Falcons Slow to Take Flight


Josh Henry, Copy/Production Editor

After a sound thrashing  from Handley, 45-21, on Sept. 13, the Falcons’ record stands at 1-2. The loss was surprising, after the Falcons’ dominant performance against Skyline, 30-12, on Sept. 6, in which the Falcons controlled the game from the start. Against Handley momentum swung to the Judges early, and the Falcons could not get it back.
Handley scored on their first possession, and then scored an interception return for a touchdown on defense to get an early 14-0 lead. The Falcons stormed back after senior Leif Heltzel had a 51 yard interception, but were down 17-14 at the end of the first half. Handley took the wind out of the Falcons with several interceptions and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
“I give our kids credit for fighting back in the first half,” head coach Jamie Carter said. “After [the first half, Handley] didn’t let [momentum] swing our way. Whenever we made it close, they opened [the game] right back up. They made plays when they had to.”
In week two against Skyline, the Falcons executed well, working the running game and tallying up 235 yards rushing. The offensive line made strides after the season opener against Loudoun County, and senior Todd Jordan led the team with 83 yards on nine carries. Junior quarterback Louis Heisler was well-protected, and he passed for 101 yards and one touchdown, the first of his varsity career. The Falcons dominated both sides of the ball, and the game was out of reach from start to finish.
“Oh my god,” junior Zach “Meatball” Evans said. “That’s all I can say. I think we played the best game we have ever had as a group.”
The offensive line was a concern after the week one loss to Loudoun County.
“Credit the offensive linemen and their work ethic,” Carter said. “After week one, we still knew they were a talented unit. They didn’t play to their potential. But that week in practice they dedicated themselves, and it showed on the field.”
Heisler took the position of QB over the summer after winning a training camp competition with junior Marcus Campbell.
“It is challenging,” Heisler said. “There is a lot of pressure on me, but the offensive line has put the work in during practice and it shows during the game. My recievers have been working really hard to get their routes down to help me out.”
Heisler, along with Heltzel, senior Brady Burr, and juniors Marcus Campbell and Spicer Sabruno, all play on both offense and defense. Being a two-way player is a test of a player’s conditioning.
“I like it because I know that I can affect every play,” Heisler said. “It is really tiring, though, and we get a few plays off occasionally.”
Several players also play the “flex” position on offense. Sabruno and sophomore Keion Lewis have seen snaps at receiver and running back.
“We have too much talent not to give [several] people touches, especially at the start of the season,” Carter said. “But as we get closer to the end of the season, we will play with the hotter hand.”
Sixteen of the starters from last season have returned for this year, seven of whom are seniors. The players have been brothers for much longer than just two seasons.
“There is a level of chemistry on this team that you don’t see every day,” senior Henry Weber said. “We have all been playing together for so long, whether it was on a field or a backyard; we are all great friends.”
Although the team has senior talent, there was no clear choice for team captains at the beginning of the season.
“There will be captains for the cointoss every game,” Carter said. “But there is no one guy leading this team. Every senior has to help lead this team – the underclassmen, too.”
On Sept. 20 the Falcons will go to Millbrook to play the Pioneers. The Falcons hope to bounce back against a team that lost 46-13 to Kettle Run last week.