Arlington’s public high school football teams couldn’t have hoped for better regular seasons last year, with Washington-Lee and Yorktown meeting in the season finale with both undefeated in National District play.
Washington-Lee won that game, 10-0, capturing its first district football title in 38 years. Yorktown went farther in the playoffs — losing to Lake Braddock in the quarterfinals — and Wakefield improved from 0-10 in 2012 to 3-7 under new coach Wayne Hogwood.
All will have to put last year behind them tonight when the open their season. Washington-Lee opens at home tonight against McLean, Yorktown will host Langley and Wakefield will go on the road to face Marshall. All games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
Gone from the Generals and Patriots are many of the stars of last year’s big game, including Yorktown running back M.J. Stewart who is now at the University of North Carolina, set to play in his first game tomorrow after being suspended for last week’s opener. The Patriots will also miss defensive lineman Logan Robinson, who is playing for The Citadel. Head coach Bruce Hanson says quarterback Joe McBride, lineman Quinn Cox and linebacker/fullbacks Jack Storrs and Sean Coleman will be called upon to lead the revamped squad.
“You can’t replace M.J.,” Hanson said. “M.J. scored 79 touchdowns and rushed for 4,800 yards in three years, plus who knows how many balls he caught. It’s certainly going to be hard to replace him offensively, but we feel like we have a competitive team. I don’t know how our record is going to be, we’re not going to be a pushover.”
The Generals will sorely miss three-year quarterback start Sam Appel and top wide receiver/defensive backs Trevor McManus and Noah Harrington. They return just three starters on both offense and defense, but one of those starters is running back Daquay Harris, who was a huge factor for last season’s district champs. He’ll team with senior quarterback Ronnie Fesco to lead the Generals’ offense behind an experienced offensive line.
“We graduated 25 players and 12 starters, so we’re looking for guys to fill in,” Washington-Lee head coach Josh Shapiro said. “Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of holes, so we’ll start to learn a lot about our team tonight. It’s hard, because you just don’t know what you have yet.”
Hogwood and the Wakefield Warriors are having a different training camp. Other than losing the team’s all-conference guard in David Benford and top receiver in Marcus Boyd, the Warriors bring back everyone from last year’s 3-7 unit. Hogwood said quarterback Riley Wilson, who transferred into the school last year, has become one of the team’s leaders, as has guard Ryan Jones.
“I feel really good at this point in the year,” Hogwood said. “I think we’ve got some guys that have been committed and in our program for a year now. We’re a little bit smarter, stronger and older from last year. I fully expect us to build on the three wins we got last year.”
Each coach is cautiously optimistic about his team, but the Arlington schools aren’t gaining much recognition from the region. There is not one mention of Yorktown, Wakefield or Washington-Lee in the Washington Post’s several-thousand word 2014 football season preview. Amazingly, not a single player from the three schools even garnered an honorable mention in the Post’s preseason all-star teams, which feature well over 100 players from around the region. (more…)
APS Enrollment Still Rising — This fall, Pre-K through 12 enrollment in Arlington Public Schools is expected to rise to 23,956 students, up from 23,316 last year and 22,657 two years ago. Despite accommodating more students, Superintendent Patrick Murphy said the first day of school was “a big success.” [InsideNova]
Letter From Arlington to Mrs. Wilson — Arlington County wrote to President Woodrow Wilson’s widow in 1926 to ask permission to name a new school in her late husband’s memory. The resulting Wilson School is located at 1601 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The school building may be torn down in the near future to make way for a new school, to help Arlington Public Schools add more capacity. [Preservation Arlington]
APS Has Football Concussion Plan — Arlington Public Schools has implemented a system-wide concussion management plan for high school football players. In addition, APS is the lone school system in the area to report changing over to only the highest-rated concussion-preventing helmets over the summer. [WUSA9 -- Warning: Auto-play video with audio on]
D.C. Discusses Bike Ban on Streetcar Path — The District of Columbia is considering banning bicycles in the streetcar guideway on H Street NE. Instead, cyclists would be encouraged to utilize bike routes on road parallel to H Street, even though some complain that those roads are in poor condition for bicycling. [NBC Washington -- Warning: Auto-play video with audio on]
Flickr pool photo by Mike Darnay
APS purchased more than 325 Riddell Revolution Speed helmets this summer with carryover superintendent funds from last year’s budget, APS Supervisor for Health, Physical Education and Athletics Debbie DeFranco told ARLnow.com. The helmets all received five-star ratings from a new Virginia Tech Helmet Rating System, which grades helmets on safety from one (lowest) to five (highest) stars.
