switch everything up for week two. I don't have a clip for you, because they don't really make movies about that sort of thing.
In a game with so much at stake, it was Tuscarora's Cameron Molina who made sure it was his team that would be celebrating it's first ever victory. Molina recorded the first rushing yards, touchdown and interception in Tuscarora's football history, finishing with 103 yards on the ground, and two rushing touchdowns on the day. The Huskies got up big early and held on for a comfortable 33-21 win.
Cameron Molina is Billingsley (minus the fumbling), and we're all going to Taylor's house.
Team Of The Week: Good Counsel Football. Olney, MD
Every team that played their first game of the season this past weekend felt some sort of pressure. The pressure to start the season the right way, to appease their fan base, and to keep the hopes of an undefeated season alive(however unrealistic that may prove to be later in the season).
Only one team, however, faced those same pressures with the added heat of facing a ranked opponent in front of a national television audience -- and did I mention that it was an away game that was about 500 miles away? You may have guessed by now who that was.
The Good Counsel football team traveled to Cincinnati (yeah, that Cincinnati) this weekend to face the storied St. Xavier in one of the harder non-conference games you'll ever see. So vaunted was their opponent, that the television broadcasters referred to them only as "St. X," while they had to call Good Counsel, "Our Lady Good Counsel School of Olney, Maryland." St. X is an institution in the Cincinnati area. Good Counsel ... well they're just some Catholic school from back East, where they don't play football like we do out here in O-H-I-O.
(Splashes some water on face)
My bad, I got caught up there for a second.
But that's what watching this game felt like for about three and a half quarters. All of the 7,500 fans in attendance, and at times seemingly the announcing crew, wanted St. X to pull out the win. But Good Counsel refused to get caught up in the St. X hype.
Even though they trailed in the fourth quarter, Good Counsel never panicked. They got a touchdown from Dorian O'Daniel midway through the fourth that gave them a lead they would never relinquish, but it wasn't truly over until Stefon Diggs returned an interception 50 yards for a backbreaking touchdown. It was one of seven turnovers Good Counsel forced on the day.
Good Counsel added one more score, and left Cincinnati with a 21-6 statement win. Good Counsel was already among the top teams in the Washington area. In their first game of the year with such incredible expectations, they did not disappoint.
Last Week's Highlights:
-Coolidge Gets Shut Out In Natalie Randolph's Coaching Debut
The biggest story in the District this summer was Natalie Randolph, the new coach at Coolidge. You may notice, that Natalie is a female's name, which in the world of football coaching is somewhat of a rarity. In fact when she was appointed to the position, she was the only female head coach in the country. Aka, lots and lots o' pressure.
Her coaching debut was on Friday against Carroll. Unfortunately for her, it didn't go as well as she might have hoped. Her team was tied 0-0 in the third quarter when their quarterback went down with cramps in both of his leg. With their backup at the hem, Coolidge just couldn't keep up. They ended up losing 28-0.
She has a chance to bounce back against Friendly on Friday, which is not the same thing as Friendship, for those of you keeping score at home.
This Week's Game To Watch:
H.D. Woodson Vs. Friendship. Friday 7:00 p.m. at Eastern High School
In the last week, I've been to practices at both Woodson and Friendship, and there is only one thing either coach wants to talk about: this Friday's matchup between these schools that are about a mile away from each other in Southeast D.C.
Last year, these two teams played in one of the best games of the season. Friendship led by six with 1:21 left when Woodson got the ball back and marched down the field to tie the score at the end of regulation. They missed a game-winning extra point attempt, but won the game in overtime.
Earlier this week, the Woodson players watched hours of film, breaking down every defense Friendship played in last year's game, and how they might be able to game plan for it. The Friendship players all talked about how they weren't going to let Woodson beat them again. Not like that.
I'm not sure what's going to happen on Friday, but I'm glad I'm going to be there to see it. I'll have a full wrap-up for you next week.