Arts & Entertainment

Strong Second Half Secures The Bell for Falls Church High

FCHS Quarterback Yousef Khatib led his Jaguars over J.E.B. Stuart in Friday’s Bell Game. (Photo: News-Press)The high-scoring rivalry game between Falls Church and J.E.B. Stuart High School kicked off with 40 combined points and a 20-20 tie at halftime, but the Jaguars took control of the game, and the vaunted Bell, with 21 second half points for a 41-28 victory.

Senior Falls Church quarterback Yousef Khatib's pair of touchdown runs in the third quarter gave the Jaguars the lead for good, while the F.C. defense finally stiffened in the second half to end a back and forth affair in Falls Church's favor. The victory gives the Bell of the U.S.S. J.E.B. Stuart, the trophy awarded to the winner of the Falls Church-J.E.B. Stuart grudge match, to the Jaguars for the third straight season. Falls Church won last year's lopsided contest by a final score of 62-6.

Friday's most recent clash was anything but one sided, with the teams trading the lead six times en route to the 20-20 halftime score.

Stuart's junior running back Anthony Champ put the first points on the board with an 18-yard run, but, after a failed extra-point attempt by the Raiders, Khatib found junior wide receiver completely unmarked down the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The extra point by senior kicker Ralph Porteria gave Falls Church a 7-6 lead.

Stuart senior running back John Grayson struck next, plunging over the goal line from seven yards out. That score was answered by Khatib, who ran in the first of three rushing touchdowns on the night. After both teams failed their extra point tries, the score stood at 13-12 when Champ put six more points on the board for the Raiders. A successful two-point conversion gave Stuart a 20-13 lead, though again the lead would not stand, as Khatib found senior receiver Keith Long for a 30-yard touchdown pass to tie things up at the half.

After the break, Khatib led the way with two more rushing touchdowns to break the game open. He finished with 185 rushing yards on the night, as well as 161 yards passing. He later capped the scoring with a two-yard pass to Long in the fourth quarter.

Grayson accounted for the Raiders' only second-half touchdown, a run from nine yards out.

The victory serves as the major highlight for the Jaguars, who finish out this season with a mark of 3-7 overall and 1-5 in the National District. After two early, non-district wins over Thomas Jefferson and South Lakes, the Jags had dropped six straight heading into the Bell Game.

J.E.B. Stuart finishes the year with a mark of 0-10 and 0-6 in the district. It is the second straight season without a win for the Raiders, who have lost their last 23 games. Stuart's last victory came Oct. 14, 2005 over Wakefield, a 13-0 shutout on the Raiders' homecoming.