The helmets will replace current helmets that graded between two- and four-stars, said DeFranco, who added that all helmets APS has used in football practices and games had previously passed the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment tests for safety.
“We were really looking for the best our students could get,” DeFranco said. “Because safety is paramount in everything we do, [Superintendent Patrick Murphy] said when the study came out, ‘let’s see what we can do.’ We realized how many were not five-rated under the system, and replaced those with five-star rated helmets.”
The helmets are also adaptable to future technology, including in-development sensors to detect impact to the head. The sensors, if they are implemented in the future, would be able to measure hits that don’t necessarily result in concussions, but could still have negative impacts on a developing brain.
Head injuries in football have come under scrutiny in recent years after a spate of high-profile suicides among former NFL players and a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the NFL by former players accusing the league of covering up the long-term impacts of brain injuries. High school football players have also suffered, including some who have died on the field, from the impacts of the repeated blows to the head that are commonplace in football.
DeFranco said all athletes undergo “baseline testing” before the season starts to determine their cognitive function. That way, when they suffer an apparent head injury, trainers can measure their brain functionality and compare it to before the injury occurred.
“We have a series of protocols that are aligned with the state law and international standards for returning to play,” DeFranco said. “We make sure they’re seen by someone who’s an expert in brain injuries. Fortunately, because of the media notoriety [concussions have received], a lot of the pediatricians have gone ahead and gotten training in the field.”
“It’s hard because kids want to play, they want to practice, they don’t want to sit out and rest,” DeFranco continued. “We try to educate their peers to tell them they need to rest, because it can have residual effects. There have been unfortunate tragedies where kids can come back too soon where it has ended tragically. We want to avoid them at all costs.”
Former football player Chris Nowinski, a concussion expert and victim of post-concussion syndrome, will be training all APS coaches in a lecture that parents and athletes are encouraged to attend. Nowinski, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, will speak at Wakefield High School on Monday, Sept. 15, at 7:00 p.m.
Residents can sign up to compete against neighbors in the library’s “Dewey Decimators League.” Participants must attend a Fantasy Football 101 class at Central Library on Monday, August 18. From 6:00-7:00 p.m. class attendees will learn how to use the free Yahoo! Fantasy Football program to create a team.
That Saturday (August 23) is the big draft day. From 1:00-2:00 p.m., registered participants will draft their players either in person at Central Library or online.
League participants can build a team on their own or co-own a team with others. Individual participants must be at least 13 years old.
Those who attend the August 18 introductory class will hear more about the smaller prizes to be awarded throughout the season, from places like Bayou Bakery, Corner Bakery, Dunkin Donuts, Sweet Leaf and Starbucks. The league runs through December 22 and the winner will get a grand prize that has not yet been announced.
