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Potomac Falls Pounds Heritage in District Opener

Dominion football wins first game of year.

Potomac Falls’ physical brand of football was too much for visiting Heritage High of Leesburg last Friday night. In both teams’ Dulles District opener, the Panthers defeated the Pride in convincing fashion, 48-21. Potomac Falls (4-0) remained unbeaten with the win, while Heritage (3-1) earned its first loss of the season.

"I think the kids executed what the game plan was," Potomac Falls Coach Scott Woodlief said. "Heritage was a team that came out and played hard. Our kids wanted to come out and hit hard.

"I don’t know if Heritage came up against a team in the first three weeks that was as physical as us," Woodlief said. "Our kids are pretty physical."

<b>THE PANTHERS</b> had opened the season with three straight victories over non-region opponents from West Virginia before having a bye on the schedule for week four. Woodlief was concerned that the week off prior to the start of the district schedule might hurt his squad. But the Panthers came out ready to play against Heritage from the start, scoring four first-quarter touchdowns to pounce ahead 28-0.

Panther quarterback Greg Woodlief tossed a 4-yard scoring pass to Chad McMichael and Michael Baker ran for two touchdowns in the breakout first quarter. The defense also contributed to the scoring as Tarrell Owens returned an interception 17 yards for a score.

"Having a week off, we were a little nervous as a coaching staff to see how we would play early in the game," Coach Woodlief said.

Potomac Falls erased all of those fears with its incredible first 12 minutes of play. Heritage did get two touchdowns in the second quarter, but the Panthers also got a second-quarter score on a Woodlief to Owens hook-up of 38 yards. At the half, the Panthers were well in control of things at 35-14. In the second half, Woodlief (9 of 14, 114 yards, 3 TDs) found McMichael for a 7-yard scoring pass play and Baker (120 yards rushing) ran for his third score of the game.

Potomac Falls was more than pleased at garnering its first district win of the season. The Panthers will have another tough district test this Friday when they travel to Loudoun County (4-0). The Raiders are coming off a Dulles District win over Park View.

"The first win in the district is a big win for us," Woodlief said of beating Heritage. "But this week we’ll have another team that is 4-0. They beat Park View last week. It should be a good football game there Friday night."

<sh>Dominion Gets into the Win Column

<bt>The Dominion High football team earned its first win of the season and its first under Coach Karl Buckwalter in a 35-7 triumph over visiting Dulles District opponent Freedom of South Riding last Friday night.

The Titans, with the win, improved to 1-3 overall. Freedom is also 1-3.

Dominion had a huge game from sophomore running back Deandre Reaves, who rushed for 247 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns. Reaves’ scoring runs came from 52, 22 and 58 yards out. He also returned a kickoff 85 yards for his fourth touchdown of the night. Two-hundred and eight of Reaves’ rushing yards came in the first half.

"He got blocks up front, but does a great job on his own as well," Buckwalter said of the sophomore playmaker.

<b>DOMINION TOOK</b> a 21-0 lead into halftime. Buckwalter was impressed with the fact that his squad did not let down in the second half. The Titans took nothing for granted and continued to play hard after the halftime intermission.

"The kids reacted well at halftime and put forth another [strong] 24 minutes," the coach said.

It was a relief for the entire team to get into the win column.

"The hardest thing to do is get the first win, but then you can build off that," Buckwalter, who during the 1990s built the McLean High football program into a Northern Region power, said. "It shows you can do it."

The Titans executed well throughout the win over Freedom.

"I believe we’re getting better each week," Buckwalter said. "The kids really played together and played with emotion. They did the fundamental things, blocking and tackling. The kids were ready to roll [on Friday] and put a lot of work into it."

This Friday night, Dominion will travel to Briar Woods for both teams’ second district game. The Falcons (3-1), a playoff team a year ago, are coming off a 29-0 loss at defending district champion Broad Run.

Of the Charlie Pierce-coached Briar Woods team, Buckwalter said, "They’re big, physical and have had a lot of success. They are very well coached and we’re [having to play] over there."