Former Sheriff Sentenced for Shooting — Former Arlington County sheriff’s deputy Craig Patterson has been sentenced to six years in prison for a fatal shooting in Alexandria. Patterson shot and killed 22-year-old Julian Dawkins, a driver for the Shirlington-based PBS NewsHour, during a late-night confrontation in May 2013. Patterson was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in December. [Washington Post]
Metro Track Work This Weekend — Track work on the Blue and Orange lines this weekend will result in trains running every 16 minutes, instead of the normal daytime service of a train every 12 minutes. [WMATA]
Yorktown Defensive End Signs with Citadel — Star Yorktown High School defensive end Logan Robinson will be playing football for The Citadel this fall. Robinson signed a national letter of intent for the military school on Wednesday. [Sun Gazette]
Pacers to Host ‘Cupid 5K Run’ — The Pentagon Row Pacers store (1101 S. Joyce Street) will host a Valentine’s Day-themed “fun run” next week. The run will start at the store at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, and will end at Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.), which will offer discounts to runners wearing white clothing or cupid wings. [Facebook]
Art Show at House of Steep — House of Steep (3800 Lee Highway) is hosting a collection of watercolors by Howard C. Smith, co-owner of Clarendon-based Beth Singer Design, through March 31. The company designed the current ARLnow logo. [Beth Singer Design]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Strayer to Cut Tuition — Arlington based Strayer Education Inc. will cut undergraduate tuition for new students by up to 40 percent next year. The move is intended to curb declining enrollment. Total enrollment for the fall term was down 17 percent, while new enrollments fell by 23 percent. [Washington Business Journal]
Yorktown Loses in Quarterfinal — The Yorktown Patriots lost to the undefeated Lake Braddock Bruins in the Region 6A North quarterfinal regional game. The 40-7 loss left the Patriots finishing the season with a 9-3 record. This was the eighth straight year the Patriots advanced to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Homophobic Message on Cake? — A couple in the District claims to have bought a cake at an Arlington bakery that sported a homophobic message. One woman ordered the cake for her partner, reportedly asking for a cluster of balloons to be replaced with the words “Happy Anniversary Lindsey! Love, Sarah.” Upon receiving the cake, it instead featured the sloppily written phrase “Lesbian Anniv. No Ballons.” The woman says she believes the mistake was intentional. The bakery was not identified by name. [The Gaily Grind, The Advocate]
The Yorktown High School football team’s season isn’t over yet. Despite losing in the regular season finale to Washington-Lee, the Patriots bounced back Friday night with a playoff win over Fairfax, 12-7.
Washington-Lee, coming off its first district championship in decades, was Conference 6A North’s fourth seed out of 16, but lost to 13th-seeded Stonewall Jackson at home, 42-34.
Yorktown was without star running back/defensive back M.J. Stewart against Fairfax after the North Carolina-bound senior re-injured his ankle late against the Generals. Fullback Da-Jhaun Short filled in admirably, however, rushing 28 times for 164 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots started the scoring in the second half when linebacker Sean Coleman intercepted Fairfax quarterback Nick Scott and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. Short scored the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter after a 12-play drive consisting exclusively of runs by Short.
The Generals couldn’t generate the same defensive intensity against Stonewall Jackson as they did when they shut out the Patriots a week prior. The Raiders scored 35 of their points in the second half after the Generals went into halftime with a 17-7 lead.
Generals quarterback Sam Appel, playing in what turned out to be his final game for Washington-Lee, completed 26 of 50 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. His top two wide receivers, seniors Trevor McManus and Noah Harrington, finished with 128 and 115 yards, respectively.
The game ended the Generals’ best season in 38 years — the last time they won a district title — but this year’s senior class will have a banner on the gymnasium wall to commemorate their accomplishments.
After their historic clash last Friday, the Washington-Lee and Yorktown High School football teams will each host a first-round playoff game this Friday night.
Washington-Lee (8-2, 7-0), the fourth seed in the Class 6A North region, will host 13th-seeded Stonewall Jackson (6-4) out of Manassas at 7:30 p.m. The Generals will be hosting a playoff game for the first time in several decades. Quarterback Sam Appel and running back/defensive back Daquay Harris will try to keep the Generals’ dream season alive.
Also at 7:30 p.m., Yorktown (8-2, 6-1), the region’s No. 7 seed, will host Fairfax (7-3), the 10th seed. The Patriots need to emotionally recover from their devastating loss to Washington-Lee if they want to return to the regional finals. At the top of their priorities list will be getting running back/defensive back M.J. Stewart and quarterback Will Roebuck healthy. Both were limping heavily at the end of Friday’s game with apparent ankle injuries. Fairfax will be tough to beat without the team’s offensive leaders.
If Washington-Lee advances, it will take on the winner of Battlefield and Langley, also at home. If Yorktown gets by Fairfax, the Patriots will either play host to Chantilly — whom they beat Oct. 25 — or go on the road against undefeated Lake Braddock.
For the first time in 38 years, the National District football title will go to Washington-Lee High School.
The Generals stormed into Yorktown Friday night and shut out the Patriots, 10-0, handing the Patriots their first district loss in four years and clinching the Generals’ first undefeated district season in almost four decades.
Washington-Lee quarterback Sam Appel scored on a quarterback sneak with 11:44 left in the game, after the Generals got a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter, and the Generals’ stout defense did the rest.
The Generals’ sideline erupted after Appel took a knee to end the game, and head coach Josh Shapiro was doused in Gatorade before his players lifted him onto their shoulders in jubilation.
“It’s overwhelming right now,” he said after the game. “We stood toe-to-toe with a giant.”
Yorktown star running back M.J. Stewart was hampered by an ankle injury in the second half, carrying the ball only a handful of times. He was trying to get himself loose on the sidelines after halftime, and he was used largely as a decoy for full drives.
Shapiro told his team in practice leading up to the game that they would need to be close to perfect to beat Yorktown, to whom they’ve lost each of the last 30 regular season meetings.
“Defensively, we were close to being perfect tonight,” Shapiro said.
The other aspects of the game were far from perfect for the Generals. They were stopped inches from the goal line in the second quarter, and Stewart, who also plays defensive back, intercepted an Appel pass in the end zone in the first quarter. The Generals also missed a field goal and shanked a punt, but the defense was good enough to cover all the mistakes.
Yorktown’s offense, which had scored more than 30 points in all but two games before Friday night, never found a rhythm. Stewart never broke a big run, and quarterback Will Roebuck’s passes sailed high for much of the night, including when he threw a costly interception to Dwayne Williams, setting up Appel’s touchdown run.
None of the players on Yorktown’s roster had ever experienced a season in which they didn’t hang a National District banner up in the gymnasium. Several players were emotional as they quickly left the field, while the Generals and their fans stayed for as long as they could to soak in the victory.
“We’re going to give this game its just due and celebrate this,” Shapiro said. The Generals and Patriots, both 8-2, begin regional playoffs this month. “When you carry something like this on your shoulders for 30 years, it weighs on you. So we’re going to enjoy this.”
That may seem like an exaggeration, but Washington-Lee (7-2, 6-0) hasn’t beaten reigning National District champion Yorktown (8-1, 6-0) in their last 30 regular season games. Yorktown has been the dominant football force in Arlington for decades, but this is the Generals’ best squad in years.
(Update at 2:30 p.m. — Washington-Lee students also released their own hype video.)
Led by quarterback Sam Appel and running back Daquay Harris, the Generals will be forced to keep pace with the best football player Arlington schools have seen in some time in Yorktown running back/defensive back M.J. Stewart. The Generals’ defense has allowed just 19.9 points per game this year, but it will have its hands full.
The game is Yorktown’s senior night, including the senior night for Stewart and his classmates. Yorktown has released a hype video featuring Stewart (below, directed by his classmate Jeremy Cannon) to get students and fans excited for the game. Stewart’s final regular season game as a Patriot figures to be special — he already has 1,387 rushing yards this year and he’s missed a few games with an ankle injury.
Parking is sure to be sparse, so those interested in driving to the game should arrive early. It costs $5 to attend without a season pass.
The Generals (7-2, 6-0) made short work of Wakefield, 56-21, in south Arlington Friday night. Washington-Lee quarterback Sam Appel had perhaps the best game of his career, throwing for 209 yards and five touchdowns. Receiver Trevor McManus was the main beneficiary with eight catches for 102 yards and three of those touchdowns. Running back Daquay Harris kept up his impressive season, and needed just 10 carries to rush for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Wakefield (2-7, 0-6) was led by running back Leon Young, who carried the ball 16 times for 94 yards, including busting free for a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Wakefield’s long season will come to an end this week when they travel to face Mount Vernon on Friday.
Yorktown (8-1, 6-0) was at Mount Vernon Friday and the Patriots pulled out a 31-21 victory to extend their winning streak to seven games. Star running back M.J. Stewart returned from the ankle injury that sidelined him the previous week against Chantilly, rushing 11 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots scored 17 unanswered points in the first half, putting enough distance to hold off Mount Vernon (3-6, 2-4) the rest of the way.
This Friday night at 7:30 at Yorktown will be the regular season finale and a showdown between the Patriots and the Generals. Both teams are 6-0 in the National District, turning the finale into a winner-take-all matchup for the district title.
Bishop O’Connell ended its season on a high note Saturday afternoon, blowing out Bishop McNamara 61-36. The win brought the Knights’ season record to 5-5 and put them in fifth place in the WCAC. Unfortunately for the Knights, four teams make the Catholic league’s playoffs. Marquis Rowe was the star Saturday, scoring on a 98-yard kickoff return, a 36-yard run and two receiving touchdowns. Between quarterbacks Michael Galvan and Jason Ley, the Knights threw just one incomplete pass all game.
Photo via Bishop O’Connell
The two best high school football teams in the National District played their final non-district regular season games Friday night against Fairfax County powers. Yorktown was without star running back M.J. Stewart but still secured a win, while Washington-Lee was manhandled by Centreville.
Stewart, the senior North Carolina recruit leading the Patriots with 1,266 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, was on the sideline Friday night with a sprained ankle, according to the Washington Post. That didn’t stop the Patriots (7-1, 5-0) from coming back from a double-digit second-half deficit and beating Chantilly (5-3, 2-1), 30-28. Stewart’s backup, Da’Jhuan Short, carried the ball for 90 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the third quarter. The Patriots play this Friday night on the road against Mount Vernon.
Yorktown’s companion atop the National District standings, Washington-Lee, lost its first game since Sept. 12 Friday night, 53-7 against Centreville. Centreville (8-0, 3-0) is the Post’s top-ranked team in Northern Virginia, and it has won all of its games by at least 21 points. The Generals (6-2, 5-0) got their only score in the first quarter on an 89-yard pass play from Sam Appel to Noah Harrington, who caught three balls for 111 yards on the day. The Generals next play on the road at Wakefield Friday night.
Wakefield (2-6, 0-5) continued its late-season swoon Friday night with a 41-7 loss to J.E.B. Stuart (2-6, 1-4). Stuart had previously been winless in the National District, so Friday night’s game looked like a shot for Wakefield to get its first win since its second game of the season. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they couldn’t stop Stuart’s rushing attack, allowing 259 yards on the ground. The Warriors didn’t score at all until a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown. They host the Generals Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
The Bishop O’Connell Knights also couldn’t find their way back in the winner’s column. They took on powerhouse Good Counsel and fell, 35-10. The Knights are now 4-5 and 1-4 in the WCAC. They got their only touchdown of the game on a 52-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by lineman Tylar Thompson. The Knights’ last game of the season is Saturday afternoon at home against Bishop McNamara, which has lost four straight games.
Image via Wakefield Athletics
The Yorktown and Washington-Lee High School football teams appear closer than ever to a winner-take-all showdown Nov. 8 for the National District title and a spot in the regional playoffs. The Patriots and the Generals each extended their current winning streaks to four games this weekend, and they each stand at 5-1 and 4-0 in the district.
The Patriots rode their star running back again Friday night, giving senior M.J. Stewart 29 carries, which he took for 198 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the fourth quarter. The Patriots needed every one of Stewart’s yards in a 19-14 home victory over Hayfield (1-5, 1-2). Through six games, Stewart already has 1,170 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. The UNC recruit and the Patriots next host Wakefield at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Washington-Lee had to wait to play because of Friday’s intense downpours, but the Generals collected their fourth straight win Monday against Mount Vernon, 23-21. Mount Vernon had been 2-0 in league play, and the Generals’ victory means they would need to lose twice in the next three weeks to finish worse than second place in the National District. They play Friday night at home against Edison.
Wakefield’s struggles in district play continued Friday with a 37-16 loss to Falls Church. The Warriors dropped to 2-4 on the season, and their last three losses have come to National District opponents. Sixteen points is more than they had scored in any of their previous losses, and they got two touchdowns from Leon Young, but it still wasn’t enough. The schedule only gets more difficult this week when the Patriots visit.
Bishop O’Connell, like Wakefield, finds itself in the midst of a losing streak. The Knights (4-4, 1-3) dropped their third straight game, 31-0, to Gonzaga. The Knights need to rediscover the offensive firepower they showed in the season’s first five games, when they averaged 37 points a game and went 4-1. They will have a week off to refocus and prepare for their game against traditional powerhouse Good Counsel, which is also 4-4, on Oct. 26.
Washington-Lee (4-1, 2-0 district) won a statement game Friday night against Falls Church (3-2, 0-2), which had been 3-1 with its only loss coming to Yorktown last week. The Generals won 21-14, holding on after leaping out to a 13-0 lead. Duquay Harris, the running back that’s been leading the Generals this season, scored a touchdown, and quarterback Sam Appel threw for two scores. The Generals have won three straight games and seek their fourth consecutive win this Friday at Mount Vernon.
At the same time, Yorktown was riding its star running back, senior North Carolina commit M.J. Stewart, to its third-straight win. Stewart carried the ball 16 times for 230 yards — a ridiculous 14.4 yards per carry — and four touchdowns to lead the Patriots (4-1, 2-0) to a 42-7 victory over J.E.B. Stuart (0-5, 0-2). The Patriots scored all of their points in the first half, and didn’t allow Stewart to score a point until the fourth quarter, when the game had essentially been decided. Yorktown’s next game will be Friday at home against Hayfield.
After starting the season 2-0, Wakefield (2-3, 0-2) dropped its third consecutive game Friday night, 50-13 against Hayfield (1-4, 1-1). The Warriors fell behind 50-0 before scoring a pair of garbage-time touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one by Andrew Tuttle and another by Chris Robertson. Wakefield will try to get back on the winning track this Friday on the road against Falls Church.
Bishop O’Connell (4-3, 1-2), had perhaps the toughest matchup in the entire D.C. area, going on the road to Hyattsville, Md. to take on No. 1-ranked Dematha. The Knights lost to the Stags (6-1, 3-0), 49-14. The teams were tied at the end of the first quarter and O’Connell had a brief 14-7 lead, but DeMatha, in the end, was simply too much for the Knights, scoring 42 unanswered points to clinch the victory. The Knights will try to snap their two-game losing streak this Saturday at Gonzaga.
The football teams of Yorktown and Washington-Lee high schools each pushed their 2013 record to 3-1 with narrow victories last Friday night, while Wakefield lost its second straight game and Bishop O’Connell was defeated Saturday afternoon.
Yorktown (3-1) delivered National District foe Falls Church (3-1) its first loss of the year, a huge victory for potential playoff seeding in November. The Patriots jumped out to a 17-7 halftime lead with two touchdowns from senior running back M.J. Stewart, an held on to win, 17-14, despite allowing Falls Church a fourth quarter touchdown. Yorktown will trying to push its record to 4-1 next Friday night on the road against J.E.B. Stuart.
Washington-Lee (3-1) was in serious peril of dropping its second game of the season to Hayfield (0-4), but scored 23 second-half points to storm back for a 23-21 victory. The Generals got a game-winning, late fourth-quarter touchdown from running back Daquay Harris, who is having a breakout year as a junior. Next week they host Falls Church to try to keep pace with the Patriots.
After starting the season with back-to-back victories, Wakefield (2-2) lost for the second straight week Friday night, 45-14 at home against Edison (2-2). The Warriors allowed 32 unanswered points before finally crossing the plane of the end zone with a running score by junior quarterback Riley Wilson. The Warriors will try to get back on the winning track this Friday at home against Hayfield.
Bishop O’Connell (4-2) also dropped its game this week, 17-7 to St. John’s. The Knights and the Cadets were tied, 7-7 at halftime after Knights quarterback Michael Galvan hit George Hawkins for an 11-yard touchdown pass, but St. John’s pulled ahead in the second half and O’Connell couldn’t come back. The Knights face a major challenge this Saturday, facing DeMatha (5-1), the Washington Post’s top-ranked team in the D.C. area.